1,000 Italian Recipes (1,000 Recipes)
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
`1000 Italian Recipes' by Michele Scicolone is a great idea which, in other hands applied to other cuisines has produced heavy books with little or no inspiration. Ms. Scicolone has done this right. She has done it so right that it ups the ante for all new general Italian cuisine cookbooks to justify why one would want an alternate book when this excellent volume is already in your library.

The first thing which strikes the reader is the Table of Contents, which shows that Ms. Scicolone has a chapter on virtually every major category of Italian cooking, and, the Contents are divided into detailed subjects so that we don't only have a chapter on Antipasti, we have an Antipasti chapter plus sections on Cheese, Vegetable, Egg, Meat, Seafood, Dips, Bruschetta, and Fried Antipasti.

While this book makes no claims to being a work on regional Italian cuisine, it pays great attention to regionality. For starters, the end papers display excellent little maps of Italy and its twenty primary provinces. It is probably entirely excessive on my part, but a few more cities marked on the map would have been nice, but it is so much better than what you get in most other books that cite Italian regions that I am very pleased with this feature. The map is validated by the fact that the headnotes to most of the recipes cite the region to which the dish is native. Among other things, it fixes for certain that potato gnocchi is a speciality of Rome, and that it is the premier gnocchi recipe for Rome's Thursday menus.

This highlights the fact that in such a large book, you get not one gnocchi recipe. You don't even get just one potato gnocchi recipe. You get it neat, with lamb ragu, gratineed, with spinach, with seafood, and Sorrento style (with marinara sauce and mozzarella). You also get gnocchi made with squash and made with semolina. I do miss a recipe for gnocchi made with ricotta. And, these are not bare bones recipes. Potato gnocchi, like an omelet, is a relatively easy recipe with simple ingredients. But, both recipes require a lot of technique and gnocchi excellence comes only with practice. I think no amount of reading gnocchi recipes or even marathon sessions watching `Molto Mario' will make you a good gnocchi cook. You need to feel the dough and experiment with it to be sure it is just right. Here we get another symptom of how good this book is. I have read a lot of gnocchi recipes, and this is the first where I recall the writer's providing a really good test to tell when the potato gnocchi is good to go. Everyone tells you to be gentle and not add too much flour. This is the first I recall seeing a method for test cooking a gnocchi dumpling to see if you are good to go.

We see the same story with just about every type of recipe. It is no surprise to see a Pasta Puttanesca recipe. It is a surprise to see the traditional cooked Puttanesca plus an uncooked version of Puttanesca.

Another small feature that builds on all the other good things about this book is the fact that the Italian name is given for every recipe. This may not seem very important to the person who just happens to want a single very good source of Italian recipes, but to someone who owns twenty (20) recipes of Italian cuisine, the feature becomes very important in being able to compare two different versions of the same recipe where two authors may translate the traditional Italian name in two different ways. This simple consideration extends to names of classic preparations, lead by the distinction between a ragu (a meat sauce, as in Ragu Bolognaise) and a sugo, or thinner, meatless sauce. This legitimate distinction is probably the basis of the totally inconsequential Italian-American argument over `sauce' versus `gravy'.

The author is fairly clear that her recipes are based on Italian models, not Italian-American adaptations. This is fine, since there are plenty of excellent Italian-American cookbooks on our shelves now. She does note that she has leaned towards the modern Italian tendency to prefer olive oil to butter or lard in all recipes and she has catered to the American preference for lightly cooked vegetables, instead of hammering the green stuff the way most traditional Italians did in the past.

While Ms. Scicolone has wisely not entitled her book `Complete Italian Recipes', there are precious few subjects she has not given some reasonable treatment, including a very instructive section on making fresh pasta and sections on traditional breads, pizzas, and calzones. I'm especially pleased that she found room for a recipe for the Sardinian `sheet music' flat bread. Something so unusual needs to be in such a complete book. But, here is where we get the gaps that are filled by the grand dames of Italian cookbook writing such as Marcella Hazan, Lydia Bastianich, and Carole Field. Marcella and Lydia both have large chapters devoted to making fresh pasta, with excellent pictures to explain the techniques. And, Ms. Scicolone does not compete with Carole Field's excellent book on Italian bread baking, since it does not even touch the subject of artisinal baking. I would have not missed the bread recipes one bit if Ms. Scicolone had devoted some of this space to more Panini recipes. As the cuisine which has contributed most to the American sandwich, a few more Panini recipes and a bit more on the Panini press would have been a great addition. I am a dunce with wines, but I think the short chapter on Italian wines adds much to the book by supplying lots of useful information into a few pages.

