Solo Verdura: The Complete Guide to Cooking Tuscan Vegetables

Anne Bianchi, Author, Douglas Hatschek, Photographer Ecco $28.95 (333p) ISBN 978-0-88001-543-1
With this standout collection--quickly following Zuppa! and From the Tables of Tuscan Women--Bianchi establishes herself as an authority on how Italians eat today, which is, of course, an extension of a centuries-old culinary tradition. Polished, delicately ironic and generous-spirited essays on such topics as a trip to a Pisa cemetery to put flowers on her father's marble tomb illustrate the Italian reverence for the old ways. Bianchi's incisive, intelligent prose is matched by the excellence of her recipes, which are loosely divided by type of vegetable in such chapters as ""Pods & Seeds,"" ""Leaves & Stalks"" and ""Vegetable Medleys."" Each includes a list of the vegetables in the category, their seasons, buying tips and general preparation. Recipes such as Bitter Greens Tart and Beer-Braised Artichokes are equally complete, including preparation times, levels of difficulty, suggested variations; Bianchi also indicates which elements of the recipe can be made in advance. Several pasta recipes are highly unusual: Broccoli Ravioli Perfumed with Shallots and Lemon Balm; Horseradish Gnocchetti in Broth; and Chick Pea Pasta with Parsley Pesto. Just one small quibble: Bianchi identifies her style of cooking throughout as ""Tuscan,"" but, like Calzonetti Stuffed with Red Cabbage and Chevre or Sauteed Asparagus with Parmesan Sauce Wrapped in Potato Wafers, most of these are nuova cucina dishes that could appear anywhere in Italy. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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