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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiration
I've been a vegetarian since 1985 and have phases of being pretty tired of the food I eat because of the "same-oldness" of vegetarian cookery writing, where everybody seems to copy everybody elses's recipes with small variations. This book is different. It's not written from the point of view of offering veggie recipes but from the point of view of how Italians use...
Published on 26 May 2002

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag
Decent, but not outstanding, book for vegetarians or those wanting some more inspiring ways to use vegetables but in my view it is a bit of a mixed bag. Overall, I felt slightly disappointed.

Some recipes are very simple e.g. a lot of the grilled breads & sandwiches & some of the salads don't really require a recipe at all. For example a recipe is given for...
Published on 5 Nov 2010 by Marand


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiration, 26 May 2002
By A Customer
I've been a vegetarian since 1985 and have phases of being pretty tired of the food I eat because of the "same-oldness" of vegetarian cookery writing, where everybody seems to copy everybody elses's recipes with small variations. This book is different. It's not written from the point of view of offering veggie recipes but from the point of view of how Italians use vegetables. The recipes I have tried have been delicious and inspiring and have got me using vegetables and combinations I'd never really have thought of using before. I'd recommend it to anyone, veggie or not, who wants to find yummy ways of eating vegetables, and absolutely to anyone who adores Italian food.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars simple, easy and delicious, 21 Feb 2008
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This review is from: Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style (Hardcover)
If you're bored of mashed potato or boiled carrots, this book will provide you with plenty of ideas on how to prepare vegetables in a new, original way. I have tried many lovely dishes from this book; my favourites are the carrots boiled in cream and basil (absolutely delicious), the layered potato and tomato pie, celery risotto, chard and mushroom fettucine (I've never liked chard very much and I loved this dish!), the orange and fennel salad, lentil soup with butternut squash and fennel, the pear, parmesan and celery salad, and many more.

Many of the recipes from Verdura have become staples in my household : spinach risotto, mozarella, potato and tomato pie, courgettes stuffed with mushrooms, porcini risotto, fennel soup. If you think vegetables are boring, you'll change your mind quickly after trying this book out. I too thought spinach was bland; not any more. Today I make the spinach risotto at least once a week and have stopped complaining that it has appeared in my vegetable box again. All the ingredients in Verdura are easy to find in your local shop (you won't need truffle paste or stuffed vine leaves or durum wheat flour)and rely on good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar to bring out the tatste of the vegetables rather than soaking them in tons of mayonnaise or salad dressing. I give this book 4 stars rather than 5 because there have been 2 or 3 recipes that were complete failures - such as the marinated raw courgettes, but perhaps Italian sun-drenched courgettes straight from the market taste better than ours? However, despite the occasional recipes which I found less successful, the majority have been absolute winners and I'd recommend the book to anyone who loves their vegetables.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag, 5 Nov 2010
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Marand (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style (Hardcover)
Decent, but not outstanding, book for vegetarians or those wanting some more inspiring ways to use vegetables but in my view it is a bit of a mixed bag. Overall, I felt slightly disappointed.

Some recipes are very simple e.g. a lot of the grilled breads & sandwiches & some of the salads don't really require a recipe at all. For example a recipe is given for rocket salad which involves just rocket, salt(to taste!), olive oil and lemon. Frankly this just seemed to be padding to me - neither original nor needing a recipe. I can't think of anyone who is likely to buy a cookery book of this type who will be so lacking in skill that they need a recipe for something this basic. Another one that I found rather amusing was the Russian salad sandwich which involved using a recipe for the salad given elsewhere in the book and "eight slices of good quality bread" with the following method: "Divide the Russian Salad among 4 slices of bread. Spread the salad to cover the bread slices but not all the way to the edges. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally or, if serving with drinks, in bite-sized squares." I came close to hurling the book at the wall at that point. I didn't really feel I benefited from any of the other sandwich recipes either - I think I could have thought of, and prepared, mozzarella & tomato & grilled mozzarella sandwiches without assistance.

