Most Italian-American cooking derives from southern Italian fare, yet few cookbooks offer the parent cuisine in all its delicious variety. Nancy Harmon Jenkins's Cucna del Sole does so expertly. A collection of 200 approachable recipes from Sicily, Calabria, Bastilicata, Puglia, and Campania, the dishes include the likes of Pasta with Tomato and Toasted Almond Pesto; Swordfish in Lemon Caper Sauce; and Slow-Cooked Lamb with Wild Mushrooms. There's a comprehensive section on breads, pizza, and calzone, and a brief but attractive chapter of desserts, such as ricotta tart, Frozen Coffee Pudding, and, of course, cannoli. Good ingredient notes and traveler's advice are present, too.
In her other books, including The Essential Mediterranean, Jenkins offers not only mouth-watering formulas, but pertinent context; the book is also rich in "backstories" like Sicilian Savory Pies, and Pizza in Napoli. Because Jenkins has a journalist's eye and scholar's curiosity, not to mention a cook's know-how, her book also makes good, informative reading. It's unlikely those interested in her subject will find a better introduction to it--or more authentic yet doable southern-Italian dishes. --Arthur Boehm
Starred Review. In her previous cookbooks, which include Flavors of Tuscany and Flavors of Puglia, Jenkins distinguished herself with a no-nonsense and informative approach. She employs the same tone in her latest effort, which offers recipes from the regions of Campania, Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia and Sicily. As the author explains, these regions, called the Mezzogiorno, boast a vibrant and varied cuisine. Indeed, the only criticism that might be levied here is that each of the five regions could support a cookbook of its own rather than being lumped into one. Poverty appears to have been the mother of invention in Southern Italy: Jenkins provides several versions of pancotto, basically soup stretched with leftover bread. She also points up the much less frequent use of meat and the prevalence of vegetable stews such as Basilicata's Ciaudedda o Stufato di Verdure with artichokes and fava beans. Jenkins is frank about the difficulty of finding some ingredients in the U.S.: the recipe for Sicily's classic Pasta Colle Sarde acknowledges that its wild fennel is both irreplaceable and hard to track down. A chapter on travel to Southern Italy rounds out this pragmatic volume about an area that Americans are just beginning to explore in large numbers. (Mar.)
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I was pleased with the book, and the speed with which it came; Will definitely use them again
if I order a book that they have, that I want.
Cucina del Sole is a wonderfully written paen to the cooking of Southern Italy. I not only enjoyed seeing recipes for the many foods I enjoyed in Naples, etc; I enjoyed seeing... Read morePublished on September 9, 2009 by Star Walker
I've heard it time and time again - a good cook book does not require pictures. Technically, that is true but the trouble is that the culinary arts produces feasts for the eys and... Read morePublished on January 15, 2009 by Avid Reader
I received this book as a gift and was mightily impressed by the selection of recipes and accompanying articles. Read morePublished on August 11, 2008 by D Brookes
Ms Jenkins once again has shown her intimate knowledge of Italy and its food ways. She has chosen less well known regions to provide authentic flavors and foods rather than the... Read morePublished on April 3, 2008 by Terence Janericco