In honor of our Books, Spice, and Everything Nice theme (and spice club!), we’ll be doing a monthly round-up of our cookbooks. We have a really nice and extensive collection, but it’s easy to get lost in the sheer number of them. Hopefully these posts help! 🙂 In honor of our January spice anise, we’ll be focusing on Italian cookbooks this month.
Biba Caggiano’s Biba’s Taste of Italy: Recipes from the Homes, Trattorie and Restaurants of Emilia-Romagna (2001)
Biba’s book is region-specific, focused on her native Emilia-Romagna, the home of the famed culinary city of Bologna. This Northern Italian region is noted for its rich food traditions, and you couldn’t ask for a better guide to it than restaurateur and professional chef Biba Caggiano. Her cookbook includes everything from antipasto appetizers to main dishes to sides to desserts.
Allen Rucker and Michele Scicolone’s The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco (2002)
This book is very meta–essays and recipes written in the voice of characters from the HBO show–and your enjoyment is probably predicated on either how much you liked the show or how amusing you find that concept. If you’re looking for a straightforward cookbook, this probably isn’t it. But if you don’t mind the concept, this is an amusing and informative cookbook that highlights a lot of tasty Neapolitan American dishes and food traditions.
Cook’s Library: Pasta and Italian (2002)
The title of this book is a little odd–it really overemphasizes the importance of pasta in the cookbook itself. It’s a chapter rather than half the content, as the title implies, but the book itself is actually a very nice overview of Italian cuisine, including lesser-known dishes that tend to not be in the public mind. It’s also easy to use, with clear coding on difficulty level and preparation/cooking time for each recipe.
Lisa Wagner’s Cool Italian Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids (2011)
If you have a budding young chef in your house, they’ll love this fun, educational kids’ cookbook. In addition to providing material on kitchen basics and essential Italian ingredients, it also includes kid-friendly recipes for alfredo, lasagna, meatballs, granitas, and more.
Vanessa Maltin’s The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook: Spicing Up Life with Italian, Asian, and Mexican Recipes (2010)
If you have celiac disease and miss your favorite Italian dishes, try this cookbook from a chef who also has the same condition. Maltin offers up gluten-free recipes for sauces, pastas, risottos, and more in her chapter on Italian cooking. Just be forewarned that this is not a diet cookbook, so it’s not intended for folks who are gluten-free for dieting.
Ann Hood’s Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food (2018)
Writer Ann Hood’s food memoir is not solely focused on Italian food. It spans all manner of dishes from her life, but she writes with a lot of warmth and nostalgia about her Italian American mother and grandmother’s cooking and includes family recipes for sauce/gravy and meatballs, among other tasty dishes.
Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses (2002)
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you might want to try making your own cheese. If that’s the case, this book offers instructions on how to make lots of different cheeses, including a whole chapter on Italian cheeses. You can learn how to make your own Parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, and more.
Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes: A Cookbook (2009)
Lidia Bastianich is one of the best-known Italian chefs in America, so we couldn’t leave out a Lidia book in our roundup of Italian cookbooks. We have a couple of her books in the system, but this one is a very nice overview of the cuisine of the different regions in Italy. Unlike other cookbooks, which are structured by course, this one is by region, so you can see what’s cooking in kitchens from the mountains of Northern Italy to the tip of the boot in Southern Italy.
What’s your favorite Italian dish? What are you cooking in January? What’s your favorite Italian cookbook? Tell us in the comments, and I’ll tell you my favorite Italian cookbook, which isn’t listed! 🙂