cover image Healthy Italian Cooking

Healthy Italian Cooking

Emanuela Stucchi. Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, $29.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-55670-390-4

Fresh, essentially vegetarian ingredients are the foundation of the 130 recipes gathered here by Stucchi, who is the author of the Williams-Sonoma Library volume Salads and the daughter of Lorenza de' Medici. Beginning with an extensive, beautifully illustrated (with Gus Filgate's exquisite color photographs) glossary of vegetables, fruits, grains and flavorings, Stucchi aims for simplicity of flavor, arguing against dishes that are ``covered up with too many elements or sauces.'' Chapters ranging from antipasti to desserts embrace such dishes as cream of cannellini bean soup with sage and lemon, spaghetti with garlic and walnuts, sauteed carrots with balsamic vinegar sauce, and castagnacci, a torte made with chestnut flour, pine nuts and rosemary. Stucchi's approach is purist but not rigid; her mayonnaise, in which ``the quality of the oil is absolutely crucial-it must be cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil,'' is made in a food processor. The emphasis in these intriguing, often unusual recipes falls on simple flavors, yielding dishes that are relatively easy to make-an added benefit. (Nov.)