Review: American Classics/Italian Classics

American Classics and Italian Classics are both relatively slim collections of “best recipes” from Cook’s Illustrated, organized around a theme. (There are many of these volumes, but these are the two I happen to own at the moment.) If you already have The New Best Recipe, I would recommend against purchasing either of these because there is a lot of duplication between them. However, if you don’t have TNBR, either one is a nice cookbook to have.

American Classics CoverAmerican Classics is most guilty of the crime of over-duplication, since TNBR heavily favors classics of American cuisine. There are only a handful of original recipes among the 300 or so recipes, but some of them are quite important, such as Baked Cheese Grits and Corn Pudding (well, they’re important to me, anyhow). My favorites from this book include:

  • Corn Fritters
  • Waldorf Salad
  • Chicken Fricassee
  • Chicken Noodle Soup

Of course, that’s not counting any of the recipes I already mentioned in my review of TNBR.

Italian Classics CoverItalian Classics has a few more originals, but I wouldn’t look to this cookbook if you’re searching for really authentic Italian food. The list of recipes reads more like the menu at the local mom ‘n’ pop Italian eatery/pizza joint — not that there’s anything wrong with that. These recipes are all crowd pleasers and useful to have in your repertoire. My favorites include:

  • Onions Agrodolce
  • Baked Ziti
  • Gnocchi
  • Minestrone
  • Tuna & White Bean Salad
  • Vegetable Lasagne
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  1. […] through my Cook’s Illustrated Italian Classics‘ section on pestos, I discovered two new tips for making pesto. The first recommendation was […]

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