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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Move over, Tuscany! According to cookbook author and TV host Biba Caggiano, Emilia-Romagna deserves the food crown of Italy. This is the region that is home to prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar. It is also Biba's native region and the source of her culinary inspiration; her many fans will be delighted by this new collection.
Biba, who grew up in Bologna during World War II, has returned to the region many times since. She writes frankly about the often disappointing food now served to tourists in the large cities but has been delighted to find that in the smaller towns throughout the region, dedicated home cooks and cooks in the small trattorie are keeping alive the tradition of good food, simply prepared. These are the recipes that are at the heart of Biba's Taste of Italy. They include the stuffed pastas and ragùs that are the stars of Emilia, and the grilled meats and robust seafood dishes that are the trademarks of Romagna.
From antipasti to dolce, each recipe is prefaced with a note about its origin or a tip about its presentation. You will especially appreciate Biba's hints to the home cook in many of the recipes -- to pay attention at a particular stage in the recipe, or not to worry about a sauce's consistency, as it will be thinned down later on. (A cookbook that relieves anxiety as you try out a new recipe is always welcome!) This handsome volume concludes with notes on regional wines and a lengthy list of Biba's favorite restaurants, trattorie, and osterie in Emilia-Romagna. (Ginger Curwen)