Foods of Sicily and Sardinia and the Smaller Islands


In paperback for the first time, this gloriously illustrated culinary tour through the islands of Southern Italy is a real delight. The extraordinarily talented Giuliano Bugialli delights us with recipes, anecdotes and history of the food of this storied region. With direct lineage from ancient times, the food of Sicily and Sardinia, and their small neighbors Elba, Giglio, Capri, and Ischia is a study of history itself. Beautifully photographed on location, delicious regional dishes are framed with a rich visual ...
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In paperback for the first time, this gloriously illustrated culinary tour through the islands of Southern Italy is a real delight. The extraordinarily talented Giuliano Bugialli delights us with recipes, anecdotes and history of the food of this storied region. With direct lineage from ancient times, the food of Sicily and Sardinia, and their small neighbors Elba, Giglio, Capri, and Ischia is a study of history itself. Beautifully photographed on location, delicious regional dishes are framed with a rich visual background of ancient ruins, old cities, and rugged landscapes. Special picture stories highlight the culture of the islands: the Vucciria, Palermo's raucous food market, tuna fishermen plying the Sicilian coast, baking of Carta da Musica, a bread enjoyed over the centuries, and the traditional brick oven.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Cooking Class with Giuliano Bugialli

Giuliano Bugialli is one of the world's foremost experts on the food of Italy. A scholar whose depth of knowledge about his country's cuisine comes from poring over ancient manuscripts looking for references to food as well as from talking, cooking, and eating with home cooks from all over Italy, Bugialli is a teacher par excellence. He came to the New York cooking school De Gustibus at Macy's to give a special class last spring, in which he demonstrated brand-new recipes from various regions of Italy. Speaking in a charmingly thick Italian accent, Bugialli was by turns funny, intense, and imperious as he shared his wisdom on cooking authentic dishes with the very best ingredients.

About Giuliano Bugialli

In 1973, Giuliano Bugialli founded the first English-language cooking school in Italy, and today Giuliano Bugialli's Cooking in Florence is one of the best-known cooking schools in the world. Students in several different programs learn hands-on cooking techniques in the modern kitchen of a centuries-old farmhouse just outside the city, eat specially prepared meals, and meet chefs in restaurants around Tuscany, or travel through other regions eating and visiting artisans like cheese producers and pasta makers. Bugialli still teaches all the classes personally, and he warmly greeted several attendees of his De Gustibus class who had visited the Florence school.

As well-known as the cooking school is, it's Bugialli's many cookbooks that have established him as an authority on Italian cuisine. He does painstaking research for each one, delving into family archives, tracking down early printed cookbooks, and talking to home cooks. His mastery of the history of the food of Italy is obvious, as is his fascination with it: "You can reconstruct a dish from a description in an old manuscript," he says. "You know that food was perishable, that people had to do all the shopping the same day, so you also learn what was available when. You can learn so much about the culture, about the lives people led."

His first book, The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, is an acknowledged classic, with menus and recipes from different parts of the country. It's particularly strong on bread-making, sauces, and desserts.

The cuisine of particular regions has been the focus of Bugialli's recent books. The Foods of Tuscany explores the wonderful and complex food of Bugialli's native region through authentic dishes and beautiful photographs, and includes absorbing descriptions of the origins of recipes and common variations on them.

His latest, The Foods of Sicily & Sardinia and the Smaller Islands was nominated for this year's James Beard Award for best Italian cookbook. As De Gustibus director Arlene Feltman Sailhac said, "I didn't think I needed another cookbook in the world until I saw this one." Recipes from coastal areas feature the freshest seafood; meats and cheeses figure in inland dishes; and wonderful herbs, vegetables, spices, and breads are used throughout. Stunning photographs of the area's landscape, people, festivals, and markets are interspersed with pictures of the beautifully presented food.

About the Menu

Bugialli began the class with a simple but very flavorful carrot salad. The carrots were boiled until tender but not mushy, then sliced and combined with leaves of Italian parsley, capers, garlic, olive oil, and delicate little slices of whole lemon, rind and all. I thought the lemon slices would taste bitter, but in fact they were delicious and refreshing in combination with the other ingredients, and lent the salad a special punch. Next came a wonderful, long-simmered dish of white beans, chard, and shrimp -- simple ingredients, cooked to perfection, that combined to make a dish more impressive than the sum of its parts. A light and tangy Italian Pinot Grigio, from the Pighin vineyard, went perfectly with both dishes.

Bugialli introduced the main dish, Pasta nell'Alveare (Fresh Spaghetti Baked in a Beehive of Pasta), by saying that he had won a fight with Arlene Feltman Sailhac over whether or not to demonstrate it. "She thought it was too difficult and complicated, but I think you can do it," he said, laughing. He explained that each region in Italy has its own pasta shapes and special, complex pasta dishes served on holidays and for family feasts; this was one of those labor-intensive special-occasion pastas. First Bugialli made fresh pasta with flour, water, salt, and eggs, expertly combining the ingredients and kneading the silky dough that resulted. Then he rolled it out in a manual pasta machine, cut the long, flat leaves into spaghetti, and let it dry slightly while he assembled the beehive. Long, thick, hollow dried pasta ("these are the real ziti," Bugialli said, "not the cut ones you find here. These are the long ones like in Italy") were cooked until almost tender, then spiraled around the inside of a large ovenproof glass bowl. It really did look like an inverted beehive! Then Bugialli cooked the fresh spaghetti briefly, combined it with a rich ground beef and pork sauce, and filled the beehive with the sauced pasta. The whole creation went into the oven for baking, and after 40 minutes or so was unmolded onto a platter. The class was suitably impressed with the result, but many were somewhat disconcerted by the fact that the ziti pasta that made up the beehive shell, unlike the spaghetti in the interior, was not meant to be eaten. But all agreed it was extravagant and delicious. We ate the pasta with a hearty Chianti, and finished with light, buttery orange-flavored cookies.

