Esposito (Ciao Italia Pronto!
), public TV's reassuring face of Italian cooking, is an ideal guide to the appealing world of Italian comfort foods. This slim volume provides main-dish recipes that can be fixed in an unhurried afternoon. Each chapter takes a primary ingredient (fish, meat, pasta, vegetables or fruit) as the base for a stew or casserole, usually adding liberal amounts of eggs, butter and cheese. Without Esposito's confident voice and knack for careful visual demonstration, the written instructions may occasionally seem vague, but other than a few surprises, such as lamb and dandelion casserole, most of the dishes are familiar entries from the Italian canon: Lasagne con Carciofi e Ricotta, Chicken Tetrazzini, Pepperoni Rossi alla Napoletano (stuffed red bell peppers). Some, like chicken pot pie or ham and broccoli casserole, seem positively Middle America. The hearty selection is nourishing if not exciting and will be welcomed by Esposito's fans as well as busy cooks who appreciate the “fix it-and-forget it” model. Color photos not seen by PW