Italian cooking at its best is a collection of traditional dishes personalized by individual cooks.

And adopted Salt Laker Harve Pilot stamps his individuality on a collection of Mediterranean specialities. Pilot describes a single recipe in encyclopedic detail, revealing a passion for food with each word.The epicure explores a love affair with the craft of cooking.

The result: a carefully seasoned sauce, simmered to achieve a balanced blend of spices; a pile of pasta cooked to al dente perfection or a vegetable side dish plied with the zest of ricotta cheese.

Mainstays of Italian cuisine adopted by Americans - pizza, spaghetti, lasagna and the like - regularly infiltrate stateside menus.

Kitchen cupboards bulge with bowties, elbows, tortellinis or rigatonis, bags of many-shaped pastas awaiting a complementary sauce. A measure of basil or oregano punctuates the overall Italian flavors.

Though most Americans frequently devour Italian-influenced meals, few understand the intricacies of legitimate Italian cooking.

Pilot studies the secrets.

"Italian cooking is basically home cooking with great simplicity where the only important elements are good ingredients and love . . . a love of food and a love of family," he explained.

Gourmet secrets unfold from family to family in Italy.

Pilot intercepted the family communication with skillful questioning.

"I've spent a lot of time in Italy and I ask a lot of questions . . . in the markets, in the restaurants, in the families. I ask about ingredients, how much and where to find them."

The exploration yields a collection of recipe - recipes with ordinary ingredients and extraordinary results.


(Recipes listed)

Scaloppine alla Panna

Spaghetti Matriciana

Spinaci E Formaggio