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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2006
I have a confession to make: I am Italian, born and raised in Milan, and Jaime's is one of my favorite cookbooks ever. It sits in my kitchen right next to the big "authentic" Italian tomes on regional cooking, but it gets used much more often. The recipes are great, fresh and traditional with a few personal twists, plenty of flavor, and are all quite easy to make. Some of us love books with beautiful pictures, and he provides plenty. The book is a pleasure to look at. It may not contain a huge number of recipes, but I find that I never use those crowded, unappealing books anyway. Everything I have tried so far has come out beautifully, and I am not at all an experienced cook (even though I am *very* picky when it comes to food quality). Jamie got the seal of approval from a number of friends from all over Italy. Amazing!
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on 11 October 2006
I'm not usually the chef in our household, but using this book I created some wonderful meals. Recipes are easy to follow and his enthusiasm for Italy and Italian food is on every page. Makes cooking fun and mealtimes a proper Italian family affair.
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on 11 November 2005
Jamie Oliver has earned a reputation trying to revitalise school dinners and popularise cuisine (sorry, cooking) as an appropriate activity for young males. "Jamie's Italy" is a beautifully packaged volume - thick, robust, beautifully illustrated, and packed with a wide range of Italian recipes. It's the sort of book which should sell to a young audience and which might just lift student cooking out of the Bolognaise fixation.
The recipes aren't obscure or too difficult for even a novice. The quality of a cookbook can't be judged simply on the novelty value of its recipes - a good cookbook should encourage you to experiment, and this book will do just that. What seems to have been happening with a number of television chefs is an attempt to promote interest in food, not just blind obedience to recipes. Oliver has skills in popularising food and motivating the inexperienced to try their hand. This title confirms this.
"Jamie's Italy" is an effective volume. He runs through a wide range of starters, main courses, salads, soups, and sweets. The essence of the book is about getting a feel for Italian cookery, but at its core is encouragement to get a feel for cookery in the broadest sense. Given Britain's dependence on the monopoly of the supermarket, Oliver is making a statement about a European cooking tradition which has vast regional variety and which still supports local markets and local producers.
In Britain, a lot of the ingredients for these recipes will inevitably be bought from a supermarket, but it might just encourage you to make greater use of local butchers, fishmongers, and greengrocers. The success of supermarkets is in packaging food, making it easy to buy. A butcher's shop can be intimidating if you don't know which joint of meat you want. Oliver makes it clear that part of the joy of cooking is talking to your local butcher, asking advice - Oliver encourages you to think about and talk about and learn about food … and that really is where he's at his best.
It's an encouraging, optimistic volume which has a youthful, dynamic feel to it. It's the sort of book which should find a place on many a student shelf, but it's not simply to be monopolised by the young. Here is a wide range of well-illustrated and lucidly explained recipes and ideas for meals which should stimulate both your gastric juices and your brain cells. Excellent value.
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on 7 April 2007
I never really had much time for Jamie Oliver before this book. Like one of the other reviewers here, I am an Italian, I was raised in the south, in Campania and I was bought this book for Christmas. It's beautiful, the feel of the book is rustic and the pages heavy. The photo's brought tears to my eyes, just pictures of everyday people and things. As the other review said, not many recipies, but the quality of the ones that are there will leave you speechless. My only wish is that there was a DVD accompanying this book. It's wonderful, just simply wonderful
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on 5 October 2006
This is an excellent book, the recipes are dead easy to follow but give very impressive results. It also has some interesting anecdotes about the origins of the recipes and how Jamie came across them, written in everyday language dripping with enthusiasm. Nicely illustrated too. Easily the most used recipe book in my collection.

