Finally a book that combines the fresh, exuberant flavors of great Italian food with the ease and comfort of a slow cooker. Michele Scicolone, a best-selling author and an authority on Italian cooking, shows how good ingredients and simple techniques can lift the usual "crockpot" fare into the dimension of fine food. Pasta with Meat and Mushroom Ragu, Osso Buco with Red Wine, Chicken with Peppers and Mushrooms: These are dishes that even the most discriminating cook can proudly serve to company, yet all are so carefree that anyone with just five or ten minutes of prep time can make them on a weekday and return to perfection. Simmered in the slow cooker, soups, stews, beans, grains, pasta sauces, and fish are as healthy as they are delicious. Polenta and risotto, "stir-crazy" dishes that ordinarily need careful timing, are effortless. Meat loaves come out perfectly moist, tough cuts of meat turn succulent, and cheesecakes emerge flawless.