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4.6 out of 5 stars249
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 March 2010
I love everything about this book! As someone who is addicted to cookery books, this one has everything you need for delicious easy to follow healthy eating Italian recipes, including weekly meal plans to help achieve balanced calorie intakes.
It is beautifully set out with lots of pictures which I always love in a cookery book. It comes with lots of easy to read information and every recipe has been calculated for calories, fat and sugar contents etc, which in todays world of food excesses is vital for anyone who wants to regulate or control their calorie intake.
I have tried several of the recipes already and believe they could be used for an impressive dinner party and no one would know they are not laden with excess calories, I have already impressed my family with the Stuffed Crepes with Minced Pork & Parmesan which can be adapted for a starter or main course. Chicken Breast with Parmesan, Tomatoes & Mozzarella will be definite regular in our household, as will the wonderfully fresh and light tasting Ricotta & Vanilla Tiramisu, to mention just a few. As an ex Cookery teacher and demonstrator I know this book (and I cannot say this of most of my large collection) will be very well used in my house and one that I will give as presents to my family and friends. Certainly, with the busy lives many of us lead I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to combine healthy eating with the wonderful flavours and easy style of Italian cooking. Buy, use and enjoy with confidence. Happy cooking from Gill Regan Fantastico!: Modern Italian Food
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 April 2011
I didn't buy this book as a diet book - I was just leafing through it in the bookshop and was attracted to the recipes. The fact that the recipes are designed with calories and health in mind is an added bonus. There is in fact a relatively brief analysis of the diet aspect, with an introduction by a dietitician. All recipes are calorie counted with details as to fats, sugars and salt. The emphasis is on low GI carbohydrates as the core of the diet - no Atkins style restrictions here which is hardly surprising in a Mediterranean eating plan - and portion control. Much is made of the fact that Italians are slimmer than other Europeans and live longer than Brits. Two diet plans are given - one 1500 calorie a day for women, and a 2000 calorie diet for men. The diet advice is pretty basic but in truth most people who are wanting to diet will care more about the results than the theory.

Being an Italian style plan, there is a daily alcohol allowance and the usual Italian ingredients appear - lots of pasta, olive oil in moderation, even Parmesan features. I am writing this review on a glorious spring day, and the recipes scream sunshine to me. To that end, I think this book would be good for those starting a diet in spring or early summer as the recipes fit these seasons particularly well. I have to say, I don't think you would feel that you were on a diet which is probably helpful too!

As I mentioned, I didn't buy the book as a diet book - I was interested in the recipes and it particularly appealed for light summer dishes. For breakfast, recipes include a light banana milk shake, porridge with raspberries & blueberries, baked peaches with berries and honey, baked eggs with ham in tomato & garlic sauce (this for me is better as a light lunch - a tomato & garlic sauce isn't my idea of breakfast). As you would expect in an Italian cook book there are antipasti - grilled marinated peppers, bruschette (including a very nice pea & broad bean version), baked onions and more. For lunch, you can try a light omelette with chives and potatoes (excellent cold too for taking to work or for picnics), roasted tomatoes & soft cheese rolled in parma ham, prawn & bean salad, pasta salad, tuna & anchovy cakes (both fish being canned so a good store cupboard dish). There are lots of soups and salads - for example, a nice rocket & butternut squash soup, onion & pancetta soup, courgette ribbons with cannellini beans (which is stunning to look at), French bean salad with mozzarella & garlic.

As you would expect, there is a good range of pasta dishes for example, linguine with garlic, prawns & spinach. You will also find pizzas & risotto, baked gnocchi. There are some lovely fish dishes too - a beautiful salmon & vegetable tartare, salmon fillets in tomato, garlic & thyme sauce, cod fillet with red pesto plus sardines, mackerel, whole sea bass. Meat-based meals include stuffed crepes with minced pork & parmesan, pork loin with white wine & sage pesto, chicken breasts with parmesan, tomatoes & mozzarella (so diet!), sirloin steak with gorgonzola & pink peppercorn sauce, beef & wild mushroom stew (although I think this needs to be cooked for longer than the time stated in the recipe).

