Soups of Italy: Cooking Over 175 of the Best Italian Soups

Norma Wasserman-Miller, Author William Morrow Cookbooks $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-688-15031-0
Italy, with its long tradition of peasant cooking and flair for creating big tastes with little fuss, is good soup country. Unfortunately, Wasserman-Miller (coauthor of Risotto) brings unnecessary complexity and pretentiousness to her collection of regional recipes culled mostly from restaurants and the kitchens of professional cooks. North and South, city and countryside are represented in selections that range from delicate first-course broths to hearty minestroni that make the meal. Pasta-and-bean soups are presented in all their regional glory from Tuscany to Sicily. There are fish soups, including Brodetto di Pesce alla Veneta (Venetian Fish Soup), and meat soups such as Zuppa di Anatra, a duck soup enlivened by a touch of balsamic vinegar. The recipes generally yield great soups, but Wasserman-Miller's cumbersome instructions are not eased by her enthusiasm for Italian. There are times when you don't know whether you're reading a cookbook or taking a language course. Wasserman-Miller, who owns a specialty food store in Cambridge, Mass., also asks readers to buy many specialty ingredients. There's little reason for a general cookbook to call for ""preferably estate Tuscan"" extra virgin olive oil in one bean soup while another begs for ""preferably estate Ligurian."" Wasserman-Miller doesn't always hew to her own observation that soups are ""only good basic ingredients, prepared simply and healthfully."" (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!