Italian Cookbooks

Celebrate…..Italian Style

by Jacqueline Miconi

The kitchen has always occupied an important position in Italian culture. It is not only the place where cooking is done, but it’s usually the center of most household activity; a place to gather and socialize, a place to bond and reminisce, and of course a place where many great chefs are born. Celebrate….Italian Style is a collection of recipes and stories about Italian life. With amusing selections such as “An Italian Wedding,” “Neighborhood Watchdogs,” “Gramma’s Other Half” and “An Italian Christmas and the Tale of the Fishes,” this cookbook brings us back to simpler times of tradition and heritage and how friends and family unite through food. This “Coffee Table” cookbook includes 100+ traditional recipes, using readily available ingredients for dishes that are not only easy to create, but even more enjoyable to indulge in. Through chapters like “Sunday Dinner,” “An Italian Christmas,” “Old Country Cooking” and “A Feast with your Paisani,” this cookbook offers up some excellent recipe selections, while sharing stories from the author’s rich heritage. Runner-Up in the Non-Fiction Category at The 2007 New York Book Festival Awards, the author is also a proud 3rd-generation Italian American.

Italian Family Cooking: Like Mama Used to Make

by Anne Casale

Anne Casale invites you into her kitchen to share the special secrets behind hundreds of home-style recipes that have been part of her family’s heritage for years and years. A second-generation Italian American and the head of her own cooking school, she takes you by the hand and shows you how to make her father’s succulent veal roast, her Nonna Louisa’s very own homemade pasta, savory soups based on her mother’s perfect broth, sumptuous desserts from her pastry-chef father-in-law, and scores of her own wonderful originals. Best of all, she explains the recipes so carefully and clearly that you are sure to start your own new tradition of delicious Italian Family Cooking.

The Four Seasons of Italian Cooking: Harvest Recipes from the Farms and Vineyards of the Italian Countryside

by A. J. Battifarano, Editors of Time Life Books (Editor), Alan Richardson

The Four Seasons of Italian Cooking is a handsome reminder of the simplicity and splendor of rustic Italian food. To demonstrate the regional nature of Italian cooking, A.J. Battifarano traveled around Italy and met with fascinating characters in Tuscany, Umbria, the Piedmont, Lombardy, Campania, and Apulia. In each region, we learn the story of families and individuals involved in the food industry, perhaps as a farmer or as the owner of an inn or restaurant. Meet Franco and Esther Carnero, a couple who restored an old house in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, developed a vineyard and garden, and then opened a small inn. Here Esther serves dishes based on old, local recipes (which she shares with us), including roast veal accompanied by a sweet red pepper and fig sauce, and a hazelnut cake made with the locally grown crop of nuts. Throughout this Italian adventure, we are introduced to satisfying, yet simple to prepare, dishes. Misticanza is a splendid example–a dish of dark leafy greens, just boiled and simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice. In addition to 125 charming recipes, and personal narratives, Battifarano also presents expert advice for storing and preparing fruits and vegetables from the four seasons. In true Italian fashion, it is the flavor of each ingredient that matters. This means the freshest ingredients are required for reproducing the profoundly satisfying flavors of Italy’s farmhouse cooking.

The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy’s Farmhouse Kitchens

by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Dana Gallagher (Photographer), Stephanie Tevonian (Designer)

Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s authoritative first book, The Splendid Table, explored the food and culture of Emilia-Romagna, Italy’s culinary heartland. In The Italian Country Table, a collection of 200 regional recipes gathered from farmhouse cooks, Kasper once again provides cultural investigation and authentic, workable recipes. The resulting cookbook-cum-chronicle will appeal to anyone seeking delicious, down-to-earth dishes and an introduction to cherished culinary traditions. Covering every course of an Italian meal–from antipasti through pasta to vegetables and, of course, dessert–the book weaves recipes with vignettes exploring, for example, Puglia’s ritual drying of winter tomatoes. Included also are notes on buying tips, special cooking techniques such as glazing, and discussions of culinary moment, like the nature of a true risotto Milanese. The immediately inviting recipes include such temptations as Mushrooms Stuffed with Radicchio and Asiago, Hot and Spicy Eggplant Soup, Leg of Lamb Glazed with Balsamic and Red Wine, and Espresso Ricotta Cream with Espresso Chocolate Sauce. Kasper also offers a chapter on focaccia, pizza, and bread, as well as menus, shopping sources, and a useful discussion of ingredients. (Taste before you buy, and then pause, she advises. “Aftertaste can reveal how a food’s been stored, careless production, or foods going from mature to over the hill.”) Concluding with a guide to Italian guest farms, folk life museums, and places to eat and shop, the book is a comprehensive introduction to basic but inspired home cooking and the traditions that both contain and nurture it.

The Splendid Table

by Lynne R. Kasper (Author), Louis B Wallach Inc. (Author)

This collection of recipes, history, food and folklore–surrendered by a tiny yet culinarily fertile region of Italy–was ably amassed by cooking teacher and writer Kasper. Even people “with only a passing interest in food” are likely to “recognize . . . this region’s products.” Among them are: Balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and prosciutto di Parma. Northern Italy is also where the renowned rich Ragu Bolognese comes from; Kasper includes both a historical and a modern version, as well as a selection of kindred sauces, such as game ragu and an unusual ragu of giblets. She pays homage to recipes ranging from the 16th century (rosewater maccheroni Romanesca) to the 18th (a Cardinal’s favorite baked penne), but pays equal and fascinating attention to modern inventions: tagliatelle with carmelized onions and fresh herbs, and a lasagna of wild and fresh mushrooms. Nor does Kasper omit recipes incorporating the most famous native products. Balsamic roast chicken and sweet peas with prosciutto di Parma is an outstanding example. Rounding out various virtues are easy rules of thumb for making fresh pasta and a reliable guide to ingredients