Though there are many individual regional cuisines in Italy, northern and southern Italian cuisines are primarily differentiated by the cooking fat and style of pasta commonly used. Northern Italian cuisine (other than on the coast) favors butter, cream, polenta, Mascarpone, Grana Padano, and Parmigiano cheeses, risotto and fresh egg pasta. Southern Italian cuisine tends toward Mozzarella, Caciocavallo and Pecorino cheeses, olive oil and dried pasta. Southern Italian cuisine also makes greater use of the ubiquitous tomato.
by Susanna Gelmetti
Healthy, delicious, and surprisingly simple to prepare. These are the characteristics that best describe Italian Country Cooking.
Now for the first time, Susanna Gelmetti, known internationally for her cooking courses in Italy's Umbria and Apulia regions, shares the bounty of these cuisines in Italian Country Cooking. Umbria, the relatively unknown neighbor of Tuscany, boasts a classical landscape that produces delightful wines, delicate olive oils, and hearty dishes flavored with garlic. Apulia, a region down in the heel of Italy, has a quintessential Mediterranean cuisine: fresh vegetables, fish, tomatoes, pasta, and olive oil.
The fusion of the cuisine of these two regions is what sets Italian Country Cooking apart from other cookbooks. Over 100 recipes are designed to suit any and every occasion, are easy to follow, and do not require hard-to-find ingredients. Here you will acquire confidence in a few basic techniques, and then cook in a relaxed and joyful mood-an essential accompaniment to all Italian food.
Start with Antipasti and choose from such delights as Red Onion Frittata, Grilled Courgette and Goat's Cheese Parcels, and, of course, learn the secret for making perfect pizza.
Next move on to Primi piatti (the first course) where pasta is one of the basic ingredients. Try a pasta recipe, or experiment with risotto or a nourishing soup. You'll learn to make perfect fresh egg pasta, perfect gnocchi, and perfect risotto along the way.
Secondi piatti consists of meat and fish recipes: Veal Noisettes with Grapes and Pomegranates, Apulian-Style Roast Lamb with Potatoes, and Fillets of Seabass or Trout with Oranges and Artichokes are among the delicacies on the menu.
Italians are passionate about vegetables, and in Verdure you'll find vegetable dishes that when coupled together produce hearty meals, yet can stand alone quite beautifully as accompaniments to meat and fish. Broad Beans and Chicory can be served followed by a dish of stuffed vegetables, baked onions, and a salad of mixed greens to create a complete meal, for example.
For centuries Italy has been famous for frozen confections. Cakes and ice creams are eaten to round-off a meal, but can also be enjoyed as snacks throughout the day. A slice of cake and a glass of wine is a very homey Italian indulgence. Dolci features many delectables: Apricot and Amaretti Tart, Chilled Zabaglione, and Chestnut Semifreddo to name a few.
Italian Country Cooking is filled with beautiful illustrations and photographs. This book is a refreshing resource for those who love Italy and its flavors.
Italian Country Cooking
by Susanna Gelmetti
Illustrations by Robert Budwig
Ten Speed Press, 1996
$16.95, paper, 128 pages
Reprinted with permission
Pasta, Risotto & You (with recipes)
from Kate's Global Kitchen:
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