by A. J. Battifarano, Editors of Time Life Books (Editor), Alan Richardson
The Four Seasons of Italian Cooking is a handsome reminder of the simplicity and splendor of rustic Italian food. To demonstrate the regional nature of Italian cooking, A.J. Battifarano traveled around Italy and met with fascinating characters in Tuscany, Umbria, the Piedmont, Lombardy, Campania, and Apulia. In each region, we learn the story of families and individuals involved in the food industry, perhaps as a farmer or as the owner of an inn or restaurant. Meet Franco and Esther Carnero, a couple who restored an old house in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, developed a vineyard and garden, and then opened a small inn. Here Esther serves dishes based on old, local recipes (which she shares with us), including roast veal accompanied by a sweet red pepper and fig sauce, and a hazelnut cake made with the locally grown crop of nuts. Throughout this Italian adventure, we are introduced to satisfying, yet simple to prepare, dishes. Misticanza is a splendid example–a dish of dark leafy greens, just boiled and simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice. In addition to 125 charming recipes, and personal narratives, Battifarano also presents expert advice for storing and preparing fruits and vegetables from the four seasons. In true Italian fashion, it is the flavor of each ingredient that matters. This means the freshest ingredients are required for reproducing the profoundly satisfying flavors of Italy’s farmhouse cooking.