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Ciao Italia - Bringing Italy Home: Regional Recipes, Flavors, and Traditions as Seen on the Public Television Series Ciao Italia
     

Ciao Italia - Bringing Italy Home: Regional Recipes, Flavors, and Traditions as Seen on the Public Television Series Ciao Italia

by Mary Ann Esposito
 

With a loyal viewership in the millions, ten successful seasons on PBS, and five immensely popular cookbooks to her name, Mary Ann Esposito is America's favorite Italian cook. A former school teacher who studied with chefs across Italy before posing the idea for "Ciao Italia" to her local public television station, Esposito brings traditional Italian cooking to

Overview

With a loyal viewership in the millions, ten successful seasons on PBS, and five immensely popular cookbooks to her name, Mary Ann Esposito is America's favorite Italian cook. A former school teacher who studied with chefs across Italy before posing the idea for "Ciao Italia" to her local public television station, Esposito brings traditional Italian cooking to life with her down-to-earth approach, warm personality, and good humor.

Ciao Italia—Bringing Italy Home ties in with the show's eleventh season, which will air on more than 150 public television stations across the country. The series—and the book—will take fans on a culinary tour of Italy, region by region, with all-new recipes, personal reflections, and Mary Ann's unique warmth and style. Chapters cover the Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Campania, and Sicily; also featured—and never before published anywhere—are viewers' most-requested recipes, and specialties made by guest chefs on the program.

TV chefs come and go, but Mary Ann Esposito has established herself as a standard bearer who appeals to every segment of the American public—men and women, adults and children, seasoned cooks as well as novices. Join her "nella cucina" (in the kitchen) for her most exciting and ambitious cookbook yet—a mouth-watering tribute to her ancestral home, her loyal viewers, and the amazing gift of great Italian food.

Editorial Reviews

Mario Batali
Ciao Italia is authentic and entertaining, like a great Italian meal, prepared for and eaten with friends and family. —Host of "Molto Mario"
Jacques Pepin
Her food will warm the heart as well as the belly of those who prepare it. —Host of "Jacques Pepin's Kitchen"
Arthur Schwartz
I truly can't wait to put on an apron and cook. —author of Naples at Table and the host of "Food Talk" on WOR radio New York
Martin Yan
Another great cookbook from Mary Ann Esposito? Now why am I not surprised?...Brava, Mary Ann! Bravíssima!. —Host of "Yan Can Cook"
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her newest cookbook, the host of the PBS series Ciao Italia continues to share the breadth and simplicity of authentic Italian cuisine made from fresh, seasonal ingredients, with a focus this time on regional specialties, highlighting the distinctive foods of Southern, Central and Northern Italy and their origins. (For example, according to Esposito, there are no olive trees in Venice, because the area lacks sunshine; therefore, Venetians substitute butter for olive oil in many of their recipes.) These 130 new recipes, which she is promoting concurrently on her TV show, are, for the most part, rustic and unpretentious: foods eaten by real families as part of their daily lives, such as the Venetian dishes Tortellini di Zucca con Rag (Pumpkin-Stuffed Pasta with Meat Sauce) and Cappone Agrodolce (Capon with Sweet-and-Sour Sauce). Yet, at the same time, the recipes have an elegance and complexity of flavor that belie their origin. Scaloppine al Limone e Capperi (Veal Cutlets with Lemon and Caper Sauce) has flavors that are clean and clear; Tuscan Zuppa di Funghi (Mushroom Soup) is concentrated and rich; and Sicilian Biscottini di Vino (Little Wine Cookies) make an unusual and sumptuous accompaniment to a glass of red wine. Fans of her earlier books (Nella Cucina, etc.) and TV series will welcome Esposito's travel stories, family memories and tips, which infuse the recipes with a warm and personal touch. Similar in many ways to her earlier books, Esposito's new offering should appeal to Italian-Americans in search of the traditional foods and flavors of their ancestors. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Ciao Italia, Esposito's PBS series, has been on the air for ten years, and this is her sixth cookbook. While her earliest books were about Italian American cooking, this one focuses on regional Italian fare, specifically that of the Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Campania, and Sicily. There is also a chapter of favorite recipes requested by viewers and another of dishes inspired by her husband's garden. Esposito has many fans, recommending this book for most collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312280581
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
05/28/2001
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.24(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Pescespada con Spaghetti, Salsa di Pomodori ed'Olive (Swordfish with Spaghetti, Tomato Sauce, and Olives)

Serves 4 to 6

This recipe for swordfish with spaghetti and tomato sauce is one that I enjoyed in Mondello, a Sicilian seaside community near Palermo. It is easy to put together if you have homemade tomato sauce on hand. Whenever I serve it to company, the response is "I never thought to cook swordfish with tomato sauce and spaghetti." Be sure to use fresh swordfish and do not overcook it.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound swordfish, in one piece
1 pound spaghetti
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 cups prepared tomato sauce, preferably homemade
1/4 cup reserved cooking water
16 black oil—cured olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

Heat the olive oil until it begins to smoke, then lower the heat to medium and cook the swordfish, turning it once. It is cooked when a fork is easily inserted into the fish.

