The Splendid Table

by Lynne R. Kasper (Author), Louis B Wallach Inc. (Author)

This collection of recipes, history, food and folklore–surrendered by a tiny yet culinarily fertile region of Italy–was ably amassed by cooking teacher and writer Kasper. Even people “with only a passing interest in food” are likely to “recognize . . . this region’s products.” Among them are: Balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and prosciutto di Parma. Northern Italy is also where the renowned rich Ragu Bolognese comes from; Kasper includes both a historical and a modern version, as well as a selection of kindred sauces, such as game ragu and an unusual ragu of giblets. She pays homage to recipes ranging from the 16th century (rosewater maccheroni Romanesca) to the 18th (a Cardinal’s favorite baked penne), but pays equal and fascinating attention to modern inventions: tagliatelle with carmelized onions and fresh herbs, and a lasagna of wild and fresh mushrooms. Nor does Kasper omit recipes incorporating the most famous native products. Balsamic roast chicken and sweet peas with prosciutto di Parma is an outstanding example. Rounding out various virtues are easy rules of thumb for making fresh pasta and a reliable guide to ingredients