Tips From Giuliano Bugialli

  • Cook carrots for salads or other preparations with the skin on. "There are the good boiled carrots, and there are the bad boiled carrots," Bugialli says. "If you skin them, all the taste comes out into the water. If you boil them with the skin on, it comes off very easily after they are cooked, and the carrots have much more taste." He also advises cooking them thoroughly, so they are fully tender but not mushy. He frowns on the undercooked, flavorless carrots he often tastes in restaurants, which he calls California style.
  • Don't overuse balsamic vinegar. "I am not in love with balsamic vinegar -- too many chefs use it like they want to take a shower in it," Bugialli says. "It's wonderful used in the correct way -- it's used a lot in Italy, but only in a few dishes. A few drops in a bowl of fresh strawberries or raspberries, for instance, or with a roast, and especially with game."
  • For perfectly cooked beans, first soak them in cold water overnight. Then drain them, mix in flavorings like chopped prosciutto and chopped garlic, and cook at a low simmer until tender -- this can take up to 2 hours. The key to tender beans, Bugialli says, is to cook them without salt until they're nearly done, then add salt near the end. Adding salt too early makes the beans fall apart before they ever get properly tender.
  • It's essential not to overcook fresh pasta: It will become limp and sticky. Bugialli advises cooking fresh pasta for just one second after the cooking water returns to a boil, which takes only a few minutes.
  • While preparing ingredients for the orange biscotti, Bugialli demonstrated a trick for grating orange peel efficiently:
    Lay a piece of cooking parchment on top of a box grater, and grate the orange right through the paper. The grated peel stays on top of the parchment, instead of getting stuck on the grater. Just lift off the paper and brush the grated peel off to use.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Charting watery frontiers of authentic Italian cuisine, Bugialli The Foods of Tuscany island-hops to observe ancient Roman culinary traditions steeped in encounters with Greek, Phoenician, French, Spanish and other historic trespassers. The galvanic flavors retrieved justify his every stopover. Claiming that Sicily and Sardinia boast Italy's most varied antipasti, Bugialli offers Swordfish or Tuna Marinated in Aromatic Herbs lemon verbena, mint, basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, oregano and capers and Grilled Eggplant in Salmoriglio, a sauce of anchovies, garlic, rosemary and sage. Sicilian Pesto fuses tomatoes, almonds, garlic, basil, parsley and mint. On the tiny island of Favignana, he finds Pasta Baked in a Squid. Some dishes specify homemade pasta, which may scare off many home cooks; Polenta with Sausages, Sardinian Style, asks for 55 minutes of pot-stirring, a long stretch even for old polenta hands. But simple recipes, like Fava Bean Soup with spinach and pancetta or prosciutto, are also offered.

Lemon-Flavored Ossobuco with Cannellini Beans from Elba is particularly seductive, as is Chicken with Hot Green Peppers. Expectedly, seafood dishes excel with dishes like Shrimp in Tomato/Caper Sauce and Fresh Tuna in Savory Vinegar Sauce. So too do vegetables String Beans in Garlic Sauce; Savory Squash Torte. Breads include Sardinia's classic Carta da Musica Music Paper Bread. Dominis's lush photos portray the islands, their marketplaces and traditions with remarkable immediacy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847825028
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 12/18/2002
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Giuliano Bugialli teaches cooking in his fifteenth-century villa outside of Florence. He is the author of many award-winning cookbooks.
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A Recipe From Giuliano Bugialli

Fagioli e Gamberi alla Livornese
Beans and Shrimp, Livorno Style

Serves 12

3 cups dried cannellini beans
3 pounds Swiss chard with large white stems, cleaned and cut into 1-inch strips
4 ounces prosciutto or pancetta, in one piece
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, cleaned and thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Fine salt to taste

The shrimp:

48 medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined
Coarse-grained salt
2 lemons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil

1. Soak the beans in a bowl of cold water overnight. Rinse the chard very well and let soak in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.

2. Drain the beans and rinse under cold running water. With a meat grinder, coarsely grind prosciutto and garlic together. Transfer to a bowl and add the olive oil and freshly ground pepper. Mix very well, pour everything over the beans and gently mix.

3. Lightly drain the chard and spread half of it over the bottom of a large casserole. On top of the chard, arrange all the beans. Do not allow the bean layer to reach the sides of the casserole. Over the beans arrange the onion all over. Then make the final layer with the remaining chard. Pour 3 cups of cold water over, cover casserole, and simmer for about 1 hour and 20 minutes without mixing. By that time, beans should be almost cooked. Season with salt, cover pot again, and cook for 5 minutes more. Then gently mix beans and chard together and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

4. As the beans cook, soak the shrimp in a bowl of cold water with one of the lemons, cut in half and squeezed, and a little coarse salt for 30 minutes. Drain the shrimp, rinse under cold running water, and thread 4 of them onto each individual skewer. Place skewers on a serving platter, but not of metal. Squeeze the remaining lemon into a small bowl, then add salt and pepper to taste and the olive oil. Mix very well. Pour the marinade over the shrimp and refrigerate, covered, until ready to bake or grill them.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°. Transfer the shrimp with the marinade to a baking pan and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook for 3 minutes more. Prepare each serving by scooping up the beans/chard mixture with a slotted spoon to drain most of the broth. Then place a skewer of shrimp over each serving.

Recipe copyright © 1997 by Giuliano Bugialli. All rights reserved.

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