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Cucina Rustica: Simple, Irresistible Recipes in the Rustic Italian Style Paperback – June 19, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Cucina Rustica proves that you can have style and taste without spending hours in the kitchen. It is a book for today"--"Chicago Tribune""In the overcrowed field of irresistible Italian cookbooks, La Place and Kleiman have carved out a niche with food that is fresh, fast, stylish, ...--"Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Viana La Place is the author of numerous books on Italian cooking, including Desserts and Sweet Snacks, Rustic Italian Style, and Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini. She lives in San Francisco and spends part of each year in Italy.

Evan Kleiman is the executive chef and owner of Los Angeles' enormously successful Angeli Caffe. She is the bestselling coauthor (with Viana La Place) of Pasta Fresca, Cucina Fresca, and Cucina Rustica. She has also authored two of her own cookbooks, Angeli Caffe Pizza Pasta Panini and Cucina del Mare, and is the host of GoodFood, a weekly radio show on Los Angeles National Public Radio Station.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; First Edition edition (June 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060935111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060935115
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Evan Kleiman is a true culinary multi-tasker. Chef, author, radio host, and restaurateur, she has been called "the fairy Godmother of the LA food scene" for her central role in bringing a community of food people together through her radio show Good Food. As host of the radio show Good Food on KCRW since 1997, Evan has interviewed more than 6000 guests ranging from celebrated chefs to local farmers enabling her to explore every aspect of food and how it intersects with human life.

As proprietor and chef of Angeli Caffe for 28 years Evan's improvisational style, while rooted in the Cucina Povera of Italy shows her reliance on simple ingredients and economical ingenuity to produce delicious and satisfying food with a fresh, honest, pared down aesthetic that people intuitively understand and appreciate. People just get it. The heart stays focused on who is across the table. It's good eating, not haute cuisine dining. When Angeli opened in 1984 Evan was credited with reintroducing rustic Italian cooking to the U.S.

As a natural extension of her longtime exposure to everything to do with food, Evan's interest now extends to issues of food policy and agroecology. The founder of LA's Slow Food Chapter, which she ran for eight years, Evan now serves on the Stewardship Council for Roots of Change and is a member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. She is an active speaker on issues of food culture and sustainability and just to maintain a balance, is also attempting to become the Queen of Pie.

Evan is the author of six books on Italian food and one video app, Easy As Pie.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have had this cookbook for a number of years now, and give it as a gift to friends who like fresh-flavored, moderately complex to simple recipes. It is written by people who love this kind of food, know the genre, and seem to have made what they write about. The recipes are effective and the food works out each time.
The book contains a number of risotto dishes, several interesting bruschetta ideas (White Bean Puree with Garlicky Mustard Greens stands out), and a range of soups, notably Fennel and Tomato Soup and Cabbage and Rice Soup. Two great side dishes are Baked Endive and Braised Fennel.
As a vegertarian, I've found that many of the pasta and polenta dishes translate quite well. The authors are fond of ground sausage, sausage links, and especially pancetta. I've substituted, at the expense of authenticity but with minimal damage, vegetarian ground sausage, sausage links, and bacon. Polenta with Mushroom Saute and Polenta with Sausage and Tomato Sauce are hearty and delicious. Sausages Braised in Tomato and Orange Juice is unique and warming. Of the pasta dishes, Orechiette with Broccoli and Sausage, Orechiette with Sausage and Fennel, and Pasta with Onion Sauce are common in our house.
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By A Customer on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Cucina Rustica has inspired the first review I have written. I must say that his book was one of the best impulse purchases I have ever made. So far, I have made about 10 of the recipes and each one had become an instant classic in my house. I'm especially fond of the risotto and pasta dishes (but that's the carbohydrate addict in me talking). The ingredients are simple yet cleverly put together. I think the highest praise I can give is that my first-generation Sicilian boyfriend has cleaned his plate every time I have made one of these recipes. If you are enamoured of all things Italian (as I am), this book will be a joy.
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By BobW on November 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book about 10 years ago after reading it in a library. The soup recipes alone are worth buying this book. I still make the Broccoli, Bean, and Pasta soup on a regular basis. A great cookbook for vegetarians who are tired of the same old, same old...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have spent the last 3 and a half years living in northeastern Italy. I'll be going home to the US this year and I have to say, I'm a thrilled to have this book in my collection. Almost everything in this book (or some variation) has been served by my Italian friends at dinner parties or gatherings, or even on the menu of local eateries. This book allows me to take one of the things I love most about Italy home with me. I even picked up a few copies to give as gifts!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the 3rd of Viana La Place's cookbooks I have bought; all of them are superb. She has a gift for evoking the sights and smells of luscious fresh produce, artisan cheeses and crusty breads with her lively, obviously loving, descriptions. This is the way the Italians eat: simply, with love and gusto.
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Format: Paperback
I also bought this cookbook as an impulse, and am glad I did.

This book is chock full of wonderful receipes, that are easy to prepare, usually with what you have on hand. I just wish it had more pictures. My family loves everything I have fixed so far, and I appreciate the clear directions and simplicity of ingredients. The risottos are marvelous, as are the seafood dishes and soups. A must have for anyone who loves good Family Style Italian Country cooking......
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In my opinion, the only thing this book is lacking are photos. Otherwise, I probably would have given it 5 stars. The recipes are pretty simple yet very tasty. I've enjoyed everything I've made from this book so far!
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Format: Paperback
For the uninitiated there can be a lot more to authentic Italian food than pasta, pizzas and ice cream, notwithstanding the influences from neighbouring countries and more latterly international fusions.

Rural Italian food or rustic food, to give it its "selling name", has been an increasingly popular food style for many and this book provides quite a lot of rustic recipes for your delight, delectation and production at home.

After a fairly interesting introduction about the concepts behind cucina rustic (the simple kitchen) and a look at some sample menus, the reader is given a primer on the Italian kitchen and many detailed descriptions of typical ingredients that feature within rustic Italian recipes. Then it is onto the dishes themselves. First split into several sections - antipasti, insalate (salads), zuppe e minestre (soups), pasta, risotto, polenta, contorni (vegetables), pesce e frutti di mare (fish & shellfish), pollame e carne (poultry & meat) and dolci (desserts).

This book is high on information and very low on imagery overall, yet the quality of the given explanatory text and recipes cannot be understated. Each recipe features its Italian and English names, often an introduction to the dish or an explanation to it, then the ingredients are broken out into a table before the actual cooking instructions are given. The instructions are written in a simple-to-understand, jargon-free manner which is a great aid. The only thing missing is a constant bugbear to YUM and that is the lack of an estimated preparation and cooking time. It really does help the rushed and/or uncertain cook. Photographs are always nice as an inspirational aid and to give a little more confidence that your dish looks something like the "ideal finished thing.
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