by Mary Beth Clark, Peter Johnson
Part of a series launch, this celebration of Italian-style comfort food offers a sophisticated range of recipes from Bocconcini Salad to Sweet Gorgonzola with Baked Figs and Honey. Aiming to highlight straightforward, uncomplicated flavors, the recipes are comparably direct. Penne with Arugula in Tomato Cream Sauce is a quick first course; Eggplant and Walnut Ravioli in Tomato-Pesto Sauce (made with one’s own pasta dough, for which a recipe is included, or with purchased fresh pasta sheets) and Spinach Gnocchi in Gorgonzola Cream Sauce will require more time. Such main courses as Duck with Vin Santo and Monkfish with Potatoes and Artichokes are, like most of the dishes throughout, for home-style Italian cuisine, not a hybrid American-Italian fare. While a considerable number of recipes call for heavy cream in substantial quantities, there is plenty here for those who hope to cook low-fat Italian food. Each recipe is faced by a full-page color photo; a discussion of wines and a glossary are also included.