In Italy, eating is about much more than simple nourishment--it is a pastime, an art. Italians love to eat, and love even more to share with others the authentic dishes of their regions. Here, Maurizio Mazzon, executive chef of Il Fornaio's almost two dozen restaurants, indulges that cultural urge with a collection of his own favorite recipes gathered from all 20 regions of Italy. Not just another pasta book, this one offers unusual recipes that you won't likely find outside of Italy: Beet-Flavored Pasta Stuffed with a Ricotta-Beet Filling Topped with Brown Butter and Poppy Seeds, Eggplant-Potato Dumplings with a Tomato-Basil Sauce, and Pasta Stuffed with a Wild-Greens Filling and Topped with a Buttermilk Sauce, to name just a few. Mazzon also includes simple yet elegant versions of classics found in Italian restaurants throughout the U.S., such as Spaghettini with Tomato-Basil Sauce, Prawns and Pasta Ribbons with Pesto, and Buccatini alla Carbonara. Many of the recipes are quite complicated, but the elegant results are well worth the effort. One of Mazzon's favorite Italian proverbs says, "When the stomach is full, the heart is happy." If this is true, Mazzon's book is sure to leave a trail of happy hearts. --Robin Donovan
From Publishers Weekly
Mazzon, who oversees the chefs and kitchens for the high-end California chain Il Fornaio, hails from the Veneto region of Italy, and his bias is obvious in this charming if slightly uneven roundup of regional pasta specialties. While some regions, such as Molise and Abruzzo, are all but ignored here, there are eight recipes offered from the Veneto. Still, it's hard to complain when the area is home to such delicious specialties as Potato Dumplings with Calamari and Radicchio, or Thin Pasta Strands in Tomato-Anchovy Sauce. Mazzon hasn't missed any of the big, familiar dishes here: there is Butternut Squash Pasta Filled with a Butternut Squash, Parmesan and Walnut Filling from the Emilia-Romagna region; and Cauliflower, Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts Tossed with Small Pasta Tubes from Sicily. Other treats include the Umbrian Pasta Strands with Black Truffle Sauce and the Small Pasta Tubes and Lamb Sauce with Aged Ricotta from Basilicata. A number of more challenging recipes namely those that call for making pasta from scratch, including one for Sardegna's saffron-tinged malloreddus dumplings and a few original presentations, like Prawns and Pasta Ribbons with Parsley Pesto (served in a hollowed-out lemon), lift this book above its peers. Some readers may be irritated by the book's insistence on translating pasta names into English (is there anyone left in America who needs "spaghetti" translated as "pasta strands"?), but the dishes themselves look irresistible, thanks to the sumptuous photo illustrations.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.