That Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, the women behind Canal House Cooking, have developed a cultish following is no surprise. The recipes in their seasonal books (they publish three per year) and newsletter have an innate ease, and approachable voice that even the most novice home cook won’t shy away from. In their eighth recipe volume, Melissa and Christopher focus their attention squarely on all things Italian—specifically those dishes that are simple, fast and tasty, hence the name, Pronto!, which translates to “ready!” in Italian. Ingredient lists are brief, methods simple, and the results, deliciously unfussy—second nature cooking at its best. I grew up in an Italian household so many of the recipes (or some variation of them) are already in circulation in my kitchen, but Pronto! (Andrews McMeel Publishing) did add some wonderful new ones to my repertoire. A bright green olive, fennel and parsley salad, a herby porchetta-style chicken, harissa-soaked mussels and, my new personal favorite, chickpeas terra el mar (pictured above): an orecchiette pasta with anchovies, toasted bread crumbs and chickpeas. In a word, delizioso! FIORELLA V.