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Williams-Sonoma Italian    by Pamela Sheldon Johns, Chuck Williams & Noel Barnhurst order for
Williams-Sonoma Italian
by Pamela Sheldon Johns
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

As in other cookbooks from Williams-Sonoma, if the piquancy of the recipes doesn't pull you into the scene, the wonderful photographs will draw you into the kitchen. I spent a month in Tuscany in 1995, and if I had not already loved Italian cooking, I would have been an instant convert. Simplicity and flavors combine to produce an enticing meal. Other musts are fresh ingredients and natural flavorings. All twenty of the geographical regions of Italy have their own local dishes that have become national – and international – favorites. Samples from the various regions are included here.

A neighbor of mine years ago (his father was from Naples) had to have Pasta E Fagioli Soup every Sunday if he was going to make it through another week. Try the recipe and find out why. The recipe for pesto accompanies Linguine with Pesto, Green Beans, and Potatoes. Can't imagine potatoes in the same dish as linguine, but am more than willing to try it. And Bistecca Alla Florentina will please the beef lover in your family. I've loved Antipasti since I was a little girl and our family ate in an Italian restaurant in Philadelphia. Trio of Crostini makes my mouth water with memories. And though I've never seen Cipolline in Agrodolce before, I must try this onion dish with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.

I discovered Fritto Misto in Tuscany – delicately deep fried seafood and vegetables. I could eat it every night. The Pasta dishes are to kill for. How about Mushroom Ravioli with Walnut Sauce? Or Cannelloni with Besciamella Sauce? Or Chicken with Vin Santo Sauce - the photo makes me want to pick up my fork and dive in. There's Roast Sea Bass with Fennel and Lemon or Rabbit with Roasted Garlic. Anything with Roasted Garlic cannot be all bad. This dish looks divine. Now we get to my favoritest of all Italian foods – Grilled Vegetables. The Spinach Timbales made in tiny ramekins look wonderful. Roasted Potatoes with Fennel and Onion - be still, my heart.

Desserts? Try the Biscotti. Or how about a fantastic Italian Gelato? The first time I tried Zabaglione, I thought the angels were giving me a treat. Taste it yourself with this recipe. Williams-Sonoma Italian is a great cookbook with delicious recipes. In the back is a section on Italian basics - don't miss it. And Bon Appétit!

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