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Italy, The Beautiful Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from the Regions of Italy Hardcover – November 7, 1989

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lorenza de Medici has published more than 30 cookbooks. She has appeared in a 13-part series on Italian cooking for public television and conducts a cooking school at Badia a Coltibuono, an 11th-century estate and winery near the Chianti region of Tuscany. She divides her time between Milan and Badia a Coltibuono.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Marinated Swordfish (Teglia di Pesce Spada)

Serves 6

Swordflsh is one of the most common Sicilian fish. It is mainly caught in the channel that divides Sicily from Africa, and is sold fresh in the markets in autumn and winter. The fish is often grilled and served with oil, lemon juice and capers, which grow wild on the island and are preserved in salt.

6 swordfish steaks (tuna fish or snapper cutlets), about 7oz (220g) each
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) dry white wine
1 fresh rosemary sprig
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
juice of 1 lemon

Place the swordfish steaks in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and add to fish with the garlic. Coat steaks well and marinate for at least 1 hour.

Drain fish, reserving marinade. Brush a skillet with a little of the oil and heat it. Sprinkle fish with breadcrumbs and capers, add to skillet and cook on both sides until nearly cooked through, basting from time to time with marinade.

Whisk the rest of the oil with the lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour over the fish and cook for a few more minutes. Serve hot.

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Tuscan Trifle (Tiramisu)

Serves 6

Tiramisu ("pick me up") is a modern version of a dessert first created in Siena, where it was called zuppa del Duca (the Duke's soup!). From there it migrated to Florence, where it became very popular in the nineteenth century among the many English people who came to live in the city at that time. And so it was called zuppa inglese--English soup. Only recently, the same dessert with some variation--chiefly the substitution of rich mascarpone cheese for the original custard--has come to be called tiramisu.

3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons superfine (caster) sugar
1 1/3 cups (11 fl oz/330 ml) vin santo, Marsala or brandy
1/4 cup (2floz/60ml) very strong espresso coffee
8 oz (250g) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) cream
1 egg white
4 oz (125 g) savoiardi or ladyfingers (sponge fingers)

Make a zabaglione by beating the egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler until ivory colored. Add 1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80 ml) liquor and whisk over gently simmering water until the mixture begins to thicken. Let cool.

Stir the coffee into the mascarpone. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Beat the egg white until stiff. Fold the egg white into the zabaglione. Dip the lady fingers into the remaining liquor and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of a 9-in (23-cm) bowl. Cover them with half the mascarpone, then half the zabaglione and half the cream. Repeat the layers, finishing with the cream. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; Collins Edition edition (November 7, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002154463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002154468
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.2 x 14 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A serious student of cooking that has been perfecting her skills over the last 25 years writes this review. I have traveled to Italy multiple times, and have spent the last 10 years perfecting my Italian cooking skills. This book is part of my collection of cookbooks that now exceed 500. I am a tough critic on Italian cookbooks. However, this book is worthy is a good review.

This book is part photographic essay of Italian food and travel and part cookbook. The author writes a brief history of each region's food history in the chapters about the various regions. In the regional descriptions she tells you about the terrain of the area, the basic diet, and the various dishes that are classic to the regions.

The book is subdivided as follows:
1. Nord-Ovest: Lombardi, Piemonte, Val d'Aosta, Liguria (Region 1)
2. Antipasti: Appetizers
3. Nord-Est: Veneto, Fruili-Venezia Guilia, Trentino-Alto Adige (Region 2)
4. Primi: First courses
5. Centro: Toscana, Lazio, Umbria, Marche, Emilia-Romagna (Region 3)
6. Secondi: Main Courses
7. Sud: Campania, Abruzzi, Molise, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria (Region 4)
8. Verdure: Vegetables
9. Grandi Isole: Sicilia and Sardegna (Region 5)
10. Dolci: Desserts

The recipes are all authentic, and very succinctly written. The directions are easy to follow. Some of the recipes (stuffed pastas) are a little advanced for the average cook. However, with patience and practice all of them are possible. Most (approx. 90%) of the recipes have photographs of the finished dishes included in the book.

The book is well constructed, the spine is stiff and heavy, and the paper stock is thick and glossy.

If you love Italy, or Italy food and/or cooking this is a beautiful book to add to your library.
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Format: Hardcover
Italy the beautiful contains all of the classic Italian recipes. They are concise and easy to follow and written with Americans in mind. Everything I've cooked from vegatables to major main courses are delicious and maybe more importantly, the dishes look like the photographs!
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Format: Hardcover
ITALY: THE BEAUTIFUL COOKBOOK is just that - a book brimming with known dishes and as well as rarities from throughout Italy presented in a format so well designed, filled with excellent photography, and thorough information about the country that it could rest as comfortably on the traveler's coffee table as in the gourmet's kitchen.

Lorenza De'Medici takes the reader on an insider's tour of Italy with readable maps, stunning photographs of each region, information about the peculiar characteristics of the regions that inform the recipes, and then gives some of the finest recipes you'll likely to encounter for dishes both simple and complex.

As with the best of cookbooks this one contains images that show how the result of the time spent in the kitchen will look. De'Medici writes with candor and in a relaxed inviting style. This survey of Italian culinary arts and the historic background that accompanies them is as fine as any similar book on the market. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, December 05
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Format: Hardcover
I brought this book some years ago and have continued to enjoy using the book as much for recepies as for the images of Italy provided. In the introduction there is a short history of eating habits and how they evolved in Italy. A lovely map also is provided so you can see where the areas spoken about actually lie in the country. From here each section has a short introduction to the region and then the recepies follow. I have found the meals easy to make and yummy to eat. The accompaning photos are just wonderful, as they give a glimspe of Italy and stimulate the taste buds as well. Since travelling to Italy I have come to appreciate this book even more.
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Format: Hardcover
While in Italy this summer, we found this cookbook in the country home where we were staying. Not only did it have interesting history about the different regions of Italy, it had recipes for foods from all regions, and for all courses. The recipes were not particularly difficult, and were so distinctively Italian. I have several cookbooks featuring Italian recipes, but this one IS Italian! Fortunately, the markets in italy were able to provide all the ingredients we needed. When we returned, I ordered the book both for its beauty and for its different recipes. It is always a treat to select a recipe, prepare it, and then best of all, enjoy it! Brings back many memories of our wonderful summer.
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Format: Hardcover
This oversized book is full of beautiful photographs. Each recipe is accompanied by a large color photograph, as well as its region of origin and Italian and English names. Italian cuisine is explored by region, with spectacular photos and an engaging essay on the cuisine of each of the following regions: il Nord-Ovest, il Nord-Est, il Centro, il Sud, e le Grandi Isole. This is a cookbook not only to use in the kitchen, but also to peruse for an enjoyable view of Italian landscapes and a taste of Italian culinary history and regional cuisine.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is all you may need to not only prepare fantastic regional dishes but at the same time experience the sheer beauty of Italy almost as if you're there. A must for anyone who is serious about creating wonderful Italian meals.The photographs alone are worth the price of the book!
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