By Susan Herrmann Loomis
Warm mozzarella cheese in Campania, fava beans and olive oil with bitter greens in Puglia, the sardines and currants of Sicily, salt-cured capers from Salina in the Aeolian Islands.... Susan Herrmann Loomis's Italian Farmhouse Cookbook is packed with these ingredients and more than 250 delectable recipes. But like her acclaimed Farmhouse and French Farmhouse, this is more than a cookbook: It is a travelogue of Italy's people and landscape that paints a warm, insightful, and original portrait of a country that continues to capture the American imagination.
To complete Italian Farmhouse Cookbook, Loomis traveled extensively in Italy. She journeyed through regions familiar and unseen, spending time with farmers, vintners, and ranchers and basking in their warmth, their generosity, their stories, and their luscious food. The result is a book that evokes the heart and soul of Italy's agricultural landscape, its flavors— traditionally made Parmigiano Reggiano, one hundred year-old balsamic vinegar, an almost endless range of extra virgin olive oils— and the subtle colors and textures of the countryside— market baskets, window boxes, the buffaloes that keep cool in the marshes outside of Naples.
"So much of Italy reminded me of Italy. That is, my vision of Italy, which is an admittedly romantic one," says Loomis. "There is a remarkable vibrancy to the land and the alluring, deliciously faded colors and fanciful architecture of even the simplest farmhouse." The recipes in Italian Farmhouse Cookbook are a study in simplicity and intensity of flavor, with complexity coming from the blending of a few superior ingredients, not technical difficulty. From the butter, cream, corn, and white sauces in the North to the olive oils, wheat, red sauces in the South, Loomis discovered that true Italian cooking adheres to one basic rule, quanto basta ("when there is enough"). Every dish comes into its own through the art of accortezza ("knowing"): knowing the perfect ingredients to complement each other; knowing where to go in the woods or fields to find them; and knowing when to move out of the way and let those ingredients speak for themselves.
Italian Farmhouse Cookbook features chapters on antipaste e merende (appetizers and snacks), insalate (salads), minestre e zuppe (soups), primi piatti and secondi piatto (first and second courses), and dolce (sweets), as well as vegetables, breads, and basic farmhouse recipes such as light tomato sauce, chestnut pasta, and vanilla sugar. Among Loomis's favorite recipes are Zuppa di Verdura (Spring Vegetable Soup), Tagliatelle Di Castagna, Pomidori all Erbe (Tomatoes with Fresh Herb Sauce), Con Carciofi (Chestnut Pasta with Artichokes), and Torta Di Mandorle Di Corrado (Corrado's Almond Cake).
"I want you to travel through this book," adds Loomis "I want you to feel as if you are encountering these exciting recipes and wonderful people and places in person. Buon appetito e buon viaggio!
Susan Herrmann Loomis is a professionally trained chef and journalist who contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines in the United States, including the New York Times, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Gourmet, and Cooking Light. She is the author of five cookbooks, including French Farmhouse Cookbook (Workman 1996) and Italian Farmhouse Cookbook (Workman 2000). Ms. Loomis has lived in France for more than ten years, where she is the proprietor of "On Rue Tatin," a cooking school she operates from her 15th-century home in Louviers.
Italian Farmhouse Cookbook
By Susan Herrmann Loomis
Paperback: $16.95, ISBN: 0-7611-0527-1
Hardcover: $28.95, ISBN: 0-7611-1791-1
480 pages, Illustrations throughout
Information provided by the publisher.
This page created September 2000
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