In 1972, with limited funds and only a modest culinary background, Piero Selvaggio opened a small Italian restaurant in a decidedly unglamorous Santa Monica neighborhood. Now, almost thirty years later, Valentino is consistently hailed as one of the finest restaurants in the Los Angeles area and the nation, and Selvaggio is the consummate host and orchestrator of one of the most sublime dining experiences imaginable. The Valentino Cookbook draws on Selvaggio's extensive experience as a restaurateur, a culinary explorer, and, most of all, a lover of food and wine.In this charming and generous cookbook, he shares the lessons he has learned in his ever-evolving love affair with fine cuisine. He gives us delightful personal anecdotes and an incredible collection of dishes, ranging from traditional to innovative: Petti di Fagiano Avvolti in Pancetta (Pheasant Breast Wrapped in Pancetta), Filetti di Cervo con Salsa al Melograno (Venison Medallions with Pomegranate Sauce), and other wonderful entrees; an enticing collection of appetizers such as I Car-ciofi Ripieni di Lina (Lina's Stuffed Artichokes) and Gamberoni e Cannellini allíOlio Toscano (Shrimp and White Beans in Tuscan Oil); flavorful soups such as Passato di Verdura (Pureed Vegetable Soup) and Raviolini di Cappone (Small Capon Ravioli in Broth); delicate risottos; pastas as simple as Fusilli con Verdure Forti e Pancetta (Fusilli with Bitter Greens and Pancetta) or as extraordinary as Uovo al Tarufo Dedicato a Nino Bergese (Pasta Stuffed with Eggs, Spinach, and Ricotta, with Shaved Truffles). And an extensive dessert section ranges from an elegant Lemon and Grappa Crostata to the rich, crunchy Croccante Semifreddo.With each recipe, Selvaggio, the most respected wine expert in the country, includes a selection of sublime wines from budget finds to spectacular bottles for a special occasion. His tasteful pairings enhance each dish, and this show of expertise is one of the most unusual and valuable qualities of The Valentino Cookbook.Simple or complex, traditional or progressive for Selvaggio, all good cooking is, at heart, very personal: a journey of taste for which the end isn't nearly as important as the fantasias along the way. This wonderful cookbook will help all of us develop a true understanding of taste and refine our appreciation for everything that great dining is all about.