Since I love an easy meal and have a penchant for Italian flavours, when I was offered a copy of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen to review I agreed immediately. Ciao Italia is the latest cookbook from Mary Ann Esposito who hosts the long running PBS series of the same name.
The book focuses on using just five ingredients to create delicious Italian recipes. To be honest after flipping through the cookbook a few times I wasn’t very inspired. The book does contain more than a dozen pictures and 75 recipes but it was not laid out in a way that enticed me to cook anything. Furthermore I found a few typos, as well as some unclear instructions. On a more positive note, all the ingredients are easy to find and many are probably in your pantry already.
I chose to make two dishes, the Fried Shrimp and the Lemon Sauce. Like all of the recipes the fried shrimp was quite simple to prepare. The shrimp are lightly breaded in flour, salt, pepper and then egg, before being fried in butter with lots of parsley. Although I enjoyed the shrimp, if I make it again I will omit the egg breading which was truly too eggy for my taste. Shrimp are so delicate they don’t need much fussing over. That said, I really enjoyed the shrimp with the fried parsley and would also add a squeeze of lemon next time.
I enjoyed the Lemon Sauce recipe which I served with asparagus. First I roasted some asparagus in the sauce as well as some in just olive oil. Once cooked, I topped the plain asparagus with some of the remaining sauce. I enjoyed both. As a marinade it gave the vegetable a lovely and subtle flavour, while the raw sauce produced an asparagus dish similar to my cold asparagus salad recipe.
In general I don’t see myself cooking from this book frequently. I like picking up a cookbook and really wanting to cook everything in it. I probably would not purchase this for myself, but what about you? Do you like Italian food? Are you a fan of Ciao Italia? I am giving away a copy of this cookbook to a reader.
1. Leave a comment and tell me what simple recipe is your favorite!
2. Tweet about the contest and link back to this post then leave me a comment saying you did.
3. Sign Up to Receive my Recipes by Email and leave a comment saying you did.
To enter you must be a resident of the US or Canada. This contest will be open until 6pm PST Friday March 19th and I will draw a random winner.
This contest is now closed, I will announce a winner shortly. Good Luck to everyone who entered.