cover image Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

Mary Ann Esposito. Peter E. Randall, $39.95 (452p) ISBN 978-1-942155-17-1

Esposito has hosted PBS’s Ciao Italia cooking show for nearly three decades and has written 12 previous titles, and her experience shows in this wide-ranging compendium of Italian classics. Recipes for regional treats include stuffed olives from the Marche region of Eastern Italy and sebadas, fried cheese-filled turnovers from Sardinia that are drizzled with honey and served for dessert. Encyclopedic in scope, the book covers rice, pasta, and bread, including a paper-thin, stracchino cheese–filled focaccia from Recco in Liguria and a traditionally unsalted Tuscan loaf. Sometimes organization falters: a dish of spaghetti with calamari crops up in the fish chapter, far from its pasta brethren, and it would make more sense to house panettone with desserts rather than sandwiching it between basic bread dough and pizza. Recipes are workmanlike and clear, but the standouts here are the sidebars, which include practical information (such as an alphabetical list of various types of cheese) with informative history (like a mini-essay on how the chalky soil sets apart the olive oil of Umbria, and has been the choice of popes for centuries). This is another worthy volume in Esposito’s long and sage list of cookbooks. (Nov.)