• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Craig Camp

Italian Cookbooks – The Best Of

201 posts in this topic

There are a thousands of Italian cookbooks out there. Which books have you found most useful and which books are the best at dealing with ingredients that are hard to find outside of Italy?

My current favorite is Food and Memories of Abruzzo by Anna Teresa Callen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Gastronomy of Italy right now...Marcella's Classics, of course...and a Bugialli book on island cooking.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bugialli's Foods of Sicily and Sardinia and the Smaller Islands is wonderful, especially the pictures.

Pellegrino Artusi's Art of Eating Well is also great -- I have the Kyle Phillips translation but apparently a new and more complete one has just been published. Ada Boni's Talismano della Felicita.

And Elizabeth David's Italian Food, of course.


Edited by Jonathan Day (log)

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'The Splendid Table',by Lynn Rosetto Kasper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt Kramer's Passion for Piedmont, as much to read as for the recipes; anything by Biba Caggiano; Marcella for sure; Fred Plotkin's Recipes from Paradise (Ligurian)


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My limitation as a home cook is that I am too dependent on recipes, and am hesitant to adapt or change things too much..so Nancy Verde Barr's book, Make it Italian, is a great choice for me..she provides a recipe, then suggests variationson each dish. It has encouraged me to experiment . I also enjoy Lidia's Italian Table, for its great shellfish recipes and easy antipasti's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite Italian book that I own is Antipasti by Julia Della Croce. I have made some wonderful things from this book. I also am currently enjoying Biba Caggiano's Biba's taste of Italy.

I also have books by Kasper and Hazan but find Hazan's stuff on the bland side and Kasper's stuff too complicated and with a lot of ingredients I can't find,


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Classical and Contemporary Italian Cooking for Professionals by Bruno Ellmer is a good resource to have at hand. A lot of the dishes are complex and outside the scope of what one might normally prepare, but there are a few simple gems as well.

hal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bugialli's Foods of Sicily and Sardinia and the Smaller Islands is wonderful, especially the pictures.

This is the same one I have...couldn't remember the name. Another newer book with simple recipes and wonderful stories is Anna Tosca Lanza's most recent book on Sicilian cooking.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Splendid Table is terrific. But an excellent book that is overlooked is Tuscan Women. Forgot who wrote it. But some great recipes in there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the Tables of Tuscan Women -- Anne Bianchi.

I also like Carol Field's In Nonna's Kitchen and also her Celebrations of Italy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the one. Great book. I don't like the Carol Field books as much as other people do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You sometimes have to fiddle with Carol Field's recipes, but then they taste really good.

Another one of Anne Bianchi's books that I like is Italian Festival Food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like The Villa Table and Lorenza's Pasta by Lorenza de Medici.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni. That's the one I go to first for just about everything. After that, Marcella Hazan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Craig

My favourite Italian cookbooks that I couldn’t be without are:-

The Food of Italy – Claudia Roden

Sicilian Home Cooking – Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene

Cucina Siciliana – Clarissa Hyman

And all three of Mario Batali’s books

Plus of course Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s book, which is almost a travel guide for me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now I am enjoying cooking from Rao's Cookbook...pretty basic Italian-American cuisine - but the results are great...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cucina Simpatica.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Claudia Roden - The Food of Italy: very good on the different regions of Italy, with fascinating little essays on each area of the country, and the recipes are simple without being bland. If you only know her from her Middle Eastern books, I highly recommend it.

Oh, and there's meant to be a new book on regional Italian cooking published by the Slow Food Movement coming out later this year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't worked up to the classics yet. But a great overall review for the basic Italian cook is Regional Italian Cuisine (Barron's). Their versions of the standards, i.e. Ribollita, Melanzane parmigiana, etc., are excellent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am an avid home cook who would like to cook Italian more often. One of the reasons I haven't is that I have a lack of quality Italian cookbooks. I have looked at a lot of them in new and used bookstores but have a hard time telling a particularly good or important book from an average or poor one (without buying it and trying out recipes). With French food, I took the approach of learning the canon of important chefs (Escoffier, F. Point, Bocuse, etc.) and styles, as well as the different regional cuisines, and used this as a basis to select books. With Italian, I can certainly learn the different culinary regions, but have had a harder time understanding the canon of important chefs (i.e. who learned from whom, etc.)

I would like to ask the eGullet community for a recommendation of Italian cookbooks that are must-haves. Here are the conditions:

1. Books by Italian chefs who have influenced a number of other Italian chefs (and hopefully still influence them today).

2. Good regional cookbooks, particularly those with details on the ingredients and customs of a given area (Paula Wolfert's Cooking of South-West France is a good example of the type of regional cookbook I like.)

3. No contemporary restaurant cookbooks, particularly if they are from Italian-American restaurants (I have the Rao's cookbook and have looked at the Babbo and, while they have their strong points, this is not the type of thing I am looking for.)

