Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cookbook Review: Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking by Pamela Sheldon Johns

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449402380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449402389

Product Description


Italian cookbook authority Pamela Sheldon Johns presents more than 60 peasant-inspired dishes from the heart of Tuscany inside Cucina Povera. This book is more than a collection of recipes of "good food for hard times." La cucina povera is a philosophy of not wasting anything edible and of using technique to make every bite as tasty as possible. Budget-conscious dishes utilizing local and seasonal fruits and vegetables create everything from savory pasta sauces, crusty breads and slow-roasted meats to flavorful vegetable accompaniments and end-of-meal sweets.

The recipes inside Cucina Povera have been collected during the more than 20 years Johns has spent in Tuscany. Dishes such as Ribollita (Bread Soup), Pollo Arrosto al Vin Santo (Chicken with Vin Santo Sauce), and Ciambellone (Tuscan Ring Cake) are adapted from the recipes of Johns' neighbors, friends, and local Italian food producers. Lavish color and black-and-white photographs mingle with Johns' recipes and personal reflections to share an authentic interpretation of rustic Italian cooking inside Cucina Povera.

About the Author


Pamela Sheldon Johns is a well-known cooking instructor and the host of culinary workshops throughout Italy. She has authored 14 cookbooks, many specializing in Italian food, such as Parmigiano! and Balsamico! Pamela has spent 20 years exploring and writing about the back roads of Italian food culture. She hosts many of her food and wine workshops from her farm in Tuscany, which was recently featured as one of the top 20 culinary workshops in Italy by Food and Wine magazine. She returns to the U.S. several times a year to teach cooking classes and promote her cookbooks.

My Review

This is a beautifully illustrated book which is more like a coffee table book than a cookbook.  I was so enchanted when I visited Italy so I just love the pictures of the Italian countryside in this book.  There are sixty recipes included that promote seasonal cooking as well as thrifty cooking.   I love the Pasta al Forno recipe which is an easy lasagna type recipe using a bechamel sauce instead of the American version using cottage cheese.  The bechamel sauce as a filling is a far more superior method.  As far as I am concerned it is difference between an amazing lasagna and an adequate lasagna!

Gorgeously illustrated book that is a definite must for cookbook collectors and lovers of Italy.

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