on 20 May 2012
For an "invitation" to Italian cooking, this cookbook is quite complete. The recipes are accessible to the Western cook (90% of the ingredients can be found at the farmer's market or a good deli). Recipes include Tiramisu (aka "Pick-Me-Up"), a fantastic lasagne recipe, Passionfruit Sorbet, and a whole host of scrumptious seafood recipes. The Italian respect for good produce (which I love) is showcased beautifully here. Despite being the don of Italian cooking, Mr. Carluccio is not precious about his recipes; he encourages the home cook to substitute ingredients where desired and to experiment. It's also a wonderfully practical book; heavy on recipes, rather than reflections on Italy (the idea being to discover Italy via the delicious recipes herein). And you sure will want to. This book may be a better introduction to Italian cooking than even Antonio Carluccio's "Complete A-Z Guide to Italian Cooking". This one has more 'realistic' recipes in terms of availability of ingredients. Overall, an exceptional book to start with, if, like me, you are falling in love with Italian cooking.