Cook the Book Party Planner: La Cucina

20091221lacucina.jpg2009 has been a great year for cookbooks and we've been doing our best to share as many of them with you here at Cook the Book, but even spotlighting a book a week can't cover them all.

We've got quite a backlog of incredible books so for the next two weeks we are going to amp up our cookbook coverage with additional recipes geared towards entertaining.

La Cucina was put together by the Italian Academy of Cuisine as a way to preserve regional Italian cooking at a time when food culture is rapidly becoming homogenized. With over 2,000 recipes from all over Italy, La Cucina is the most comprehensive book on Italian cuisine to be translated into English. There isn't an Italilan region or recipe that isn't well-represented here—from Sicilian arancini to Venetian zabaglione.

This week we are featuring seafood recipes from La Cucina inspired by the Italian Christmas tradition Feast of the Seven Fishes perfect for a holiday gathering. While the tradition of eating a meatless meal might not be authentically Italian, it's a wonderful template for putting together a festive menu with ingredients we don't cook with or enjoy on a daily basis.

And for all of you stressed-out holiday entertainers, rest assured that the preparations in La Cucina are geared towards home cooks (the ingredients are easy to find and the techniques are basic). These are not labor-intensive recipes that will leave you chained to the stove for hours—just simply prepared, clean-tasting Italian classics.

Win 'La Cucina'

Thanks to the generous holiday spirit of the folks over at Rizzoli, we are giving away five (5) copies of La Cucina this week. All you have to do is Tell us about your favorite holiday meal in the comments section below.