By Barbara Lynch
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35.00, 335 pages

The flavors of both South Boston and Italy come to life in Barbara Lynch’s first cookbook, Stir: Mixing It Up In The Italian Tradition. Lynch, a James Beard Award-winning chef, has crafted a book that includes not only the usual suspects in Italian cuisine, but also some uniquely original recipes, as well.

Stir’s chapters run the gamut from Starters And Small Bites to From The Sea; Chicken, Duck, And A Goose; and the quintessential A Passion For Pasta.  Cleverly named, there are dishes both familiar (Fried Calamari with Spicy Aioli, Gnocchi, a Pappardelle with Tangy Veal Ragu) and exotic (Spiced Prunes, Chicken Meatball Lasagnettes, Poulet Au Pain).  None of the recipes are overly complicated, making them appealing to even the modest chef, though Lynch’s insistence on making and using fresh pasta dough may intimidate the lesser skilled.

Packed with a nice variety of recipes, and including an array of simple but useful tips (“start with the best ingredients,” “season well and keep tasting”), Lynch’s cookbook is a must-have for anyone looking to impress with their grasp of Italian cooking.

Reviewed by Mark Petruska