There are even desserts and what is called 'the naughty corner'. Desserts include grilled vanilla peaches with butterscotch sauce, hot chocolate cups with pears and amaretto, strawberry filo tarts with basil crème fraiche, whilst the 'naughties' include lasagne (skimmed milk for the sauce to keep the calories down), cheesecake, chocolate mousse & tiramisu!

The recipes are generally very easy to prepare and use commonplace ingredients. It has to be said that many of the recipes are not really easy to reduce for just one person so if you are dieting I think you'll have to co-opt the family, but given the range of recipes I doubt this would be too much of a problem. It would also be fair to say that the diet plan lunches are probably too inconvenient for many working people. Low-calorie/low fat ingredients have been used but for those not worried about this aspect you could substitute e.g. semi-skimmed milk for skimmed milk, which in my view provides a better taste in lasagne for example.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 7 February 2010
A well written book which although listed as a diet book it is as much an introduction to the Italian way of life (at least the eating bit) There are a collection of good tasty Italian recipes, each recipe gives the calorie count for a portion size and also a breakdown of the quantity of fat, saturates, sugars and salt in each portion. The principle in this book is based on two diet plans one for women (1500 calories) and one for men (2000 calories)These plans are broken down into the number of calories per meal (Breakfast 250 calories, Lunch 450 calories, Dinner 600 calories plus an allowance of 200 calories for alcohol and milk; Woman's plan). A complete menu is given for one week with full instructions as to how to make each meal, it is suggested that this plan is used for 2 weeks and after that the reader should create similar plans using the other recipes in the book. It does emphasise that the Italians eat smallish portions and do not usually snack between meals. Each recipe has a preamble telling something about the reason for the choice and often hints for example there is a hint never to cook with buffalo mozzarella but use cow's mozzarella as the buffalo one make the dish very watery by releasing too much milk but should be used uncooked in salads etc.
All of the recipes are fully explained with none of the chef type terms that could confuse a novice cook.
The only criticism is that the recipes are for 2, 4, 6 or even 8 people it would have been better if this had been consistent.
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on 19 January 2010
I have never had an Italian cook book before. I just love Gino so when he announced his new I diet book was comming out I decided to order it and try some of his recipes. It's a lovely book with colourful pages and includes a leading dietitian explaining why the Italian diet is so good for you. If like me you want to make some Italian meals you can't go wrong with the King of the kitchen, the Italian Stallion.
Rosemary
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on 14 January 2010
I just recieved my book, it's packed full of delicious recipes which are broken down for calorie intake! The menu's allow for you to have a proper dinner & even a glass of wine!!! Loads & loads of information!!!
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on 29 January 2010
There are three things I need in a diet to lose weight and keep it off: -

1. Less calories (it's the only way people!)
2. More protein (you only feel hungry otherwise)
3. Tasty recipes

This book is the only one I've found EVER that actually provides this and the recipes are healthy too.

So cheers Gino - your food is lovely!

PS. 3 weeks in, 12lbs down and a large glass of wine with every meal (it's the law)!

The Italian Diet
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on 5 February 2010
my wife say's this is the best book on food that she has ever bought.
after searching for years for diet books.
the choices are great & you can mix & match.
absolutely wonderful & recommend it to anyone wanting a healthy eating programme.
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on 7 February 2010
As Gino says its Fantastico! I love Italy and especially its food and this book is so simple to follow and the ingredients easy to source and cook. The book is so straight forward, I,m just working my way through it, and loving each receipe.
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on 11 February 2010
I must have tried every diet on the face of the earth.Thank you Gino this book is fantastic and the weight is just falling off. I think it is about fabulous flavours and portion control.We have tried about 20 recipies already and every one a winner.It has really changed my ideas about eating and losing weight.
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on 18 January 2010
Although this book is a 'diet Book', it actually is a really nice recipe book, with the added nutritional information available. There are equal amounts of vegetarian and meat/fish recipes, using everyday ingredients. I think this will be one for regular daily use, after the compliments i recieved after making the risotto frutti mari. Enjoy this great value and inspiring book.
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