Giuliano Bugialli, . . Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $50 (272pp) ISBN 978-1-58479-211-6

Bugialli provides a broad overview of the foods of Naples and the surrounding Campania region in this uneven effort. An initial chapter with recipes for basics creates strange bedfellows: Mixed Vegetables Preserved in Wine Vinegar, Homemade Tomato Paste, Candied Orange Peel and the local lemon liqueur Limoncello stand side by side. Campania is famous for its San Marzano tomatoes, and in a chapter awkwardly named "Naples: The Home of Dried Pasta and Tomatoes Like No Others in the World," Bugialli provides workable recipes for Classic Neapolitan Tomato Sauce; Garlic Tomato Sauce, Salerno Style; Tomato Sauce, Salerno Style; Vermicelli with Neapolitan Tomato Sauce; and so on. Confusingly, some recipes are just for sauce, while others include pasta preparation. Another Neapolitan classic is pizza, and the chapter on Neapolitan Pizza and other savory breads like a Brioche Ring served with vegetables in the center and Taralli with Fennel Seeds, which, like bagels, are parboiled before being baked, is one of the strongest. In another chapter titled "Il Gran Fritto alla Napoletana," Bugialli instructs readers on how to fry Potato Croquettes and celery. A chapter on fish and seafood includes Canapés, Neapolitan Style with mozzarella and anchovies, first courses like Spaghetti or Vermicelli in Clam Sauce and second courses such as Fish Baked in a Paper Bag, Neapolitan Style, which calls for parchment paper and not a paper bag after all. The photography is quite attractive, and full-page layouts like the one demonstrating the creation of Sfogliatelle are an informative addition—even if seeing two professionals preparing these complex, flaky pastries in a bakery only drives home what a challenge they are for the home cook. (Apr.)

Forecast:This book seems designed more for the coffee table than the kitchen, not that that's a bad thing. The photography is beautiful and likely to appeal to consumers who have visited the increasingly popular region of Campania, but naturally this kind of photo-dependent book exacts a heavy price.