The Gastronomy of Italy is the most comprehensive book on Italian cooking I've come across to date. The book starts out simply enough with an explanation of how to use the book; it isn't laid out like a typical cookbook, but then again it shouldn't be, because this book is really more of a comprehensive encyclopedia of everything you would ever want to know about Italian cooking. It is set up much like an encyclopedia would be, in A - Z format, with entries dedicated to much more than recipes and ingredients. In these pages you'll find out the history behind many of the founding elements of Italian cooking and how the different peoples who came to Italy influenced the different regions and cooking styles.
This book does an admirable job in trying to unify the different regions, cooking methods, and terminology all in a cohesive, easy to understand reference. Each entry gives both the English and Italian term or terms as well as a comprehensive definition for the entry, oftentimes listing tips for finding the freshest ingredients or best methods of preparation. The recipes mixed in amongst the entries are easily followed, but oftentimes complex and not necessarily for the beginning cook. One problem that I've noticed with several of the recipes is that not all of the ingredients can be easily obtained at the local grocer. There are several items, such as monkfish and scamorza cheese that I have no idea where to obtain, fortunately we live in the digital age and some (but not all) of the ingredients can be tracked down with a bit of searching online.
Because the book is so large, nearly 550 pages in e-book format, I haven't had the opportunity to dig in and try out the recipes yet, but I look forward to doing so. I've already bookmarked the recipes for salsa di funghi secchi (dried porcini sauce) and asparagi alla parmigiana (asparagus with melted butter and cheese) to try out first.
Where to Purchase
Amazon - Gastronomy of Italy
This e-book was sent to me for review by Anova Books through NetGalley.. As always, all opinions are my own.
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