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    Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Italian

    Italian Classics (The Best Recipe Series)

    Magazine, Editors of Cook's Illustrated

    Boston Common Press
    Published: September 15, 2002
    ISBN: 0936184582

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    Book Description
    The Best Recipe series from Cook's Illustrated magazine goes from strength to strength. With its formula of exhaustively tested recipes paired with heavily illustrated techniques, the series makes it easy for even beginning cooks to produce successful dishes almost every time. For the casual home cook, Italian Classics might be the single best Italian cookbook to own. The book is, in classic Best Recipe fashion, a great big beautiful doorstop of a thing. Even so, it's not crammed with arcana. For most Americans--who in survey after survey say that regional Italian is the cuisine they most enjoy cooking at home--the recipes here will be pretty familiar; the space is devoted not to obscure dishes but to exhaustive treatments of favorites. Pesto, for instance, gets about three pages. You end up with a delicious, perfectly prepared basil paste, and along the way you learn how to bruise herb leaves, you get a treatise on why a garlic press isn't such a bad thing (despite what the professionals say), and finally, you are led into the intriguing territory of nonbasil pestos such as Toasted Nut and Parsley, and Arugula and Ricotta. All the classics are here, from red-checkered-tablecloth dishes like Spaghetti and Meatballs to regional dishes like Ribollita. Throughout, there's a nice balance between authenticity and accessibility. The book doesn't call for wildly obscure ingredients that other cookbook authors so often claim can be readily found at "specialty stores," and there's no snobbishly overwrought preparation--another boon for the home cook. --Claire Dederer

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