It's been more than 40 years since Biba Caggiano came to America from her home in northern Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, and she still yearns for the luscious food that has earned the region a coveted spot on the culinary map. Long an accomplished author, television cooking-show host, and restaurateur, Caggiano still finds a constant source of inspiration in the cooking of her homeland--from the rich stuffed pasta dishes and complex ragus of Emilia to the simple grilled fish dishes and lusty brodettos (seafood stews) of Romagna.
Biba's Taste of Italy is a fascinating culinary tour of Caggiano's beloved region. In chapters on every course from antipasti to dolci, Caggiano introduces readers to the succulent dishes of the area and paints a vivid portrait of both the food and the people. Her salty-sweet Eggplant Parmigiano stars the region's own Parma ham and Bolognese sausage; Seafood Risotto recalls the irresistible bounty of the Adriatic sea that laps the shores of Romagna; and the trademark of Emilia-Romagna cooking--stuffed pasta--appears frequently in dishes like Squash Ravioli with Squab Ragu and Balsamic Vinegar and Cannelloni with Meat Stuffing
In the spirit of the region's small villages, Caggiano offers recipes for unassuming dishes like Roasted, Marinated, and Skewered Eel, in which the delicately sweet flavor of this unusual fish is expertly balanced with the simple yet robust flavors of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, fresh sage, and pancetta. Roasted Stuffed Breast of Veal is a truly classic Emilian dish, and Caggiano's version--stuffed with a mixture of sautéed vegetables, Parmigiano, nutmeg, and eggs, then roasted golden brown with a crisp crust--is among the most delectable. Desserts run the gamut from the light, delicious Chestnut-Ricotta Fritters to the dense, sweet Honey-Walnut-Raisin Pie to a refreshing Strawberry Gelato.
The clear, easy-to-follow instructions accompanying each recipe make the book a joy to cook from and the beautiful page design makes it a pleasure to peruse. A brief chapter on the wines of the region and another on Where to Eat in Emilia-Romagna make the book complete. --Robin Donovan
From Publishers Weekly
In her latest enticing collection of recipes (after Trattoria Cooking and Italy al Dente), the chef-owner of Biba restaurant in Sacramento returns to her hometown, Bologna, and its surrounding countryside. The region, Emilia-Romagna, is blessed with such delectables as prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano and balsamic vinegar, which its culinary tradition prominently features. Those who can never own too many Italian cookbooks will welcome the familiar fare, including Prosciutto with Marinated Baby Artichokes in Balsamic Vinegar, a simple Mussel Salad, Caggiano and Butternut Squash Tortelli. Chatty headnotes to most recipes tell where Biba discovered them and what drew her to each one, such as the simplicity of Grilled Skewers of Calamari and Shrimp from Rimini and her brother's favorite, Veal Stew with White Wine and Peas. She concludes with such sweets as Almond Chocolate Cake from a trattoria in Vignola and Mascarpone-Zabaglione Mousse from another in Frassinara. These authentic recipes demonstrate why Italian food remains one of the world's most irresistible cuisines. Agents, Maureen and Eric Lasher. (On-sale date: Mar. 26) Forecast: Caggiano has a large, dedicated following who are attracted to her motherly warmth as much as they are to her food. She will promote her new book with an appearance on CBS's Early Show the same day the book goes on sale and subsequently on Martha Stewart Living and PBS's Home Cooking, followed by a four-city tour. As before, stores should anticipate brisk sales.
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