The Art of Eating Well: An Italian Cookbook

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9780679430568: The Art of Eating Well: An Italian Cookbook

The great-grandfather of all Italian cookbooks, in print continuously in Italy since 1894, is finally available in a splendid English translation. Artusi was a passionate cook, a noted raconteur, and a celebrated host, and he knew many of the leading figures of his day. From soups, pasts, roasts, and stew to desserts, preserves, liqueurs, and specialty dishes, this is a book that no lover of Italian cooking should be without. Line drawings throughout.

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Minestra Di Carne Passata (ground-meat soup)

6 ounces lean veal
1 ounce prosciutto or unsugared bacon fat
1 egg
Half cup grated Parmigiano
A pinch of nutmeg
Salt to taste
Broth for five
2 tablespoons of a paste made with midolla di pane, water, and a bit of butter (moisten the bread with warm water, then knead in a pan of butter

Mince the veal and the prosciutto, first with a long-bladed knife and then with a lunetta, then grind the mixture in a mortar and press it through a sieve. Mix in the egg and the remaining dry ingredients to make a paste; heat the broth, and when it boils, add the paste a teaspoonful at a time, or with the help of a pastry bag, which will make the pieces appear more elegant. Boil them until they're done (a few minutes) and serve the soup.

This recipe will serve four or five. However, you can make it serve ten to twelve by taking half a loaf of fine-grained day-old bread, cubing it, and browning the cubes in plenty of hot oil. (You will also have to increase the volume of broth.) When you are ready to serve the dish, line the bottom of the tureen with the croutons, pour the soup over them, and serve.
Spaghetti Alla Rustica (rustic spaghetti)

The ancient Romans left garlic to the down and out, while King Alfonse of Castile abhorred it to the point that he would punish anybody who dared appear at court with its odor on his breath. Wiser were the ancient Egyptians, who venerated it as a god, perhaps because they had discovered its medicinal qualities. Indeed, it's said that it provides relief to those suffering from hysteria, promotes the secretion of urine, bolsters the stomach, aids in digestion, and, since it cures worms, is a preventive against endemic and epidemic diseases. When sauteing it, take care lest it burn, because at that point its flavor becomes quite unpleasant. Many people who are inexperienced in the preparation of foods loathe garlic just because they've smelled it on the breath of those who have eaten it raw or badly prepared. They therefore label it a plebeian seasoning and banish it from their kitchens; this fixation deprives them of tasty, wholesome foods like the following dish, which frequently sets my stomach right when it's upset.

Mince 2 cloves of garlic, a small bunch of parsley, and some basil, if you like it. Saute the mixture in a quarter cup of oil, as soon as the garlic begins to brown, add 6 or 7 chopped tomatoes. Season  the sauce with salt and pepper and cook it until the tomatoes are well done. Put the sauce through a food mill; it will season enough pasta for four or five people. Serve it with spaghetti and grated cheese, taking care to cook the pasta just until it's al dente in abundant salted water and to send the seasoned pasta out to the table at once, before it has time to absorb the moisture from the sauce. This sauce also goes well with tagliatelle.
Torta Di Noci (walnut cake)

1 and one-third cups shelled walnuts
1 and one-third cups confectioners' sugar
5 and a half ounces grated bitter chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) minced candied citron

Grind the walnuts to a powder with the confectioners' sugar, then transfer them to a bowl and mix in the chocolate, the vanilla sugar, and the yolks. Whip and fold in the whites, and finally add the candied citron.

Choose a pan large enough so the cake won't be more than an inch thick; butter it, and dust it with bread crumbs. Bake the cake in a preheated 350 degree oven until it sets and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

My guests tell me this cake is exquisite.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian

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