500 Italian Dishes is a guide to everyday cooking the Italian way; with enthusiasm, imagination, patience, experience and good ingredients. The easy-to-follow recipes are a cross-section of traditional and contemporary dishes with clear and concise instructions and tips for the best results. The book is divided into sections that mirror the courses of a full meal and has an extra chapter on party food. A six-course meal is a celebration for very special occasions and is a wonderful gastronomic experience. But you don't have to cook them all to create authentic Italian food; any one of them can be turned into a feast in itself. The variety and quality of food remains constant throughout but ingredients change dramatically. The cooking of the north is based on the fat of the land; the food of the south is based on the ingenuity of the cook. The north has plenty of meat and dairy produce; the south is rich in olive oil and vegetables. Fish abounds all around the peninsula's magnificent coast and seasonality is a constant.