The Italian Slow Cooker
by Michele Scicolone and Alan Richardson

Overview - Finally a book that combines the fresh, exuberant flavors of great Italian food with the ease and comfort of a slow cooker. Michele Scicolone, a best-selling author and an authority on Italian cooking, shows how good ingredients and simple techniques can lift the usual crockpot fare into the dimension of fine food.  Read more...

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More About The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone; Alan Richardson
Finally a book that combines the fresh, exuberant flavors of great Italian food with the ease and comfort of a slow cooker. Michele Scicolone, a best-selling author and an authority on Italian cooking, shows how good ingredients and simple techniques can lift the usual crockpot fare into the dimension of fine food. Pasta with Meat and Mushroom Ragu, Osso Buco with Red Wine, Chicken with Peppers and Mushrooms: These are dishes that even the most discriminating cook can proudly serve to company, yet all are so carefree that anyone with just five or ten minutes of prep time can make them on a weekday and return to perfection.Simmered in the slow cooker, soups, stews, beans, grains, pasta sauces, and fish are as healthy as they are delicious. Polenta and risotto, stir-crazy dishes that ordinarily need careful timing, are effortless. Meat loaves come out perfectly moist, tough cuts of meat turn succulent, and cheesecakes emerge flawless."

  • ISBN-13: 9780547003030
  • ISBN-10: 054700303X
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publish Date: January 2010
  • Page Count: 232

Related Categories

Books > Cooking > Regional & Ethnic - Italian
Books > Cooking > Methods - Special Appliances
Books > Cooking > Methods - Quick & Easy

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 48.
  • Review Date: 2009-11-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

Scicolone (The Sopranos Family Cookbook) turns her attention to the slow cooker (or “crockpot”) for preparing homey Italian dishes. In this accessible cookbook, she presents unintimidating recipes (which often suggest the ingredients simmer around 165 degrees for six to eight hours) that serve up hearty dishes with a minimum of fuss. The wide variety of main dishes—seafood, meats, veggies and legumes—and corresponding soups and sauces, capitalize on the flavor that only slow-cooked food can deliver. The sauces are the book's standouts, with recipes for ragus made with chunky pork shoulder or spicy Tuscan sausage, for example. She also includes recipes for a creamy polenta with gorgonzola and mascarpone; risotto-style farro with parmesan; seafood couscous made with halibut, shrimp and scallops; and braised beef with anchovies and rosemary. While her approach is certainly inventive and appealing, some recipes make one wonder whether a slow cooker is actually necessary (the stuffed peppers might be baked just as easily). That said, this cookbook will certainly relieve the time pressure on busy family cooks. (Dec.)

BookPage Reviews

Going faster slowly

A few years ago, foodies announced that Spain was the new France, in the same way that fashionistas decide that brown is the new black and 40 is the new 20 (I’ll drink to that!). With slow cooker books piling up, my pronouncement is that slow is the new fast. One caveat: A slow cooker is not a magic cure-all. Just remember that axiomatic computer warning—garbage in, garbage out. Sadly, it holds true for most of life.

Stephanie O’Dea made a New Year’s resolution in 2007 to use her slow cooker every day in 2008 and blog about it  (a familiar approach, but I doubt this one will make it to the silver screen). The result is Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, with over 300 recipes for everything from beverages to breakfast to baking (yes, you can make banana bread in a slow cooker in four hours; the question is, why bother?), from meat and meatless mains, poultry, pasta and casseroles (though I’ve always thought of a slow cooker as self-propelled casserole) to desserts and mostly non-edible “fun stuff,” like crayons, play dough and shrinky dinks. All recipes are presented with usable directions and a “verdict” on the finished product. Each underscores the real advantage of a slow cooker: Do the prep when you have time, and let it cook when your time is needed elsewhere, like earning a living.

Michele Scicolone had an epiphany on a street in Rome that opened her eyes to the wonders of a slow cooker for Italian food. Once she realized that well-prepped ingredients could simmer happily for hours, unattended, she was off and running. The fruit of her epiphany is, no surprise, The Italian Slow Cooker, where tradition and innovation meet and meld with grand success. Italian soups are naturals, especially when they are bean-based like Chickpea and Porcini Soup or a classic Pasta Fagioli. Rich, redolent sauces, so essential to Italian cuisine, from a basic Sweet Tomato Sauce to a bevy of deep-flavored ragus made with beef, swordfish, chicken, turkey or super-tasty pork shoulder, only get better with slow cooking. Risotto with Artichokes and Creamy Polenta with Gorgonzola and Mascarpone, dishes that usually need lots of babying, do brilliantly without constant caretaking. And Michele includes fabulous meat, poultry and seafood recipes, plus veggies (Spinach Parmesan Sformato) and desserts (Pears in Marsala), to round out this slow, easy, energy-efficient take on Italian excellence. Make it Italian. Take it slow. Non dimenticare—good things in, good things out!

A sure bet

Dawn Welch owns and operates the Rock Cafe, a “small family joint with a big reputation” on Route 66, just outside Stroud, Oklahoma. The Rock, first opened in 1939, has been Dawn’s domain since 1993. It’s a gathering place, a landmark, but most of all it’s a “human refueling station,” where Dawn’s down-to-earth comfort food makes patrons feel at home. A cost-conscious cook, Dawn has learned to avoid waste, use inexpensive ingredients and give leftovers a new lease on life, and in her very first cookbook, Dollars to Donuts, she serves up her recipes and hard-earned wisdom for “getting it done, having fun and saving money too.” Her mission is all about getting the biggest bang for your buck (every recipe includes cost per serving), and toward that noble and timely end, she shows you how to strategize, budget (sensible splurge options included), organize, shop in bulk, take advantage of sales and cook big to maximize main-dish spinoffs. For instance, whole Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Chickens can easily morph into Almond Chicken Salad, Enchiladas, Udon Soup and a savory stew with dumplings. Dollars to donuts, Dawn’s advice is worth twice its price.

BAM Customer Reviews