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Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes Hardcover – February 22, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
With its cover image of the fetching de Laurentiis wearing a low-cut top and its promise of easy, tasty Italian recipes, this cookbook is sure to draw in home cooks who don't know how to make a basic marinara sauce and want to be introduced them to the beauty and simplicity of Italian cuisine. Which is, of course, a good thing, but a shame, too, since this work lacks depth or meaning. Readers seeking a true introduction to the building blocks of Italian cooking would be worlds better off with one of Marcella Hazan's or Lidia Bastianich's early primers. What those who are lured in by the good looks and charm of de Laurentiis (granddaughter of film producer Dino and star of Food Network's Everyday Italian) will get is an unsophisticated but decent selection of Italian-American classics, from antipasto to pasta, meat dishes to desserts, including Clams Oreganata, Caprese Salad, Salsa all'Amatriciana, Fettucine Alfredo, Veal Marsala, Caponata and Chocolate Tiramisù. De Laurentiis provides an introduction to each dish, and her recipes are generally minimalist (there are no recipes for homemade pastas or stews that take a day to make). Though bursting with glamorous shots of a lovely looking author, this is a rather flat first effort.
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From the Inside Flap
In her hit Food Network show "Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis shows you how to cook delicious, beautiful food in a flash. And here, in her long-awaited first book, she does the same--helps you put a fabulous dinner on the table tonight, for friends or just for the kids, with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of flavor. She makes it all look easy, because it is.
"Everyday Italian is true to its title: the fresh, simple recipes are incredibly quick and accessible, and also utterly mouth-watering--perfect for everyday cooking. And the book is focused on the real-life considerations of what you actually have in your refrigerator and pantry (no mail-order ingredients here) and what you're in the mood for--whether a simply sauced pasta or a hearty family-friendly roast, these great recipes cover every contingency. So, for example, you'll find dishes that you can make solely from pantry ingredients, or those that transform lowly leftovers into exquisite entrees (including brilliant ideas for leftover pasta), and those that satisfy your yearning to have something sweet baking in the oven. There are 7 ways to make red sauce more interesting, 6 different preparations of the classic cutlet, 5 perfect pestos, 4 creative uses for prosciutto, 3 variations on basic polenta, 2 great steaks, and 1 sublime chocolate tiramisu--plus 100 other recipes that turn everyday ingredients into speedy but special dinners.
What's more, "Everyday Italian is organized according to what type of food you want tonight--whether a soul-warming stew for Sunday supper, a quick saute for a weeknight, or a baked pasta for potluck. These categories will help you figure out what to cook in an instant, with suchchoices as fresh-from-the-pantry appetizers, sauceless pastas, everyday roasts, and stuffed vegetables--whatever you're in the mood for, you'll be able to find a simple, delicious recipe for it here. That's the beauty of Italian home cooking, and that's what Giada De Laurentiis offers here--the essential recipes to make a great Italian dinner. Tonight.
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Top customer reviews
1) Classic Italian Lasagne - Terrific! The kids had seconds, so I love that there's two blocks of spinach in there!
2) Manicotti - Yum! And her method's easy peasy.
3) Roasted Bell Pepper Salad - p52. This salad is amazing! So wonderfully flavorful!
4) Roasted Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto - p47. Delicious and quick to pull together.
**Her flavors are understated. I double the garlic in all of it. --Except the pepper salad. That's strongly flavored!
The book's downfall (and the reason for my 3-star rating) is in the design and layout. Though the book is printed in a sans serif font with decent use of white space, as another reviewer indicated, some of the recipes are printed in reverse or in very light colors, such as white on light green or light green on white, making them difficult to read and making it hard to keep your place while cooking. For anyone with low vision, the recipes on these particular pages will be totally inaccessible. Fortunately, a majority of the book contains somewhat better contrast, though still it is gray on white, not black and white.
The glossy cookbook does not lack for photos--unfortunately, very few are of food and even fewer are of the dishes themselves. That would be the food dishes, not the dishy cook. Of De Laurentiis, photos are plentiful. Some photos are your typical, glamorous, "My dentist loves me" vogue shots but much of the photography has an odd, voyeuristic quality that one would not anticipate in a cookbook. The style makes the book feel a little obsessive and frankly a little creepy. De Laurentiis' B-movie, 'What's that noise behind me?' pose on page 237 made me wonder if that's what Nancy Drew looks like in the kitchen.
Recipes, thumbs up. Book design and photography, thumbs down.