``We instantly identify `trattoria' with a simple, generous, full-flavored style of food,'' writes Wells Bistro Cooking , and she was sufficiently impressed by trattoria cooking to travel through Italy for about a decade, looking for the best in family-owned and -operated restaurants. The 150 recipes collected here are the result, gathered from many trattorias and regions of the country, and the harvest is memorable, whether it is the sauces red pesto, made with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, hot red pepper, olives, oil and herbs or the desserts toasted hazelnut cake that most intrigue you. Wells covers appetizers, pasta, rice dishes, breads, meats, fish and more with down-to-earth dispatch and flair. ``Like so many popular dishes,'' she cautions, ``eggplant Parmesan has been banalized,'' and she proposes a corrective. In between recipes come advisories: ``Pay attention to salt'' she prefers sea salt to table and ``Know your beans,'' in this case, the dried. Photos not seen by PW. Oct.
Wells, well known for her books on France and French cuisine e.g., Simply French: The Cuisine of Joel Robuchon , LJ 9/15/91; Bistro Cooking , LJ 12/89, has turned her attention to Italian trattoria cooking. Her new collection of informal, robust recipes, gathered from Italy's small family-run restaurants, should appeal to anyone who appreciates the unmasked flavors of high-quvors of high-quality fresh ingredients, simply but lovingly prepared. Wells's often lengthy headnotes are full of personal reminiscences but also paint a colorful picture of the country's relaxed, generous lifestyle. Wine suggestions follow each recipe, and there are sensible cooking tips throughout. Wells has many fans; recommended for most collections-- Paige LaCava, New York
Patricia Wells is a journalist, author, and teacher who runs a popular cooking school—At Home with Patricia Wells—in Paris and Provence. Simply Truffles is her thirteenth book. She won the James Beard Award for The Provence Cookbook, Patricia Wells at Home in Provence, and Simply French. Also nominated for Beard Awards were Vegetable Harvest and The Paris Cookbook. With her husband, Walter, she is also the author of We’ve Always Had Paris . . . and Provence. The French government has honored her as a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, recognizing her contribution to French culture. A former New York Times reporter, she is the only foreigner and only woman to serve as restaurant critic for a major French publication, L’Express. For more than twenty-five years she was the global restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune.