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36 Reviews
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally: Italy is in my hands!
Since I returned from a trip to Italy a year ago, I have sought high and low for a cookbook that would put Italy into my hands as it was when I was there. This is that book! I've had it two weeks and used it six times already.

I learned in Italy that there is Italian food, and then there is American Italian food (think "Olive Garden" chain restaurant). A true...
Published on March 16, 2002 by Tana Butler

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
There is certainly nothing wrong with this book. The recipes are simple enough, produce generally good results and the instructions are clear. It isn't too chatty and most of the pages are dedicated to actual food and cooking. So as I said there is nothing wrong with this book.

Unfortunatly there is nothing really great about it either. All the recipes are...
Published on January 10, 2008 by DW


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the Ragu Recipe, January 12, 2009
This review is from: Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy (Paperback)
I lived in Italy for more than a dozen years, and Trattoria is the cookbook I most often give as a gift. Its great draw is speed and simplicity. That said, one must beware of Wells' recipe for Ragu. She uses 46 oounces of crushed tomatoes for less than a pound of meat and wants us to believe this concoction will be ready in 20 minutes. Huh? No way! Otherwise, the book's terrific, especially for beginning cooks.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Italian "Bistro Cooking", October 19, 2009
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This review is from: Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy (Paperback)
I am a fan of Patricia Wells, but let me state upfront that this is not the Italian version of "Bistro Cooking," although I believe it was intended to be.

I bought this cookbook after having owned and used Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking for several years. I was hoping this book would be the Italian equivalent of the aforementioned award-winning French cookbook that is so widely loved, but I was disappointed to find that it was not. Trattoria pales by comparison.

Patricia Wells is an accomplished food writer and cook. However, it is French, not Italian, food that is her passion and her life's work. Publishing a book on Italian cooking appears to be something that she wanted to try her hand at as opposed to something that she knew she would excel at.

Italy is next door to where Wells and her husband live and work and Wells herself is part Italian. So after the enormous success she enjoyed with Bistro Cooking and her love of small, family restaurants, Trattoria was probably inevitable. But it is hard to understand why someone would reach for Trattoria when there are so many other great Italian cookbooks available that have been penned by people who are recognized authorities on the subject, such as Marcella Hazan or Biba Caggiano.

Examples of why Trattoria might not be the best choice: Some of Wells' recipes read like her recipes in Bistro Cooking, such as Wells' Chicken Cacciatore recipe. Exact same process as with most of Wells' chicken fricassee recipes in Bistro, just lots of tomatoes thown in to make it "Italian." I admit to not having made Wells' recipe for Chicken Cacciatore; however, I have made Marcella Hazan's Chicken Cacciatore New Version and can tell you it is so good it is drinkable and it is hard to imagine any other recipe for this dish that could top it. Hazan generally advises to saute onion first, and then garlic because garlic cooks faster than onion. Wells tells you to put them both in the pan at the same time. This is not to say that the dishes in Trattoria are not good, but if you care about authenticity, why not rely on the wisdom of a cook who has made Italian cooking their life's work than to take your chances with someone who only dabbles in it?

Compared to Bistro Cooking, I found Trattoria to be sparse. The former is crammed full of every delectable tidbit imaginable and is brimming with Wells' enthusiasm and passion for the French people and their food. The latter looks, frankly, like a barebones project.

Assuming at this point that I have persuaded you to pass on Trattoria, but you're still in the market for an Italian cookbook with a casual feel and a friendly personality, Modern Italian Cooking by Biba Caggiano or Rao's Cookbook: Over 100 Years of Italian Home Cooking by Frank Pellegrino come highly recommended by this reviewer. Both are loaded with delicious and authentic Italian recipes to make for your family and friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, flavorful food, March 16, 2005
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This review is from: Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy (Paperback)
You can't go wrong with this cookbook. The dishes are simple to prepare and the flavor is divine. The pasta with vodka sauce is to die for. I got it as a gift from a friend and we were recently commenting on how this book gets used more than many others. Simple, fresh, flavorful food. YUM!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delizioso, December 29, 1999
By 
Paula (Boston, MA) - See all my reviews
I was given this book as a gift several years ago. I've mostly made the deserts, which alone make the book worth getting. My family requests the biscotti every Christmas, and the lemon rice cake is wonderful. So is the fragrant orange and lemon cake.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple but elegant Italian cooking, December 16, 1999
By A Customer
This book features an excellent range of homey Italian dishes. The recipes for vodka pasta, eggplant parmesan, and saffron butterflies are all favorites in our house. The author's explanations of ingredients are very helpful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My go to Italian Cookbook, July 22, 2010
By 
C. Blum (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy (Paperback)
What can I say, I love Patricia Wells!

I have cooked 80% of the recipes in this book in the last two years. Every recipe is wonderful and easy. I recommend this book to my friends who are just getting into cooking and my seasoned home chef friends. I had to purchase a new copy recently because my previous version was so worn that pages were falling out. The other thing about this book, it is authentic Italian food, not the American version of Italian food.
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5.0 out of 5 stars patricia wells in Italy??, April 24, 2010
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This review is from: Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy (Paperback)
Everything Patricia does fro Provencal food she does for Italian trattoria fare. I always know her recipes will work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Simple Meals, September 10, 2009
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This review is from: Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy (Paperback)
Lots of the recipes are easy and quick, which is great for week night meals after work. I really like the Speedy Lasagne, but I haven't had a chance to try the longer meals yet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a lovely book!, January 12, 2009
This review is from: Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy (Paperback)
I've loved this book ever since I got it almost a decade ago. The recipes-- many vegetarian-- are a delight, and among them, the simple tomato sauce is a family favorite. The prezzemolo can't be beat, and what I especially appreciate is Wells' non-fussy approach to lovely, delicious Italian food that those of us not living in those sunny climes, can make in our relatively pallid kitchens. I've given this book to friends in Singapore, in Delhi, and in Bombay and they all love it. Oh and her white bean salad has been adapted a million different ways in my house and is supremely satisfying after years. Enjoy! (The book is a special treat after using -- and ignoring-- fussy and pretentious Marcella. Wells got to my speed at first shot, and this book has been a keeper ever since. She's relaxed in her approach and more a companion than teacher in this delightfully useful volume for all those who have busy lives but still insist that cooking good food needn't be an all-consuming chore. Buon appetito!)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Patricia Wells' Trattoria, February 13, 2008
This review is from: Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy (Paperback)
This is an excellent, clear, easy to follow collection of Italian recipes. Every process has a reason and thorough instructions. In the first week, I created three lovely meals from this book. Fresh flavors for our meals! Wonderful!
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Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy
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