I like to read cookbooks the way I read any other kind of book, responding to the narrative portions and savoring the photographs. If cookbook directions are straightforward, the book will find its way to my kitchen. That's where this one is headed now.
I received "Hazan Family Favorites: Beloved Italian Recipes" as a gift and at first glance, it has all the fixings you'd expect to find on an Italian family's table, but this special collection offers some very personal and charming choices too.
Check out the Butter-Tomato-Onion sauce recipe, page 72. It has only four ingredients, yet Giuliano's father says he can tell whether the sauce was cooked by Giuliano or his mother. (This really is a family of serious food-lovers.) On my list to try: Fettucine with orange, page 87, Rice in the oven, page 93. Under the heading of Stuff Kids Love To Cook (I made up that category) I'll try the Chocolate Mousse, page 152, and Bechamel (white) sauce, page 77. I'll be making Lael's (Giuliano's wife) meat loaf, page 117. Guiliano praises his Nonna Mary's Ciambella, page 157, a simple yet special bread from his childhood (toasted for breakfast) and that's probably what I'll make first, based on his beautifully expressed "taste-memory."
I've read other Italian cookbooks, but this particular collection, with a foreward written by Giuliano's mother, famous Italian chef/author, Marcella Hazan, deserves its subtitle, "Beloved Italian Recipes."