by Sybil PrattApril, 2005
La cucina Giudeo-Italiana
Now, just in time for Passover, we have a real treat, Classic Italian Jewish Cooking: Traditional Recipes and Menus, an authentic guide to the rich legacy of this ancient, elegant cuisine by Edda Servi Machlin, who grew up in Pitigliano, a medieval village in Tuscany, home to a prominent Jewish community. Jews have lived in Italy for more than 2,000 years, coming in waves from the Near East, North Africa and Spain, adapting their ancestral dishes to local ingredients and evolving a wonderfully appealing culinary tradition unlike the Central and Eastern European cooking most Americans are familiar with. There's no gefilte fish, but there are golden fried Passover Fish Croquettes and sweet-and-sour red snapper served after the Yom Kippur fast. You'll find a fabulous saffron rice dish for Shabbat, spinach ravioli for Purim, Baked White Corn Polenta with layers of mozzarella and parmesan for Shavuot, and vibrant, imaginative dishes to make for everyday eating dishes that underscore the fact that you don't have to be Jewish or Italian to like Italian Jewish cooking.