I didn't see the TV series, so I can't say how it compares to that, but I would recommend this for anyone with a passing interest in Italian cookery - you will see improvement fast.
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on 6 October 2005
I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to get my hands on this book, and having the week off work, I have put it to use in the kitchen since I received it a couple of days ago. It's attractively presented and written, and it looks as though it's been written to accompany a TV series. As with most of Jamie's books, the recipes are easy to follow and ingredients are easy to get hold of (though some suggestions are a little bit dear).
Something great about this book is that you get the feel that Jamie Oliver loves the food he is cooking, and that he is sharing a secret with you..... A secret recipe, or a most loved dish, which would otherwise run out, and you oddly feel intimately drawn in and almost as though you share a special bond with him through the recipes.
As with most of his recipes....drizzle the olive oil, through in handfulls of herbs, serve generous portions......he makes it easy, tasty, and after reading a recipe, your mouth will be watering and you'll be itching to cook the food. Recipes are not really that "new" and you will find them all in any serious comprehensive Italian cook book, but without Jamie's flair, will it be fun? You know the answer! And lastly, the recipes are amazingly authentic. Will Jamie try his hand at other world cuisines? If he makes it this easy, I hope so.
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on 25 March 2006
I'm a bit of a cookery book addict, so when I enjoyed Jamie's Italy on TV I knew I had to get the book.
With lots of great pictures, and little snippets of 'wisdom' from the man himself, this is more than a collection of recipes - it's an aspirational manual for a better attitude to eating. Moreover, it's probably the best piece of free marketing the Italian tourist board could have ever wished for.
The recipes vary, as with all recipe books, from the straightforward (and sometimes a little too obvious perhaps) to the advanced. Depending upon your attitude to cooking this can be a blessing or a bit inhibiting. If you've got a bit of practise then you'll be able to enjoy most of the recipes in this book without too much trouble.
Jamie Oliver's take on Italian food is balanced neatly between the traditional and the modern. His personal variations on staples like minestrone, lasagne and pizza all reflect his own flair and passion for fresh ingredients, but also his respect for the "proper way" of doing things. All the recipes that I have sampled have turned out very well. Personal favourites have been "Hunter's Lasagne" and the exquisite Cauliflower Risotto (seriously, you'll never frown upon a cauliflower again).
All in all this book comes highly recommended - it's a pleasure to read and work from.
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on 25 September 2006
This is the 1st Jamie Oliver book I have bought so far, and it certainly won't be the last!
While I really feel for the reviewer who couldn't find "pancetta" or "linguine" in their local supermarket, maybe Italian cooking isn't for you?!

It is a pleasure to learn from someone who obviously has such a passion for cooking! Although I have only tried a handful of these recipes, they have been brilliant , I am currently ploughing my way through them!!

Thanks Jamie!!
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on 18 October 2005
With a more 'dynamic-looking' cover than is the norm for Jamie, the contents are the typical easy-to-read format we have come to expect from the Oliver stable.
Well presented with superb photography throughout and a book that you can pick up to read at any time, in any place.
The bulk of the recipes are, in honesty, nothing new, but the sensational use of the 'Oliver speak' just give them that fresh appeal and the urge to get into the kitchen and actually do it!

'In writing this book I didn't just want to give you a collection of Italian recipes, I wanted to share some experiences with you, too. So I wrote it while I travelled the country; working and eating and meeting people off the beaten track. I wanted to find the food of the 'real' Italy and to celebrate the recipes from the people I met along the way. I wanted to experience
the spirit of Italy that makes cooking and eating so central in family life - And I want you to experience it, too - I want you to go and find the old woman making polenta in the town of Bari in Puglia, or go and visit the lovely people who run the Petorlo estate in Tuscany......I want you to buy 12 artichokes from the weathered old codger in the market in Rome...............'.
'What can I say about 'pasta'.......?
Well if you want the real truth, the moment I stopped cooking sloppy, sticky, uninteresting, predictable pasta and started making pasta that was delicious, using the same commodities, and ingredients that Italians use at home, was the moment my cooking changed forever. Have a go at making it and enjoy it.'s just about the knack - it's not rocket science!'
Speaking of 'rocket' - the recipe for 'Spaghetti con Gamberetti e Rucola' (Spaghetti with Prawns and Rocket) is a wonderful and colourful combination of flavours.
It's the 'heat 3 good glugs of extra virgin olive oil' ........that just endorses this recipe as a 'Jamie version' and moves him well away from the pretentious 'precise amounts' brigade of chefs!
It is also nice to see another young chef acknowledge the remarkable talents of Elizabeth David and if you don't already have a copy of her Italian Food, this book is also well worth a place on the kitchen bookshelf.

But back to Jamie's Italy- [..]
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on 23 February 2006
This book is amazing, a celebration of life, beauty and food. The photographs are wonderful and the notes that come wih the recipes are a wonderful account of Italians' passion for food and life. I am no beginner in the kitchen but still the book was really inspiring. Jamie encourages you to use good quality ingredients and a lot of passion in your cooking, and well, that is what it's all about. I am Spanish and know quite a lot about authentic Italian food, and it's quite clear that Jamie knows what he's talking about. One of the best cookery books in my -very big- collection.
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