The Italian Country Table


by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Scribner, first printing, 1999. Hardback with DJ, 416 pages.

From the Publisher's Weekly review: "With this equally successful follow-up, Kasper proves that her first cookbook, The Splendid Table (which won awards from both James Beard and the IACP), was no fluke. The recipes here are collected from home cooks living in the Italian countryside -- many of them on working farms. While most of the recipes are simple, Kasper never rests on her laurels by offering an already-familiar formula. Her Tomato-Mozzarella Salad with Pine Nuts and Basil is enhanced with red onion and currants. These are satisfying dishes, and most of them can be assembled quickly, like Seafood Sauté with Stubby Pasta and Spaghettini with Shrimp, Chickpeas and Young Greens. Flavors are never timid: Hot-and-Spicy Eggplant Soup packs a punch with chilies that marry interestingly with fresh mint; and gutsy Sweet-Sour Meatballs for St. Joseph's Day contain cinnamon and candied citron. Italian "home" desserts are satisfying and unfussy: Chocolate Polenta Pudding Cake and Iced Summer Peaches.

"In addition to concocting tight, clear recipes, Kasper writes beautiful prose. Even recipe headers -- which include sensible 'Cook to Cook' notes containing special tips -- are carefully crafted. Unobtrusive wine suggestions for most dishes are a bonus. Few American writers "get" Italy this clearly; fewer still can communicate their knowledge so smartly."

Condition: VG+/VG+.

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