Despite the modest title, Torre has (from family treasures, to judge by the dedication) an excellent basic book of Italian recipes which even the sophisticated cook can use profitably. In fact, a beginner may balk at the instructions for homemade pasta and the insistence on fresh basil and oregano and plum tomatoes to be used only at the midsummer peak of ripeness. All the classic Italian dishes are here including a score of spaghetti sauces, among them such unusual variants as ham-and-egg sauce, mixed meat sauce (including spareribs and veal shank) and a sauce made with chicken livers. For the more daring, there's tripe and squid; for the less adventurous steak -- Torre says it is becoming ever more popular in Italy -- which she suggests marinating for a half hour in olive oil, then broiling and serving with melted butter and plenty of lemon juice. Torte even includes a generous sampling of pastries and cookies, too often left out of Italian cookbooks in favor of cheese and fruit. Most things here are relatively simple to prepare, but Tone is a perfectionist who rightly insists on the importance of exact cooking time -- the pasta must be al dente -- and shows remarkable restraint in her understated use of spices and wines.