Newest Review: ... attempted to update some of their more traditional recipes with little touches of his own; often with mixed results! This book features ... more
An essential modern cookbook for tasty, simple Italian food
Jamie's Italy - Jamie Oliver
Member Name: DonPaolo
Jamie's Italy - Jamie Oliver
Advantages: Simple, tasty, plenty of choice, looks great
Disadvantages: Not much - some recipes containing rarer or more expensive ingredients will have to be planned ahead
Jamie's Italy is a detailed and colourful cookbook from Jamie Oliver, featuring a wide range of traditional and interesting Italian recipes. It contains a massive range of tasty recipes, all of which look and sound great. I've tried many of them now myself, particular highlights being the stuffed leg of lamb, aubergine and basil pasta, and several of the risotto dishes. On each occasion the recipe was simple to follow and returned great results.
At around £20 to £25, this is quite a pricey book, but it does contain a good number of tasty and easy to follow recipes. I was lucky enough to be given it as a present, as I don't think I would have bought it for myself at this price.
VARIETY - There should be recipes for everyone in this book. Jamie includes a good collection of starters, mains, desserts, and covers vegetarian recipes, pasta dishes, red meat, white meat, game, and fish.
FLEXIBLE RECIPES AND IDEAS - Most of the recipes which I have tried from this book have involved a bit of artistic license and interpretation. For example, I am not really a fussy eater, but I'm not very fond of anchovies, and they crop up quite regularly in some of Jamie Oliver's recipes, so I just leave them out. Lots of these recipes serve as good ideas or starting points which you can adapt and add to yourself.
RISOTTO - I really love a good risotto, and Jamie's recipes are very good on this front. He walks you through the basics of how to make the essential Risotto Bianco, and there are several great examples of how to use this as the base for more adventurous and interesting dishes. This has encouraged me to experiment more when making my own risottos and to change my technique slightly.
PRESENTATION - I really like the rustic feel of the book. The cover artwork and some of the pictures inside do occasionally feel like clichés of Italian life, but they fit well and are a lovely addition. The pictures of the dishes are simple - they look traditional and realistically achievable, unlike many cookbooks which look like there have been hours spent individually placing the elements on each plate.
Although most of the recipes here are pretty accessible and easy to follow, there are always some which will seem out of reach to the majority of amateur cooks. With some ingredients which are more expensive or harder to come by, such as rabbit or artichokes for example, several recipes will have to be 'saved for a special occasion'.
At some points during the accompanying TV series, I think Jamie looked a little out of his depth, and his attempts at traditional Italian cooking were often met with quizzical looks from locals. However, this is a well-structured collection of delicious and accessible recipes which should give everyone some food for thought. He clearly has great respect and love for Italian food, so good on him!
Summary: An essential modern cookbook for tasty, simple Italian food
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