While book cover blurbs are often political, I heartily agree with Mario Batali's epigram that this book is a masterpiece, easily a candidate for one of the ten cookbooks you keep in your kitchen.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2005
I think that most cookbooks are a waste of money - you buy them and then end up only ever using one or two recipes. Not so with this book - I've already tried many of the recipes, and have found almost all of them to be "keepers." Most of the recipes are pretty simple and not too time-consuming. I was particularly excited to discover a recipe for Fried Spaghetti - a childhood favorite in my Italian household!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2006
We just recently bought this book and have done so many recipes from it already. The herbs, the spice combinations, are just so fantastic. We haven't made one single recipe out of this book that wasn't four-star. Read the index to get an idea of the recipes - but if you love intricate, spicy, combinations of food...buy this.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2009
I have been cooking for over 45 years, have a collection of over 100 cookbooks in 3 languages, and find myself coming back to this one. Not flashy, no pictures, but solid and very dependable. This book has encouraged me to try wonderful combinations I never would have tried on my own. The key to making every recipe a hit is to try it her way exactly (at least once), use the best quality ingredients, share with friends if you can.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2011
Growing up, we never went out to Italian restaurants because the Italian food my dad cooked at home blew any restaurant out of the water. I have most of those recipes and almost all of them come close to what's in this book. I've made hundreds of the recipes in it and I've never been disappointed. Even if you're a good Italian cook, I recommend the book. It gives you background as to where the recipes come from and also gives you some recipes from other parts of Italy you may not be familiar with. My family is from the Naples area so I'm familiar with mostly Southern Italian cooking. But it's been fun to learn and cook with recipes from other parts. Highly recommend it. I give it to my friends as part of a bridal shower gift and include all of my notes from the recipes in the margins of the book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2010
Absolutely the best Italian cookbook I've ever used. I have bought about a dozen copies as gifts. With this book you can learn to cook. Anyone who is Italian or grew up in heavily populated Italian American regions of the US will instantly recognize the authenticity of these down to earth recipes. I have been cooking weekly from this book for the last 4 years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2007
I have collected more cook book , and have never had so much pleasure cooking the recipes for this great Italin cook book. All the recipes come from all over Italy and the result is that you learn about the country and it produce. Fresh natural foods that grow in that region, naturally. I like to cook simply with fresh foods,useing as many vegetables as I can find, a different recipe for. THIS IS IT. THIS IS ALL YOU NEED I am thinking of selling all the other books have have searched through for all the good and different recipes , I only found in this ONE BOOK
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
I love this cookbook! As usual, Michele has written a wonderful cookbook with recipes that are delicious, clearly written & produce delicious results each time. I have most of her books and really love how comprehensive this one is. It covers recipes from all regions and has something for everyone. She clearly knows what she's talking about and has done her research. She doesn't water down or Americanize the recipes which I appreciate. She tries to stay authentic when possible with the ingredients available here. I also appreciate the fact the the recipe titles are in Italian as well as English. Since I speak Italian fairly well, I like seeing the original dish names.

So far I have prepared:

Chocolate Pudding
Hot Roasted Chestnuts
Tiramisu
Pollo alla Porchetta
Lamb Stew with Rosemary, Mint & White Wine
Calabrian-Style Pork Tenderloin with Honey & Chile - Carne 'ncantarata
Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Linguine alle Vongole
Spaghettini con Bottarga
Beet & Orange Salad
Lemon Chicken Salad
Melanzane Ripiene (Stuffed Eggplant)

All dishes came out perfectly the first time & have all been wonderful the second time around. I should state that I have over 300 cookbooks with over 150 of them being Italian. That said - I use this one a lot for ideas & will continue to try new things even though I have so many other books to cook from!

Happy Cooking!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2010
You will love this! The recipes are clear, many are so simple yet delicious. The book is one of the best for fresh vegetables, and then there are the pasta and chicken dishes. I've yet to try a recipe that wasn't great.

The book is particularly useful if you need to do dinner in 30 minutes and want something elegant, flavorful and fast.

Highly recommended.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2006
Many hard to find Italian recipes along with ones that are Americanized but still great eating.I love cookbooks and own over 200, I go back to this one often.
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