By Joel Kasow
NEW YORK, 15 MARCH 2010 Mary Ann Esposito is at the head of
the Ciao Italia empire, host of a television program of that name and
author of ten earlier cookbooks. Her latest publication, Ciao Italia
Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian
Kitchen, is a useful tool for the occasional or hurried cook, whose
pantry is not always well-stocked but who wishes to offer home-prepared
meals in our increasingly technological era.
The watchwords are quality and simplicity:
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
To clarify, salt and pepper are not included among the five
ingredients, and as a personal note, it is always possible to add an
ingredient or two according to ones taste, but the book is an excellent
reminder that good cooking is not only what one finds in three-star
restaurants but also in many a home kitchen.
What could be simpler than her Farfalle with Gorgonzola Sauce
or Pasta Bundles with Pears and Taleggio (using wonton wrappers)
or Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs. True, the occasional recipe strikes
one as a bit bland, e.g. the Linguini Roman Style, but it might be just
the thing for difficult children.
The recipe that caught my eye was for a Tuscan Chicken
Liver Paté. It exemplifies the authors style, practical and
encouraging for the novice.
4 large leeks
4 large chicken livers
anchovy filets in oil, drained and minced
2 tablespoons of capers in
Extra virgin olive oil
(salt and pepper)
Cut off the top dark green leaves of the leeks, down to where the
lighter green color begins. Discard the dark leaves.
Trim and discard the root ends. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and
wash them well. Dry the leeks and slice them thinly crosswise.
Combine the leevs, livers, anchovies and capers in a medium saucepan.
Pour enough olive oil over the mixture just to cover it. Cover the pot and
cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are creamy and
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree to a smooth paste.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Store the paté in an airtight jar or container and use as a spread on
Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious
Recipes from an Italian Kitchen
By Mary Ann
Hardcover: 160 pages
St. Martins Press, New York
Joel Kasow is a senior editor and culture critic at
Culturekiosque.com. He last wrote The Gift of
Giving (But for Whom).
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