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Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen Excerpt from Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen

by Mary Ann Esposito

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Introduction: Give me Five

When is less more? When you can turn just FIVE ingredients into something that is not only delicious but exciting, fun, and easy to make. I have known all along that one of the genius qualities of seasoned Italian cooks is the inherent ability to make something out of almost nothing; my grandmothers did it, my mother does it, and I am happy to say that it has rubbed off on me! Now I want to pass on what I have learned to you, so you can be a genius in the kitchen, too. Really. Read on!

The secret to achieving great-tasting Italian food today is in a word, quality. The highest-quality food products are a benchmark for Italian cooks. The brightest vegetables, the most fragrant herbs, the just-caught fish, the fruity cold-pressed olive oil, the natural grain-fed chickens, the aged artisan cheeses, the stone hearth-baked crunchy, crusted breads, and the thin-as-paper pizza, are some of the most respected Italian foods, many still made the old-fashioned way, by hand. This care and pride of workmanship is what gives Italian food its worldwide seat of approval and respect. It is no surprise then that Italian food is America's number one favorite ethnic food.

How can we translate that kind of quality to our own kitchens? By adhering to a rule that all good Italian cooks know: less is more. Everyone loves Italian food but not everyone knows that it's best not to tinker with the inherent integrity of the ingredients. Good ingredients can stand on their own with little embellishment in the seasoning and multiple ingredients department. Often just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil is all that is needed to satisfy even the most demanding foodie. The charm ties in the fact that the ingredients are simply prepared. That is why most Italian cooks take a minimalist approach to cooking; they take their inspiration from what is local and in season. And that is why Italian food shines on its own; it is not layered, fusion, or confusion food. It is always trendy, and never tiring. Some cooks fret over the amount of time they think they need to spend prepping and cooking in order to achieve quality. They bemoan the complexity, expense, or amount of ingredients called for. It is just as easy to create a delicious dish with few ingredients as it is with an armload.

Today, we eat differently, on the run and not always together, and often, not very wisely. Yet we want unencumbered, easy-to-prepare, healthy, but delicious food. That is why this book, offering recipes with just FIVE ingredients, fits perfectly into the philosophy of Italian food. This book will deliver the results using the concept of less is more, showcasing a myriad of refreshing recipes from antipasti to dolci, using no more than FIVE ingredients. (Salt and pepper do not count.)

I have had great fun creating these recipes for you, all using ingredients readily available. And best of all, I know that the recipes will exceed your expectations, and I predict that once you try them, you will be doing high FIVEs across the kitchen table. Buon Appetito!

The above is an excerpt from the book Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen by Mary Ann Esposito. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen

Author Bio
Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen, is the creator and host of the long-running PBS series Ciao Italia, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010. She is the author of eleven successful cookbooks, including Ciao Italia Slow and Easy and Ciao Italia Pronto! She lives in Durham, New Hampshire.

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