Just when you thought you knew the best of Northern Italy, along comes Lynne RossettoKasper to introduce you to Emilia-Romagna, a fertile wedge between Milan, Venice, and Florence, as gastronomically important as any land in the world. The lush homeland of balsamic vinegar, Prosciutto di Parma, tortellini, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, this is a region venerated by Italy's food cognoscenti. "Ask an Italian where to take only one meal in Italy, and, after recommending his mother's house, he will more than likely send you to EmiliaRomagna,"writes Kasper. A cuisine at once voluptuous and refined, the dishes of Emilia-Romagna's kitchen are literally irresistible. just listen to the names"Little" Spring Soup from the 17th Century, His Eminence's Baked Penne, Modena Crumbling Cake. Then imagine sitting down to a dish of Hot Caramelized Pears with Prosciutto, a Risotto of Red Wine with Fresh Rosemary or a Pie of Polenta and Country Rag The first American book to present the food of this singular northern region, The Splendid Table is an Italian cookbook for the nineties. It will take you from Parma, Bologna, Modena, Ravenna, and Ferrara to tiny villages in the foothills of the Apennines, from Renaissance banquet halls to the simplest of farmhouses, offering history, folklore, and substantive cooking tips along the way. Among the things you will find are: A 56-recipe pasta chapter including many never before seen in America. From fast and easy dishes such as Linguine with Braised Garlic and Balsamic Vinegar to a lasagne of chicken, pine nuts, and currants. A veal Parmigiano like no other-Pan-Fried Veal Chops with Tomato Marsala Sauce, the whole finished with curls of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. An array of meatless or almost meatless recipes. Grilled vegetables with maccheroni; a country dish of braised lentils with ribbons of pappardelle and crisp nubbins of pancetta; Tortellini of Artichokes and Mascarpone; or Fresh Tuna Adriatic Style. Straight out of the Renaissance but perfect for today, a sumptuous tortellini pie, ideal for important dinners and holidays. A salad of tart greens, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and Prosciutto di Parma with a warm garlic and balsamic dressing and many other antipasto dishes. Over thirty dessert recipes including Chestnut Ricotta Cheesecake and Torta Barozzi, a mysterious chocolate cake made at only one pastry shop in the entire region. "A Guide to Ingredients" that shares the secrets of how to select, use, and store the very best balsamic vinegars, olive oils, porcini mushrooms, Prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, coppa, fresh herbs, and much more. Encounters with Lucrezia Borgia, Gioachino Rossini, Napoleon's Empress Marie Louise, Giuseppe Verdi, Arturo Toscanini, Carlo Bergonzi, Renata Tebaldi, and Luciano Pavarotti, all characters in the epic of Emilia-Romagna. The Splendid Table is the Italian cookbook America has been waiting for a book firing our passion for Italian food while responding to our health concerns. It not only reveals Italy's best-kept culinary secret, the great cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, it is at the same time one of the most important teaching books of our era. Know it will become a good friend, well thumbed and lovingly stained over years of good cooking and good reading. 24 pages of finished dishes in full color. 200 recipes with wine and menu suggestions.