cover image Ciao Italia: Five-Ingredient Favorites

Ciao Italia: Five-Ingredient Favorites

Mary Ann Esposito, . . St. Martin's, $29.99 (150pp) ISBN 978-0-312-37769-4

Esposito, best known for her authentic and inspired take on rustic Italian cooking, has taken a crack at the ubiquitous quick/easy genre in her latest book, offering 75 recipes that focus on five main ingredients. Immediately appealing, Esposito's warm tone echoes throughout the book, offering quick trips down memory lane. At a time when most families are tightening their belts, an array of effortless, five-ingredient recipes is most welcome, especially since most are to be served family style. (However, many recipes have a high calorie count that might turn off health-conscious cooks.) For the most part, Esposito sticks to old Italian favorites—spaghetti carbonara, fried shrimp, and panna cotta. The salad and antipasto chapters are superb, with knockouts like roasted asparagus and carrot salad and spicy soppressata tartlets. But considering that six of the eight pasta dishes contain no vegetables, and decadent dishes like pasta bundles with taleggio cheese and pears call not only for butter but two types of cheese, readers may get frustrated at having to flip to the “vegetables” chapter to find them. (Sept.)