From Publishers Weekly
When Criscuolo's grandmother came to America from Amalfi in Southern Italy, she brought a wealth of family recipes with her, which the author has prepared for her customers at Claire's Corner Copia restaurant in New Haven, Conn. It's a tribute to the variety of ingredients that one can read through dozens of dishes presented here before realizing that they are all meat-free. Making Italian-style vegetarian cooking alluring are appetizers such as White Bean and Mint Salad; pasta dishes like Linguine with Pumpkin Sauce; and entr?es such as Potato and Onion Frittata, Spinach Risotto and Pizza Amalfitan (rectangular, with fresh tomatoes and Parmesan cheese). There are chapters on stocking the pantry, planning menus and concocting festive desserts, with many hints along the way on using meat substitutes, cooking dried beans and preparing unusual vegetables (cippoline, broccoli rabe and squash blossoms, for example). Despite some deep-frying, dishes are generally light and often as simple as pasta tossed with olive oil, garlic and capers. Family reminiscences lend warmth, supporting Criscuolo's assertion that in her household "love was served on the platters."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Because of religious traditions that for many years mandated meatless Fridays, Italian cooking has always had an undercurrent of vegetarianism. Easy availability of fresh local produce in town markets only enhanced this tendency. Experienced cookbook author Criscuolo turns to recipes from her Italian-born grandmother for her newest vegetarian cookbook, and she turns out simple, attractive recipes that will delight anyone eager for Italian dishes without meat. Like all good Italian cooking, Criscuolo's recipes rely on the best ingredients, simply presented. She offers risotto prepared in the traditional manner but with broth made from spinach. Only a few recipes call for meat substitutes, but there is a profusion of cheese, whose sharp, distinctive pungencies are not readily duplicated by soy-based substitutes. Criscuolo's imaginative approach combined with Italian cooking's popularity makes this book a good selection. Mark Knoblauch