Jasper's is one of Kansas City’s famous culinary institutions. This family restaurant is a classic American success story, and one of the great outposts of the midwest; it introduced authentic Italian food to Kansas City in 1954, a time when even spaghetti and meatballs may have been exotic!

The recipes in Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook run the gamut from staples such as grissini, aioli, and Tuscan Farm Bread to classics like Sunday Sauce, peperonata, and, yes, even meatballs. They are all easy to follow, simple recipes that obviously have their roots in the simple dishes, created from local ingredients, that characterized the classic Italian menu.

There are also sweet stories interspersed between the recipe chapters, giving you a glimpes into the life of an Italian family making it in the American Midwest. My favorite tale is the story of the lasagna birthday cake. What a way to celebrate one’s 7th birthday! Not that I would mind!

Meet Chef Jasper Mirabile

Professional chef, culinary instructor, and owner Jasper Mirabile, Jr., was one of the first Italian chefs to cook for the James Beard House in New York. He and Jasper’s Restaurant have been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, and Midwest Living. Time magazine ranked Jasper’s as one of the top Italian restaurants in America. Jasper is the chairman of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show, has a weekly TV segment, and sells a line of dressings and sauces.