Transfer the fish to a cutting board and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. With a knife remove the skin and discard it. Cut the fish into 1/2—inch cubes. Set aside.

Cook the spaghetti in 4 to 6 quarts of rapidly boiling water with 1 tablespoon of the salt. The spaghetti is done when there is no white flour remaining in the center of a strand. It should be firm—al dente—but cooked throughout.

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the tomato sauce in a saucepan and keep it warm.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Return the spaghetti to the cooking pot with the reserved water and the tomato sauce. Mix quickly over low heat. Add the swordfish pieces and stir gently for 1 minute. Stir in the olives and the remaining salt.

Transfer the mixture to a serving platter and serve at once. A few whole olives and a sprig of fresh basil make a nice garnish.

Riso del Mezzogiorno al Mario (Mario's Mezzogiorno Rice)

Serves 4

Fellow chef Mario Ragni, who makes his home in Umbria, loves to experiment with regional flavors. Here he combines the lively flavors of the Mezzogiorno (southern Italy) with traditional northern ingredients of butter and cream to create an earthy sauce for boiled Arborio rice, which is used for making risotto. This short—grain, starchy rice can be found on grocery store shelves or in Italian specialty stores or can be ordered by mail (see page347).

3 tablespoons extra—virgin olive oil
l small hot red pepper, minced
1 large red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into strips
3 anchovies in salt, rinsed
6 oil—cured green olives, pitted
6 oil—cured black olives, pitted
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers in brine, rinsed
1 tablespoon butter
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Arborio rice

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan, then add the hot pepper, sweet pepper strips, anchovies, and green and black olives. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the pepper strips begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and capers and cook together until the peppers are very soft. Cool the mixture slightly, then transfer it to a food processor. Pulse to make a smooth puree. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover, and set aside.

Melt the butter in the same saute pan and stir in the mushrooms. Saute them until they no longer give off any water but are not brown. Stir in the heavy cream and the reserved pepper sauce. Keep the sauce warm and covered while the rice is cooking.

Cook the rice in 3 cups of water until it is al dente and has absorbed most of the water. Drain the rice in a colander and add it to the warm sauce. Stir to blend the mixture thoroughly. Serve immediately.

What People are Saying About This

Arthur Schwartz
It is from great colleagues like Mary Ann Esposito that I can learn something new every time I step into my kitchen. She is an indefatigable culinary scout, an acute observer of foodways, and in her newest book she offers so many little-known and scrumptious-sounding Italian regional treasures that I truly can't wait to put on an apron and cook, not to mention sit down with my family and friends and eat.
—(Arthur Schwartz, author of Naples at Table and the host of "Food Talk" on WOR radio New York)
Mario Batali
Mary Ann Esposito has been a pioneer in the world of cooking shows. Ciao Italia is authentic and entertaining, like a great Italian meal, prepared for and eaten with friends and family.
—(Mario Batali, author of Simple Italian Food and Holiday Food, and host of "Molto Mario")
Martin Yan
Another great cookbook from Mary Ann Esposito? Now why am I not surprised? One of these days she may even convince me that noodles actually come from Italy, and not China. Brava, Mary Ann! Brav�ssima!
—(Martin Yan, author of Martin Yan's Invitation to Chinese Cooking and Chinese Cooking for Dummies, and host of "Yan Can Cook"
Jacques Pepin
Real Italian Food comes from the home, and Mary Ann Esposito invites us to accompany her on a journey through the authentic home cooking of her favorite regions of Italy. Her food will warm the heart as well as the belly of those who prepare it.
—(Jacques Pepin, author of Jacques Pepin's La Technique Complete and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, and host of "Jacques Pepin's Kitchen")

Meet the Author

Mary Ann Esposito is the author of five previous cookbooks, which have sold more than 400,000 hardcover copies combined. She lives in Durham, New Hampshire.

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