cover image Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen

Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen

Lucinda Scala Quinn, . . Wiley, $17.95 (120pp) ISBN 978-0-471-79381-6

In this small but tasty collection of Italian recipes, Quinn, host of the PBS series Everyday Food and author of Lucinda's Authentic Jamaican Kitchen , draws on her travels and ancestral past for classic home-cooked dishes. In bringing rustic Italian food to the busy American table, Quinn cuts out several steps such as homemade stock and freshly rolled pasta (although she does include a recipe for pizza dough that can be topped with escarole and Gaeta olives or served Margherita-style). Technique is perhaps not as important as ingredients: Her "Notes to the Cook section" covers some basic territory such as how to control the flavor of garlic, the merits of salted capers and her secret dredging weapon, Wondra flour for gravy. Though selections like Carolina's Wine Taralli (cookies) and Tuna Gremolata Dip have a sophisticated flair, there are plenty of earthy, elemental pleasures, like Polpette (a meatball in Italian, but Quinn turns it into a meatloaf), which is baked with mortadella slivers and pistachios, and Tuscan kale sautéed with olive oil and seasoned only with salt and pepper. Along with plenty of color beauty shots by Quentin Bacon, Quinn's book demonstrates that even at its very humblest, Italian cooking yields extraordinary flavors. (Apr.)