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The introduction says: "This is not a romantic cookbook. We are not trying to tell you about how a little lady in a rustic Italian village cooks a particular dish. The reason is simple. You do not have that kind of kitchen nor do you have the romantic three days to cook the food. Rather, we want you to cook Italian style regularly, and that means that recipes need to be simplified for the American kitchen and table, but we don't believe that you have to give up a great deal in terms of taste."
The recipes are very Italian in a very American way.
Sampling of recipes; Marinated Mozzarella Cubes; Bolognese Sauce; Polenta with Duck and Mushroom Sauce; New York Special Sandwich (from NY's Little Italy); Beef in Rosemary Butter; Fried Marinated Potatoes; Homemade Ricotta; Asparagus Pizza; Lemon Sherbet with Vodka; plus a lot more.
The book is well-written and easy to follow with recipes such as Italian peasant bread, Italian Rolled Chicken, Bracciole, and the Fresh Tomato Sauce Sicilian. The recipes are as close to authentic Italian cooking as one can get but adapted for modern kitchens--just like grandma used to make it. Smith's extensive knowledge of culinary history and ongoing comments about food origins and production add to the history behind each dish. There are more than 350 Italian recipes here...waiting for you to try in your own kitchen!
great narrative accompanying excellent recipes. An overview for new cooks of gadgets, herbs and spices used and tools that are used in the recipes or by the author as well as cooking terms and what they mean. Recipes go from Sicily to the very northern reaches of the country. Wide range of tastes to appeal to almost everyone.