The book is divided into chapters as follows:

Store cupboard recipes: e.g. aubergine & almond caponatina; smoked mozarella marinated in herbs and olive oil (lovely, although I have to say finding smoked mozzarella, which I adore, isn't that easy for me in rural Sussex and I wouldn't call it a store cupboard item).
Antipasti (both hot & cold)
Salads (both accompaniments and main course salads)
Grilled breads/sandwiches; basically lots of variations on bruschetta (including a particularly nice one using scented white bean puree), plus a smaller number of sandwiches.
Soups - e.g. aromatic potato & rocket soup; summer white bean soup with tomato salad topping which I particularly like regardless of the season; chick peas, swiss chard & porcini.
Pasta (both `raw' and cooked) such as a simple, but nice, summer mixed pasta, spaghetti alla trapanese, tubetti with spring vegetable sauce, spaghettini with tomato, courgette flowers & red chillies.
Rice & polenta e.g. rice with winter squash & sage butter, several versions of risotto
Main dishes - includes pizzas, tarts, stews, stuffed veg, fritters & gnocchi, egg dishes. Recipes include onion tart (using ricotta cheese), rice & aubergine timbale, stuffed courgette flowers, rice-stuffed tomatoes on a bed of sliced potatoes, a really lovely aubergine torta, several frittatas.
Side Vegetables e.g. lemony griddled aubergine (fabulous), carrots with cream & fresh basil, cannellini beans braised in tomato & herbs.
Desserts - summer berry salad with maraschino, watermelon with bittersweet chocolate shavings (despite her assertions I didn't think this was a good combination), a good orange custard, ice cream & marinated cherries (using shop bought ice cream).
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true taste of Italy, 1 July 2006
By 
A. Ball (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style (Hardcover)
I have about 3000 cookbooks and this is in my top 10. I'm not a vegetarian but reading this, I wonder why I ever eat anything other than vegetables? Viana's recipes were a revelation in their simplicity and vibrant flavours. The raw pasta sauces transformed my summer eating; Spaghetti alla Trapanese, where pasta with a fiery chilli tomato sauce is punctuated by shots of hot, crisp little squares of roast potato is just genius. And for the lover of Italy and how one eats there, this book is sheer poetry...'this satisfying salad is like a tableau of Italian country life. One can imagine the ingredients casually arranged on a rough-hewn kitchen table waiting to be gathered into a salad: freshly cooked garbanzo and borlotti beans in earthenware dishes: tender green beans, luscious tomatoes and a small bouquet of parsley and basil all just picked from the garden; and potatoes from the cellar, still caked with fresh soil. Outside, the sky blazes a brilliant blue and the fields are alive with vines and orchards.' I just love that: forget it, Easyjet, I'm there already!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but excellent recipes, 22 Oct 2013
On the whole I tend to use cookery books for inspiration rather than instruction. Verdura is an exception, and one of the few books where I will actually cook the recipes 'as published'. As another reviewer says, many appear simple. However, if you follow them exactly, the results are really excellent.

It is an ideal book for a vegetable gardener, as (unlike so many cookery books) you will never find ingredients paired together out of season. Definitely my 'go to' book when I have a glut of something from the garden and want an easy but delicious recipe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 13 Aug 2012
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Great book. recipes are straight forward to make and delicious to consume. I bought one for myseldf and was so pleased with it that I have since bought several as presents. It is excellent value for money. The food is light and refreshing - truly Italian in its approach. Enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a vegetable classic, 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style (Hardcover)
I am gradually realising that the best cookery books come not from celebrity tv chefs but from stars like this and often from America , where they are more likely to mix a modern healthier twist to old favourites . Great for when the veg box arrives and you don't know what to cook. A lot of different pasta recipes too , so it doesn't have to be a heavy tomato or cream sauce .My only complaint ; no photos or illustrations .
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Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style
Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style by Viana La Place (Hardcover - 30 Sep 2006)
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