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Read All About It : From once-obscure Asian cuisines to classic French to the lastest grain craze, the variety of cookbooks available for gift giving swells as Christmas approaches. To help cull the best from the rest, The Times' Food Staff has reviewed the year's most intriguing cookbooks. : Classical and Contemporary Italian Cooking for Professionals by Bruno H. Ellmer (Van Nostrand Reinhold: $39.95, 604 pages, illustrated).

December 17, 1989|BARBARA HANSEN

Ellmer is a chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and he writes in a straightforward manner that makes the recipes easy to follow. Don't be put off by the designation "for professionals" in the title. This book will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in Italian cuisine.

The current generation of pasta lovers will find a long chapter devoted to that item in its many shapes, but pizza lovers will have to look for another book. The dough-based snack is not covered in this one. What you get instead are formulas for such wonderful sounding dishes as stuffed veal tenderloin wrapped in savoy cabbage with garlic and green peppercorn sauce, spring lamb chops stuffed with porcini and sun-dried tomatoes, beef roulades braised in Barolo and deviled grilled chicken with grilled scallions and radicchio.

The book covers a lot of ground recipe-wise and also deals with Italian terminology, wines and cheeses. A helpful touch is the inclusion of a list of the dishes in each chapter as well as a regular index.

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