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This is a cookbook like no other. It evokes the essence of Northern Italy's traditional foods in a beautifully wrought amalgam of recipe and narrative. It beckons you across the wet stone of Venice's Rialto bridge into a candlelit fifteenth-century cantina. It invites you down a forest road in Umbria, where grappa-fortified fishermen toss trout onto a wood fire and stage a sunset feast. It proffers nearly two hundred recipes from the heart and soul of Italy's North, including:
Risotto allo Zafferano Milanese Arista! Arista!
Pasta delle Sfogliatrici Pesce in Saor
La Salsiccia alla Moda di Lucrezia Borgia Fegato alla Veneziana
Carbonada d'Enfer Arvier Pesto di Mandorle e Noci Ferraresi
Pollo alla Marengo Cialzons della Famiglia de Galateo
Pagnotta di Patate Pasta e Fagioli
Sogliole in Gratella Caffe alla Valdostana Tiramisu
This remarkable world within a book reflects the honest, authentic tastes of a people for whom food is a cardinal passion. With it in hand, you will perfume your home with the ancient and divine scents of glorious food, calling forth the ineffable essence of this land and its bounty. Let the adventure begin.
About the Author
Marlena de Blasi is an American living in Venice with her husband, Fernando. She has traveled extensively in her adopted country, stopping to savor each region's abundance. A food and wine journalist and culinary historian, her articles on food and travel have appeared in The International Herald Tribune, The St. Louis Riverfront Times, and Sacramento magazine. She is presently writing this volume's sequel, Regional Foods of Southern Italy. Marlena de Blasi's life-long love affair with cooking began at age 9 on a beach along the coast of Liguria, Italy. There she met an elderly woman roasting potatoes coated with rosemary, olive oil, and salt over an open fire. "It was then," de Blasi writes, "that I began to understand that the way people eat and drink is more a measure of them than all the other measurements...." In her book, Regional Foods of Northern Italy, de Blasi finds that her adopted homeland is filled with tastes, smells, and textures that evoke far more than great meals--they are the stuff of memory and dreams.
Regional Foods of Northern Italy focuses on 10 "gastronomic regions," areas in which the author has worked, lived, and cooked: Tuscana, Umbria, Romagna, Emilia, Veneto, Lombardia, Piemonte, Val D'Aosta, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Marche. The recipes in this book are, as de Blasi explains, only "interpretations" of these regional cuisines, since it would be nearly impossible to replicate the exact qualities of the local ingredients--the sweet white butter of the Romagnans or the chile peppers of La Marche. Still, wherever it's cooked, Pasta di Alberto Bettini, with its lacing of basalmic vinegar, is a loving expression of its native Emilia, while so simple a meal as olive oil drizzled over bread and eaten with a glass of red wine evokes the ageless hills of Tuscany. Whether you live in Stockholm or San Diego, Marlena de Blasi's fine collection of recipes can transport you--for the length of a meal, at least--on an extraordinary journey through Northern Italy. So Buon viaggio--e Buon appetito!