My Italian Garden: More Than 125 Seasonal Recipes from a Garden Inspired by Italy

Viana La Place, Author . Broadway $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7679-1825-1

Even home cooks who are unable to keep the hardiest of plants alive or who live in tiny, dark apartments will be enchanted by La Place's description of her bountiful garden. La Place (coauthor of Cucina Fresca ) begins with a lyrical account of how she created the garden in her San Francisco home after observing some in Italy, and each seasonal section and recipe is accompanied by an inspiring meditation on the ingredients. The dishes are relatively simple: a Passato of Cannellini Beans and Cima di Rapa bursts with a heady flavor unusual for winter, while a fall pasta celebrates the flavor of just-picked artichokes highlighted with parsley and white wine. La Place's insistence on relying on her garden's bounty alone to supply dishes for each course and every season spurs her to great creativity, as exemplified by the "Caprese" salad that morphs through the year from the summer classic to a winter version with radicchio, orange zest and hazelnuts. Though cooks without a garden will not have quite the experience that La Place describes, just the idea of concentrating on a few fresh ingredients will remind them of just how extraordinary vegetables can be. Color illus. not seen by PW . (May 8)

Reviewed on: 04/16/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
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