Soffritto: Tradition and Innovation in Tuscan Cooking

by Benedetta Vitali, Cary Wolinsky (Photographer)

Soffritto is a homey, meandering cookbook that makes you feel as if you’re standing at author Benedetta Vitali’s side as she sautés the minced red onion, celery, and carrot mixture for which the book is named. “Good cooking is an act of creativity,” she says. “Use the recipes as indications, and trust your instincts to fill in the blanks.” A simple Pomarola (Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Basil) can be prepared in just 10 minutes — the variations are as endless as your imagination. Try Fagioli (White Beans with Prosciutto, Tomato, and Sage) as a main dish or pair it with Poached Sea Bass. Finish your meal with Bonnet (Amaretto Custard). Each recipe is a story and therefore is as enjoyable to read as it is to follow. Depending on your palate, some recipes may be better off as stories than as dinners, as evidenced by Ragu con Colli Repieni (Meat Sauce with Stuffed Chicken Necks).