Any details you can provide on why these books are important (i.e. who the author is, how they have influenced Italian cooking, etc.) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for the assistance.


"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Food of Italy by Waverly Root is an old but very useful survey of Italian regional cooking, but it is not a cookbook.

Fred Plotkin's La Terra Fortunata is highly regarded, and seems very authentic for Friuli-Venezia Giulia. He has another book on Liguria. I really like Marcella Hazan for Reggio-Emilia, but i am no judge of its authenticity. This book is particularly useful, because it's from the sixties, so she really makes an effort to explain the basic concepts.


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By yentakaren
      Hi there Italian chefs around the world -    Two years ago (while visiting my family in New York - we live for 25 years in California))  we went to New York and ate in an Italian Restaurant in Syosset Long Island, New York (Steve's Piccola Bussola) and ordered their Chicken Cacciatore.  It was unbelievable, so savory and tender and juice and it had 4 lean and juicy (no skin, no fat, no gristle) rollups wrapped around what looked like a small (about 1-2" rib bone) (in chicken???_ was able to get some of the recipe because I called them 2x, but after 5 tries at various times, I am giving up.  He (the chef) said they used thighs - but the thighs I know are fatty and tough so I don't know where they got it.  He said they buy the whole chickens and cut it up, so I guess they can get rid of the fat,skin and gristle that way.   One, because I am never able to get their dark brown sauce (don't know how they do it because having a brown sauce by working with chicken, mushrooms, wine and onions is an enigma.  Their sauce is not sweet, or sour just rich and savory.   I saw the kind of sauce that it was when I saw the recipe of Hubert Keller's Beef Borguignon on TV, but it looked soooo difficult and was made with meat, not chicken. That has meat rollups sitting in a dark brown sauce.   Help!  I want to learn how to make that.   The initial recipe that they gave me was this:     Take chicken and cut it into pieces the size of a meatball with or without the bone.
      Take olive oil and make very hot.  Brown.  Add 2 cups chicken stock, salt and pepper, parsley, and simmer for ½ hour.  After brown, put until broiler and brown some more.
      In another skillet, put mushrooms, onions, little tomato sauce, and when sizzling and hot, add white wine (or Marsala) and cook in pan – ½ hour.  Add butter to thicken – but do not boil after butter melts
      Said I can also put a little tomato sauce in there - maybe it was tomato paste.
      After ready, marry the two and cook another 15 minutes all together (or not) – just eat it.
       
      Below is a photo of Steve's Chicken Cacciatore - I know it looks like beef, but this is chicken!
       
       

    • By CanadianSportsman
      Greetings,

      I've cooked several recipes from Keller's "Bouchon" the last couple of weeks, and have loved them all! At the moment (as in right this minute) I'm making the boeuf Bourguignon, and am a little confused about the red wine reduction. After reducing the wine, herbs, and veg for nearly an hour now, I'm nowhere near the consistancy of a glaze that Keller specifies. In fact, it looks mostly like the veg is on the receiving end of most of it. Is this how the recipe is meant to be? Can anybody tell me what kind of yield is expected? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you, kindly. 
    • By Lam
      I have been experiementing with macarons these last few months, and I have yet to make perfect macarons. Most of the macarons I have made are hollow on the inside. They're so hollow, if I nudge them a bit, the top crust just comes right off. They still taste decent but not what a successful macaron should be like. I don't think I am overbeating my meringue at all. They are always firm and stiff. I have tried whipping a little less than I usually do but still get hollows. I did some research and saw a few people recommend adding a bit of cornstarch to the dry mix. Yep. Cornstarch.  This really perplexed me because I always see people saying not to use powdered sugar that contains cornstarch, so how could adding cornstarch prevent hollow macs? I also saw one person use tapioca starch to prevent hollows as well. This time around, I whipped the meringue at a much longer time, but no higher than speed 7 (kitchenaid), which gave me a super stable meringue. I also added cornstarch. I piped the batter out, and they looked super perfect the first few minutes in the oven. Sadly, they came out very wrinkled. The first batch was super wrinkled, but the second batch was less wrinkled, or bumpy even. Not sure if this is because of the silpat for the first batch and the parchment pper for the second hmm. Does anyone know what I did wrong to get these wrinkled macs and how to troubleshoot? Also some help on hollow macs would be appreciated! Thanks




    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
    • By Paul Fink
      This unfortunately titled book changed my life. I always enjoyed cooking and idealized Julia Child &
      Jacque Pepin. But I was a typical home cook. I would see a recipe and try to duplicate it little understanding about what I was doing.
       
      Cooking the Nouvelle Cuisine in America talked about a philosophy of cooking. It showed me that there is more depth to cooking. A history. A philosophy.
      The recipes are very approachable and you can make them on a budget from grocery store ingredients. I read it as a grad student in Oregon, in the late 80's I had access to lots of fresh ingredients. And some very nice wines, cheap! I was suppose to be studying physics but I end up learning more about wine & cooking.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.