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5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and with regional indicators, 23 Aug 2013
E. Dalton - See all my reviews
This review is from: Il grande libro della cucina italiana in oltre 5000 ricette regionali: [la più completa raccolta della nostra tradizione gastronomica] (Quest'Italia) (Paperback)
This is an Italian language cookbook.

Of the four bibles of traditional Italian food, the others being Il Cucchiaio d'Argento, Il talismano della felicità and La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene, this is the most comprehensive and the only one to identify the regional heritage of the recipes.

The recipes are divided by type, e.g. condimenti/salsi/sughi, pasta fresca e gnocchi, volatile da cortili e coniglio. The layout of the book is clean, with two columns per page. The title and the regional indication appear on the same line, under which are the ingredients. The instructions are set out in clear paragraphs. Occasionally the instructions are followed by details of a recipe variant. Almost all of the recipes are followed by a suggested wine pairing. Most of those recommendations are reasonably specific, e.g. Pignoletto dei Colli Bolognese, but they sometimes lapse into the generic, e.g. Chardonnay.

As the book is written for an Italian audience, the text is succinct. There are no pictures.

The text provides enough information for an individual who is moderately experienced in Italian culinary techniques to replicate the recipes. There is a brief glossary of culinary techniques at the front of the book which serves an aide-memoire, not a basic techniques tutorial. The common herbs and spices notes which follow that glossary are brief and on point.

At the back of the book, after the glossaries of dried and preserved meats, Italian cheeses, wines and liqueurs, there are three indices. The first is alphabetical, the second regional and the third analytical. The latter two indices are further sub-divided. Using the alphabetical index requires an understanding of basic elements such as which pasta shape would accompany a particular sauce.
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