Italian Cookbooks

My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South

by Rosetta Costantino & Janet Fletcher

At the tip of Italy’s “boot” lies Calabria. It is a beautiful, mountainous region populated by fishermen and small farmers. Rosetta Costantino grew up in this rugged landscape, her father a shepherd and wine maker and her mother his tireless assistant. When her family immigrated to California, they re-created a little Calabria on their property, cooking with eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers from their garden, fresh ricotta made from scratch, and pasta fashioned by hand. A frugal people, Calabrians are master preservers, transforming fresh figs into jam, canning fresh tuna in oil, and sun-drying peppers for the winter. Now Rosetta shares her family’s story and introduces readers to the fiery simplicity of Calabrian food. With 100 color photographs, this is the first cookbook of a little-known region of Italy. It celebrates the richness of the region’s landscape and the allure of its cuisine. My Calabria is a cookbook for our time: a reminder of how ingenious and resourceful cooks can create a gorgeous local cuisine.

Eating Italy: A Chef’s Culinary Adventure

by Jeff Michaud & David Joachim

Before award-winning chef Jeff Michaud ever opened the doors of his acclaimed Philadelphia restaurants, he spent three years in northern Italy as a culinary apprentice to master butchers and chefs, immersing himself in the culture and cuisine of the old country. It is safe to say that he never anticipated the romance that would ensue. Eating Italy is a delicious, funny, and mesmerizing spin through the boot, teaching true heirloom techniques and telling Jeff ‘s culinary and personal love story (he met his wife when she came into the restaurant one night for dinner, and to this day, he hasn’t forgotten what she ordered). Part inventive cookbook, part travel narrative, each chapter of Eating Italy explores a village or town in northern Italy, unveiling the unique culinary and cultural experience it has to offer. The reader experiences his journey from “Paladina: The Butcher’s Apprentice” to “Trescore Balneario: Our Big Italian Wedding” in dishes like Apricot and Chanterelle Salad, Swordfish Pancetta with Fennel Zeppole, Pheasant Lasagne, and Blood Orange Crostata with Bitter Chocolate. Each authentic recipe serves to mark his professional growth, learning from some of the most skilled chefs in Italy. Vivid photography of Italian culture, people, and landscapes are dispersed throughout, allowing the reader a glimpse of northern Italia from a kitchen far away.

Verdure: Vegetable Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome

By Christopher Boswell with Elena Goldblatt, Photographs Annie Schlechter

Verdure is the ideal collaboration among the Academy kitchen and garden, the artisan producers, and the organic farmers who provide the impeccable raw ingredients used in each dish. (Some are even foraged by the academy’s fellows in field trips to local meadows and forests.) Its 92 recipes are arranged seasonally; week by week, it can be used to navigate the harvest of the farmer’s market. Frugality is a consideration: the RSFP kitchen feeds a group, and cost is a consideration (beans, grains, and greens take a starring role). Maximizing flavor is paramount (consider the lowly onion, risen to new heights in a sweet and sour sauce). Every recipe appears simple and is easy to execute, but rises far, far above the fundamental.

Pasta: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome

By Christopher Boswell with Elena Goldblatt, Photography by Annie Schlechter

Even if you haven’t landed one of the coveted internships in the kitchen at the American Academy in Rome, you can have a behind-the-scenes tutorial in the way that pastas and sauces are made there. The recipes in Pasta are arranged in the same order as the interns are taught to make them, from simple to more complex, and are organized the way Italians think about pasta, not only as fresh or dry but by the base of the sauces (oil, tomato, meat, and vegetable). Even the most sophisticated cooks will be intrigued by chef Christopher Boswell’s engaging notes that explain what makes the flavors work together, why and how the sauces work with the pastas, and what makes a dish not only great but unforgettable. He includes simple techniques, small refinements, and easy variations. Among the more than 90 recipes you’ll find ‘nduja, a soft, spicy sausage spread from Calabria; a sauce that unexpectedly pairs basil and asparagus; delicate and refreshing summer pastas; and hearty and earthy vegetarian dishes.

