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Ciao Italia Family Classics: More than 200 Treasured Recipes from 3 Generations of Italian Cooks Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 25, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 25, 2011
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Editorial Reviews


"This collection epitomizes the tradition and love that goes into all of Mary Ann Esposito's cooking. Like her award-winning TV series, this book will live on for years with all of those who cook her delicious recipes. My kids love everything Mary Ann cooks!"
—Mario Batali
"A primer for authentic Italian cooking from the host of the long-running PBS show Ciao Italia

Esposito (Caio Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites, 2009, etc.) returns with Italian recipes both familiar and unfamiliar; her section on sauces not only includes recipes for pesto and tomato sauce, but also Salmoriglio, a Sicilian sauce made with lemon and olive oil. The author provides a helpful resource for cooks wishing to deepen their knowledge of the principles behind Italian cooking, while simultaneously broadening their repertoire of Italian dishes. Esposito begins with an introduction to “Italian Pantry Basics,” a helpful encyclopedia of the ingredients that appear most often. Organized according to different main ingredients and rife with anecdotes, history and additional information about techniques, the book emphasizes local, seasonal and organic produce and meat. Even so, most ingredients can be easily found in any chain grocery store. Recipes range in difficulty but are clear and easy to follow. Readers who wish to use store-bought pasta are accommodated, as are those who want to try their hand at homemade Spinach Pasta. Most recipes are well within the range of a moderately experienced cook. Uncooked Cherry Tomato Sauce could easily be put together by a child, and Creamy Cauliflower Baked in a Mold, though requiring more skill, would undoubtedly make an impression at a dinner party.

Complete, authoritative and accessible guide to Italian ingredients, cooking and cuisine."

—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

MARY ANN ESPOSITO is the host of the long-running PBS series Ciao Italia. She is the author of eleven successful cookbooks, including Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites, Ciao Italia Pronto!, and Ciao Italia Slow and Easy. She lives in Durham, New Hampshire, with her husband, Guy.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312571216
  • ASIN: B00AK2OGY4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.4 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,353,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not of Italian descent but grew up in Connecticut with a large Italian immigrant population. We had access to Italian import grocery stores and family run restaurants were everywhere. I married an Italian American man who loves to cook so my exposure expanded and I began to cook more and more Italian "slow food" at home. When I moved to Texas last year I realized I'd taken access to these foods for granted now that I have a hard time finding high quality ingredients and imported Italian foods. I can't even find decent restaurants that make authentic type Italian food or even a decent pizza. So we're cooking slow food at home now more than ever before.

My first impression of this cookbook was one of familiarity, because it is has over two dozen recipes that our family already enjoys eating at home or in favorite Italian restaurants. Now that we have the recipes we can make these at home. The other 150 recipes are new to me and I can't wait to go through the book and try some. Esposito explains that some recipes are from her grandmothers, some are newer recipes served at gourmet restaurants in Italy and some are her own creations using classic Italian ingredients.

I want to stress the word classic that's in the title. There is a whole chapter on pastas and another on sauces, a chapter on bread and pizza, and I'm thrilled to have a chapter on risotto. In the Introduction she mentions family dinners served in courses and eaten leisurely over multiple hours' time. The recipes in the book are meant for this purpose, so it starts with antipasti and then goes through the courses: soup, bread/pizza, pasta and sauces, rice, fish, meat, vegetables, salads then desserts.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Length: 1:47 Mins
I was so excited to receive this book that I didn't wait very long to start cooking. First of all, I really enjoy the family stories that Mary Ann writes. I felt so connected that it invited me to cook these classic meals.

As I flipped the pages, I began to mark the recipes of the pictures that looked delicious. My family was anxiously waiting for the first attempt.

I have put together a video with pictures of the 12 recipes that I tried. In the video I only show the meal and page so here are the notes to each one of them. They appear in the order cooked.

- Spinach Pasta: Very easy to make. Very pretty color and delicious. The picture shows different shapes of pasta. I hope it is clear on how much it yields. I set the book just behind it to have a perspective on size.

- Cheese cylinders: Probably my favorite antipasti ever! They were absolutely delicious. The flavor of the marinated beans combines so perfectly with the cheese. I have to say that the amount is a bit too big for one. Teen daughter and I shared one. Another side note is that the recipe is not written correctly. It states that you need 2 ½ cups of cheese, then use ½ cup to make the first cheese cylinder. After that it says: "make 5 more". The total should make 6 cylinders, uh? I know it's not a big deal but you need to be sure you have the right amount of cheese. I was afraid to burn the cheese so I took it off the skillet a bit too soon. I'll brown it a bit more next time.

- WW Spaghetti with tuna: Nice and filling. The recipe calls for 4 oz of pasta per person. That's too much for us. Most of us in our family can only eat 2 oz and even my husband only eats 3 oz if the pasta is our main dish. The flavor is very good though.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mary Ann Esposito describes herself as "both a traditionalist and a minimalist" so it's nbot surprising that this cookbook is filled with traditional Italian family recipes prepared with a minimum of fuss and "gourmetization." There are ask quite distinctive recipes here such as Baked Sardinian Bread and Cheese Soup (a Sardinian version of panzanella, a classic Italian peasant dish), Molded Fava Bean and Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese salad, Roasted Sea Bass with Fennel, Oranges and Olives and more, but I found myself drawn to the more basic and familiar Italian dishes: Sicilian meatballs, Classic Risotto Milanese, Lasagna Verde Bolognese, Neopolitan style steak, and a wonderful recipe from her grandmother, Nonna Saponto's Egg Plant Rolls, which is a nice variation of eggplant parmesan. Esposito, the dust jacket tells us, is the host of America's longest running cooking show and she has written a dozen cookbooks, so you can be sure you are getting recipes from an experienced hand, who knows her way around Italian cooking. This is an important addition to my already overflowing collection of Italian cookbooks.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Caio Italia is a robust books with more than 200 treasured recipes from several generations of Italian cooks. The author has many appealing recipes which suit all tastes from vegetarian to meat style dishes. This cookbook is chock full of appetizers, desserts, and main courses as well as salads and fruit dishes.

In particular the Red Pepper boats, Spinach Pizza Rolls and Lasagne Verde Bologna Style stood out as recipes I would enjoy making.

The only problem I had with this cookbooks, was that I didn't care for the format. I didn't like the ingredients being in the margins, as I felt this was difficult to use and read and made the ingredients look like captions. I also felt that for such a large book there could've been more pictures.

This is a nice cookbook, that I will enjoy exploring again and again.
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