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Gusto: The Very Best of Italian Food and Cuisine
     

Gusto: The Very Best of Italian Food and Cuisine

by Armando Minuz
 

The first encyclopedia of Italian cuisine. Illustrated with 4,000 stunning photographs and featuring more than 140 recipes.

Italian cooking now has a book worthy of its place at the head of the culinary table. A gorgeous and comprehensive reference guide and cookbook dedicated to Italian food and drink, Gusto beautifully illustrates the ingredients

Overview

The first encyclopedia of Italian cuisine. Illustrated with 4,000 stunning photographs and featuring more than 140 recipes.

Italian cooking now has a book worthy of its place at the head of the culinary table. A gorgeous and comprehensive reference guide and cookbook dedicated to Italian food and drink, Gusto beautifully illustrates the ingredients and cooking methods used in kitchens from Parma to Tuscany and beyond. The delicious photos represent a breathtaking array of the components that make up Italian dishes from the classic to the unfamiliar.

Imagine every cut of beef, all varieties of mushrooms, fourteen different species of crustacean, twelve kinds of prosciutto, all vividly displayed and carefully explained in ravishing detail. Each chapter—on pasta, rice, fish, meat, bread (and yes, pizza), cheese, salami, vegetables, fruit and nuts, herbs and condiments, desserts, cookies and pastry, gelato, chocolate, coffee, and, of course, wine—describes essential ingredients and food preparation methods as well as presenting superb recipes from Italian kitchens.

Equally at home on the coffee table or the countertop, Gusto will surprise the sophisticated connoisseur and amaze the lover of all things Italian.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Gusto:

Gusto is a gorgeous eight-pound, 368-page tour of the Italian table. First published in Italy in 2011, it has now been translated into English with a foreword by Cesare Casella, the chef and dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center in New York. This encyclopedic book starts by describing the cuisines of Italy’s regions. It then covers the various categories of food, starting with pasta. Scores of pasta shapes, a dozen kinds of prosciutto, various cuts of meat, all sorts of fish and crustaceans, and a panoply of mushrooms, vegetables, fruits, condiments, breads, pastries, salamis, nuts, confections, coffee and wine are covered. The history of ingredients and dishes, their sources and preparations, with occasional recipes, are given for most foods. Some 4,000 arresting color photographs enhance the learning curve and certainly whet the appetite." —Florence Fabricant, The New York Times

"Plump figs and earthy truffles, creamy gelato and crusty focaccia, marbled beef and glistening fish—you are not human if you are not hungry after perusing the 4,000-plus full-colour photos in this comprehensive guide. The focus is on ingredients—and Italian cuisine is all about ingredients. Organized by types of food, lovingly detailed entries delve into each item’s history and explain how to recognize quality and freshness. An opening section profiles Italy’s distinctive regions and their gastronomic specialties; recipes throughout are accompanied by step-by-step photos." —Sotheby's Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789211781
Publisher:
Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/22/2014
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
508,625
Product dimensions:
14.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.50(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Gusto: The Very Best of Italian Food and Cuisine

Pasta

The world’s symbol for the very idea of “Italian,” pasta is a legend known by all.

Italy is the only country where pasta serves as the fundamental foundation of the national cuisine. The multiple types and the variety of flours used illustrate both the central role that pasta plays in the Italian diet and each region's ability to differentiate itself through the forms of pasta it produces. There is egg pasta; pasta made using common wheat, durum wheat, whole grain, partially whole grain, or chestnut flours; pasta colored by the addition of beets, saffron, or spinach; pasta that is dried or fresh, simple or stuffed, short or long, smooth or rough, big or small.

The term “pasta” refers most often to pasta made from dough created by simply adding water (usually warm and not too hard) to ground durum wheat middlings (called semolina). Pasta manufacturers strive to differentiate themselves by maximizing the quality and authenticity of these two simple ingredients. The final step in making pasta is the wire-drawing process which determines both the shape and the consistency of the final product. The shapeless dough is pushed through a die (traditionally bronze and now often Teflon), exits in the desired shape, and then is cut according to the chosen length. Many manufacturers prefer the bronze dies, which produce a pasta with a rougher texture that soaks up sauce more easily. However, such pasta also absorbs a greater amount of water when cooked and therefore more care is required to avoid overcooking it. Teflon dies produce pasta that is smoother and easier to cook, but suitable for lighter sauces rather than robust ones.

The best pastas avoid preservatives altogether. Certainly there is no need of preservatives in fresh pasta that will be eaten immediately, and one of natural dried pasta’s most advantageous qualities is its resistance to spoiling. In addition, it contains no artificial colors: a bundle of spaghetti held up to the light reveals the sunlight absorbed by the grains. Even though dried pasta is now almost entirely an industrial product, with even fresh and stuffed pasta being increasingly produced by both small or large manufacturers rather than grandmothers armed with an apron and a rolling pin, pasta has not lost its special identity.

However, it can still be said that the traditional division between the fresh pasta associated with northern Italy and dried pasta with southern Italy has remained unchanged. This demarcation is both climatic and cultural, originally deriving from two great and distinct traditions: the Romans, in central and northern Italy, tracing back to the sheet pasta, and the Arabs in the South, with their shredded pastry. More than 1,000 years ago, the Arabs introduced to Sicily their “itryah,” pasta in the form of long thin strips that preserved well, making it suitable for the long sea voyages. From Sicily, sea merchants brought it to other parts of the world, likely through the contribution of merchants from Genoa. In contrast, fresh sheet pasta, derived from Roman and Mediterranean traditions and also used in stuffed pasta, originated in and around the medieval Po Valley, where it gave birth to a multitude of other pasta types.

Meet the Author

Cesare Casella has been sharing his passion for authentic Italian food with Americans for the past 20 years. He is the owner and executive chef of Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto and Il Ristorante Rosi and the Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center in New York City. He is also a frequent James Beard House and De Gustibus featured visiting guest chef. Casella wrote The Fundamentals of Classic Italian Cuisine (2012), True Tuscan (2005), Italian Cooking for Dummies (2002), and Diary of a Tuscan Chef (1998).

Armando Minuz has written a series of cookbooks for Food Editore, Parma, Italy, on pasta, pizza and bread, appetizers, and vegetarian cooking.

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