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Italian Home Cooking: 125 Recipes to Comfort Your Soul Hardcover – November 16, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

There remains a central difference between home cooking--comfort food--and professional cooking, notes dellaCroce (The Classic Italian Cookbook). Cucina casalinga is casual and relaxed, designed to sustain the body and uplift the spirit. The James Beard-award winner puts her money where her mouth is with a lively focus on the sustaining, casual, even homely appetizers, pastas, entrees, and desserts discovered during her time in Italy or handed down from her Italian antecedents. Christopher Hirsheimer's sensuous photography makes recipes as diverse as Carrot and Fennel Soup and Angry Lobsters pop off the page. Wide-ranging enough to be comprehensive yet focused enough to be selective, dellaCroce organizes her effort into 10 chapters, ranging from Welcoming Dishes, like Sage Leaves and Zucchini Blossoms or her Pissaladella pizza-like flatbread, to For the Love of Vegetables, such as Potatoes Schiscionera from Sardinia, to the especially notable Baby's First Food, making it a great choice for parents. dellaCroce often brings family lore into the mix, reminding readers that her knowledge comes from the source: Italians cooking authentic Italian food. Her latest is a keeper. Photos. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly )

From the Publisher

Spaghetti with Sauteed Radicchio

Serves 2 to 4

I corresponded with Paolo Lanapoppi, a Venetian writer and gondola restorer, for some time before I finally tracked him down in Venice. When we finally met, the radicchio of nearby Treviso was in full flower, and he cooked up this delightful homespun dish for lunch over talk of carnevale and gondolas. Paolo topped the pasta generously with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table, but it is equally delicious without the cheese.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced and then chopped
8 to 10 ounces radicchio, preferably the elongated Tardivo variety, cut into julienne and then roughly chopped
½ cup hot water
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¾ pound imported Italian spaghetti
2 tablespoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for serving

1. In an ample skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until nicely softened and lightly colored, about 6 minutes. Toss in the radicchio, and use a wooden spoon to coat it evenly in the olive oil. Add the water, continuing to toss. Cover and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the radicchio is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the sea salt, cover, and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot filled with water over high heat to a rolling boil. Stir in the pasta and kosher salt. Cook, always over the highest heat possible and stirring constantly to prevent the pasta strands from sticking together, until the spaghetti is almost cooked, about 6 minutes. Add a glass of cold water to the pot to arrest the boiling and drain immediately, setting aside about 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the spaghetti to the skillet, and return the heat to high. Use 2 long forks to distribute all the ingredients evenly, about 1 minute. If necessary, add a little of the pasta water to moisten so that everything mixes nicely together. Serve immediately with plenty of pepper and pass the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Kyle Books (November 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906868271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906868277
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.8 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Schmidt on November 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a gem. It is authentic and simple. I dream about the photos as I drift of to sleep at night. Seriously. I'm particularly taken with Julia's "Spaghetti with Sauteed Radicchio" and her "Zia Rita's Stuffed Beef Braciole". My sister-in-law recently recreated her "Nonna Giulia's Polenta Layer Cake with Meat Sauce" and I think it soothed her soul for the entire month. This book is a treasure trove of passed down, seductive Italian cooking that will please both the gourmands and the kids in your life. Brava!
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...but so many mistakes.

Every time I cook from this book I feel this satisfaction and a great desire to thank Ms. Della Croce. The recipes are so fantastic and so simple. I could not believe how good they turn out!

My only addition to some (well, many) recipes is the heat: one or two serranos. I like to make many recipes "angry," like her angry chicken or lobster. We love them this way. Our friends that were lucky to taste these recipes have bought this cookbook as well.

On a sad note, this book was printed in China. It was probably proofread in China. There are some mistakes, like absent references (you see XX instead of a page number). But they don't matter. I wish the book was not printed in China. Print it in Italy! They have printing presses, don't they?

Here are some of my adjustments to the recipes:
Carrots on p.164 (I am cooking them right now along with the oven-fried chicken): do not add water. It will not evaporate from a closed skillet in 30 min. And add vinegar after carrots caramelized. Otherwise your carrots won't look like the carrots in the photo.

Polenta meat cake (p. 104, made it yesterday): Triple the meat and double the cheese (there is just not enough for a recipe of polenta.) Cook polenta in a pressure cooker (Fissler!) for 15 min. Place half of polenta into an oiled baking dish and the second half onto a counter (or a smooth cutting board). Keep the baking dish and the cutting board side by side to make rectangles of polenta equal in size.

Nevertheless, there is always something from this book on our dining table: one, two, even three dishes at once. I LOVE these recipes!
Thank you, Thank you, Ms. Della Croce!!!!! You brought so much peace to my mind and comfort to our stomachs!
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This cookbook is a joy to look through. Tantalizing photos, beautifully designed. It's a great book to have. I've made the pizza/calzone dough recipe three times. It's the lightest, moistest, most delicious dough. While I give this book 5 stars, it's closer to 4.5. As beautiful as the book is and as delicious as everything is, some of the recipes seems to be missing some steps. For example, the pizza dough recipe tells you to combine water and yeast and set it aside. Then combine some other wet ingredients and set aside. And then the dry ingredients. Sunddenly, you are waiting for the dough to come together in the mixer. For the experienced cook or baker, it's easy enough to figure out what to do, but beginners or those who aren't sure of themselves in the kitchen might get confused. That aside, this is a great book the I highly recommend to everyone.
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... with great photos and interesting commentary about many of the recipes. More importantly all the recipes I've tried have been unique, fairly easy and have turned out great. I cook mostly Italian dishes and I've gotten rid of nearly all the cookbooks I've collected over the years except the few I consider to be indispensable. I might add this one to that select group.
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Julia della Croce is an award winning chef who has a master's grasp of the fine art of Italian cooking. She has a number of excellent recipe books out there already, and this one is fine addition to the library. If you like fine Italian food, then this is a book you should check out. It has lots of good, easy to make recipes

(Review of Italian Home Cooking by Julia della Croce)
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We eat with our eyes as well as our mouths and the photos here are wonderful, the kind that make you drool in anticipation of the first bite. Recipes are just good stuff, not fancy but healthy Italian cuisine.
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This book is what I call grandmother cooking at its best. It is pure comfort food. The photos are lovely, the recipes are unpretentious and simple and fairly easy to make even for inexperienced cooks. If you don't know much about Italian cooking, this book is a good way to start learning. Nothing revolutionary here, just wonderful home cooking.

If you can buy this book together with "Cooking with Italian Grandmothers" by Jessica Theroux.
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What a nice cookbook! Ms. della Croce has a relaxed and confident approach to her food, and you can tell its HER food. Lovely, honest stuff & great pictures too.
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