Zuppe: Soups from the Kitchen of The American Academy in Rome

By Mona Talbott, Photographs Annie Schlechter

Much more than a collection of remarkable soups, Mona Talbott’s Zuppe is also a wise and gentle tutorial on the “the beauty and delicious rewards of frugality” and how the humblest foods can be the most profoundly satisfying. In addition to 50 recipes, Talbott shares approaches and techniques that can change the way a cook thinks about economy, improvisation, and using all the flavors and nutrients inherent in each ingredient. A Chez Panisse graduate, Talbott was chosen by Alice Waters to be Executive Chef of the innovative Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome. There, while cooking for the Academy’s creative community of scholars, historians, artists, archaeologists, and architects, Talbott perfected a repertoire of dishes made from local, seasonal, organic ingredients. Central to the menu are soups.

Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of The American Academy in Rome

By Mona Talbott and Mirella Misenti, Photographs Annie Schlechter

The Rome Sustainable Food Project, a program devoted to providing organic, local, and sustainable meals for the community of the American Academy in Rome, has launched a delicious revolution to rethink institutional dining. Headed by chef Mona Talbott, a Chez Panisse alum, and guided by Alice Waters, the menus have given rise to a new, authentic cuisine inspired by la cucina romana, Chez Panisse, and the collective experience of those working in the AAR kitchen. Biscotti is the first book in the series. Each volume, covering a single subject, contains authentic, simple recipes for favorite dishes served at the academy’s communal table, narrated with carefully explained techniques and methods–suitable for both the home cook and the institutional kitchen.

Italy Dish by Dish: A Comprehensive Guide to Eating in Italy

By Monica Sartoni Cesari

Italy Dish by Dish describes more than 3,000 dishes you’ll find throughout every region of Italy. Even if you speak fluent Italian, regional terms for food and dishes can be confusing. No longer—with this translator you’ll know exactly what’s on the menu, how it’s cooked, what ingredients it contains, and how it fits into la cucina italiana. Lovers of good food and Italian culture will find this guide an irresistible and indispensable stew of culinary information, definitions, and local lore. And any cook will soon realize that the detailed descriptions of hundreds of dishes also serve as mini recipes that can easily be followed to create hundreds of authentic meals at home.

Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life

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Frances Mayes, author of Under The Tuscan Sun, opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.

Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy

by Joseph Bastianich & David Lynch

At one time, Italian wines conjured images of cheap Chianti in straw-wrapped bottles. More recently, expensive “Super Tuscans” have been the rage. But between these extremes lies a bounty of delicious, moderately priced wines that belong in every wine drinker’s repertoire. Vino Italiano is the only comprehensive and authoritative American guide to the wines of Italy. It surveys the country’s wine-producing regions; identifies key wine styles, producers, and vintages; and offers delicious regional recipes. Extensive reference materials—on Italy’s 300 growing zones, 361 authorized grape varieties, and 200 of the top producers— provide essential information for restaurateurs and wine merchants, as well as for wine enthusiasts.

Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style From the Heart of Italy

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When Frances Mayes fell in love with Tuscany and Bramasole, millions of readers basked in the experience through her three bestselling memoirs. Now Frances and her husband, In Tuscany coauthor Edward, share the essence of Tuscan life as they have lived it, with specific ideas and inspiration for readers stateside to bring the beauty and spirit of Tuscany into their own home decor, meals, gardens, entertaining and, most important, outlook on life. In her inimitable warm and evocative tone, Frances helps readers develop an eye for authentic Tuscan style, with advice on how to:

• Choose a Tuscan color palette for the home, from earthy apricot tones to invigorating shades of antique blue.

• Personalize a room with fanciful door frames, unique painted furniture, and fresco murals.

• Cultivate a Tuscan garden, adding fountains, vine-covered pergolas, and terra-cotta urns among the herbs and flowers

• Select the best Italian vino. (Frances describes lunches at regional vineyards and imparts tips for pairing food and wine.)

• Create an atmosphere of irresistible, anytime hospitality—a casa aperta (open home).

• Make primo finds at local antiques markets. (And to help truly bring Tuscany home, shipping advice and market days for several Tuscan towns are included.)

• Set an imaginative Tuscan table using majolica and vintage linens.

• Enjoy the abundant flavors and easy simplicity of the Tuscan kitchen, with details on everything from olive oil and vino santo to pici and gnocchi, plus special homegrown menus and recipes.

• Make the most of a trip to Tuscany, visiting Frances’s favorite hill towns, restaurants, small museums, and other soothing places.

With more than 100 photos by acclaimed photographer Steven Rothfeld (including several of the Mayes’s California home and its Tuscan accents), 25 all-new recipes, and lists of resources for travelers and shoppers, Bringing Tuscany Home is a treasure trove of practical advice and memorable images.