Product description A seasonal guide to Italian home cooking includes fifty complete menus with recipes for 165 authentic Italian meals. By the author of The Italian Pantry. National ad/promo. From Publishers Weekly This guide to entertaining by Del Conte ( The Italian Pantry ) outlines, by season and occasion, a number of Italian menus, distinguished by the relaxed attitude and fresh and flavorful dishes of characteristically Italian cooking. While herself a native of the north (Milan), the author skillfully interweaves much of the best of Italy's regions into the book, ending up with a happy balance of interesting--and unusual--recipes, cooking techniques and personal recollections. Some of the outstanding recipes include caponata with chocolate; fish lasagne; tomato, cucumber and pepper salad (for which the onions are marinated in lemon juice and sugar); potato and almond cake; and Christmas "crackers" with ginger custard. Included as well are lighthearted suggestions for theme dinners (e.g., a basil-flavored dinner, a balsamic-vinegar-flavored dinner and a lemon-flavored dinner). Solid directions for from-scratch pasta preparation and polenta, rice and pasta cookery make much of this volume very handy. Unfortunately, while many of the ingredients may be available in Great Britain (where Del Conte now resides), American cooks will be frustrated to find that not all can be had here; the inclusion of truffle paste, for example, demands explanations, substitutions and the recommendation for a U.S. mail-order source. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Del Conte, author of the authoritative Gastronomy of Italy ( LJ 2/15/89) and, more recently, The Italian Pantry ( LJ 3/15/90), offers yet another immensely appealing exploration of the cooking of her homeland, this time concentrating on the food likely to be served by the best home cooks to their families and their guests. This is a menu cookbook, organized by season, for such events as an Alfresco Lunch for Ten or a New Year's Eve Supper. Though Del Conte emphasizes that the dishes are based in tradition and intended to be served family style, many of the recipes are unusual and have their own sophistication; the dishes she includes in a special section of favorite menus are particularly intriguing. Del Conte's style is personal but informed; a welcome counterpoint to the many recent books on Italian novella cucina . Strongly recommended. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Kirkus Reviews Del Conte (The Italian Pantry, 1990), an Italian now living in London, bases this season-by-season dinner-party-menu cookbook on the principle that ``the most important thing when giving a dinner party is a well-balanced menu.'' Arranged Italian-style in separate courses, her meals contain some odd-sounding dishes--a green salad dressed in sour cream; a spinach torta made with orange juice and cookie crumbs and a pairing of three pounds of asparagus with eight fried eggs (for four people), both of which are presented as vegetarian main dishes--and some oddly repetitive offerings: an outdoor summer lunch that has three different kinds of cold frittata as a main course; a main course at a Bolognese feast for 30 consisting of four different pasta dishes; and--a meal that Del Conte says she often serves--an elaborate fish lasagna containing five kinds of seafood and two rich sauces, with another lasagna layered with tomato-meat sauce. Other dishes on the author's menus range from a first course of thinly sliced raw bresaola (cured and air-dried beef) and many of home-made tagliatelle to main courses of venison stew, bollito misto (mixed boiled meats and vegetables, here with three sauces), and a real drop-dead spectacle, her interpretation of the pie from The Leopard. Desserts are relatively simple, though not predictable. Authentic, no doubt--though hardly what most Italians eat a casa--and it's guaranteed not to duplicate your guests' last dinner out. -- Copyright Â©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.