La Cucina Kitchen Cookbook

I must confess. I bought this book only because I love the cover so much.I saw it stacked on the shelf behind the cash register at the bookstore and I had to have it. No thumbing through the book, just a swift swipe of the credit card and off I go.

I've yet to try a recipe so I can't recommend its contents, but if Lidia Bastianich gives it a thumbs up, that's good enough for me. A quick browse through the 800-plus pages {over 2,000 recipes!} promise at the very least some interesting food for thought.....for a very long time!

The book is divided into typical catagories- antipasti, soup, meats + poultry, etc. The recipes were assembled by the Italian Academy of Cuisine based on the the peasant customs of the past. A bit traditional, classical. What I love about each recipe is that it is laid out with little adornment and straightforward directions. Short and sweet. Only essential information. Bold red type under each recipe reveals the origin of the dish or an abbreviated blurb about the ingredient or recipe . A small detail that is much appreciated.

So, although I can't vouch for the reliability of the recipes, it sure does look a promising exercise for anyone that wants to be the next Julie + Julia of Italy. Andiamo a La Cucina. Let's get cooking......

Here's a recipe that might just be a new staple at your Thanksgiving feast- Italian- style!:

Serve these gnocchi with brown butter with sage, or { walnut sage pesto cream sauce.}*

1# peeled and seeded pumpkin {Pumpkin Pesto is a good ready-to-use substitute}
1# potatoes
1/2 cup chestnuts
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
pinch grated nutmeg
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

Boil the pumpkin, potatoes and chestnuts seperately until tender. Drain and pass through a food mill. Mix, then combine with all the other ingredients to form a dough. Shape into balls the shape of gnocchi. Cook into slightly boiling water until they float. Serve hot.

this is my version of a suggested sauce

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup Walnut Sage Pesto

In a medium saucepan, warm the cream over medium heat, just until bubbling. Continue cooking until the volume of the cream is thick and about one-half the original volume. Remove from heat, stir in the pesto until well-blended. Pour over gnocchi and serve immediately.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2009 Alisa Barry

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