cover image Passione: The Italian Cookbook

Passione: The Italian Cookbook

Gennaro Contaldo. Headline, $40 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-7553-1118-7

Raised in a village on Italy's inspiring Amalfi Coast, Contaldo developed a passion for good food early, and that passion has translated into a successful career as a chef--he owns London's Passione restaurant and has appeared several times on Naked Chef with Jamie Oliver. In this pretty, rustic cookbook, Contaldo offers recipes for fresh, traditional, regional Italian dishes such as Risotto con Piselli, Fave e Zucchini (Risotto with Fresh Peas, Broad Beans, and Courgettes) and Petti di Pollo con Limone e Timo (Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Thyme). The recipes exude an earthy appeal, as do the book's colorful (though sometimes grainy) photographs of food. Strategically placed explanations of standard Italian foods, such as a description of favorite preserved meats, are helpful to Italian cooking neophytes, while anecdotes from the author's childhood in Italy--along with antique and current photos of life on the Amalfi Coast--make this an enjoyable read from cover to cover.