Giuliano Bugialli is the only cooking teacher and author to win the Catherina di Medici Award for furthering the cultural arts of Italy and the talented, personable host of these superb guides to Italian cuisine.
Both tapes one dedicated exclusively to pasta dishes, the other to regional specialties forgo the gimmicks and buffoonery sometimes found on cooking videos to show viewers, step by patient step, how to prepare dishes that sound and look irresistible. Both tapes also offer an exceptional length-price ratio, with A Taste of Italy lasting 80 minutes and All About Pasta 90 minutes longer than some feature films.
In Pasta, Bugialli surveys the distinctive qualities, origins, and uses of 10 varieties of pasta; describes how to make fresh pasta; and then moves on to popular national and regional dishes. Seven in number, the latter include pasta alla matriciana, bigoli with anchovy sauce, fazzoletti with pesto sauce, and spinach cannelloni.
With A Taste of Italy, Bugialli detours from pasta to feature popular regional dishes based on chicken, duck, veal, and fish. The eight recipes include appealing variations on such standards as veal scaloppine and fried calamari, as well as the less familiar anitra reposa a ''lean'' duck dish from Tuscany and chicken breasts cooked on a plate.
Bugialli is a forceful and articulate presence (when he says no cream in the carbonara sauce, you listen!). But his thick accent may make some viewers yearn for titles at appropriate points to supplement the full recipes printed after each segment. A-