Home to one of the world’s most renowned cuisines, Italian food is known for its simple flavors and longstanding traditions. While Italians are steadfast about safeguarding their classic recipes, a new slew of Italian cookbooks dive deeper into the country’s regional cuisine and highlight lesser-known ingredients, chefs and producers. Taste your way through il Bel Paese with these Italian cookbooks and travelogues dedicated to our favorite country of them all.
From the heel of Italy’s boot to the northern waters of the Gulf of Trieste that border Slovenia, the Adriatic coastline is full of a rich, natural history that is reflected throughout the region’s cuisine. In Adriatico, Paola Bacchia explores the tastes of the rocky coastlines through dishes enjoyed in its colorful, sea-facing villages. From seafood recipes like eggplants stuffed with sardines and spicy marinated mussels to “popped” tomatoes stewed with capers, savor the salinity of the Mediterranean in your kitchen.
A Table In Venice
Join Skye McAlpine in A Table In Venice as she takes you along on her morning shop at the local market, wanders over the lagoon’s scenic bridges, and treats you to the region’s Risi e Bisi (rice and peas) paired with a glass of prosecco, all laid out on classic Venetian dinnerware. This beautiful cookbook will teach you how to stir up the perfect Spritz and spoil your dinner guests with McAlpine’s famed recipes, including her delectable torta caprese, covered with mascarpone icing.
The best conversations always seem to revolve around the table, especially when food is shared as small bites and enjoyed with a glass in hand. In Piatti, Stacy Adimando celebrates Italian appetizers and provides inventive recipes for all occasions and seasons. Spring brings us ricotta tartlets and broccolini frittata, while summer gives us roasted cherries and olive oil cornmeal cake. No matter the season, your guests will appreciate the fine art of antipasti.
Old World Italian
Mimi Thorisson splits her life between Médoc and Turin and captures the Italian joie-de-vivre and French spirit of je ne sais quoi the way few others can. In her latest book, Old World Italian, Thorisson explores Italy’s rich regional cuisine together with her family. From spaghetti with zucchini blossoms and chickpea soup with maltagliati pasta to pistachio and lemon pound cake, you’ll fall in love with her outlook on food, family, love, and life (and her photographer husband, Oddur Thorisson’s, dreamy imagery).
Sardinia, a designated Blue Zone island on the Mediterranean sea, is a place of beauty, magic, and simplicity. In Bitter Honey, Letitia Clark shows us how to bring the slow and simple beauty of the Sardinian lifestyle into our dishes at home. Learn how to cook artichokes in four different ways, roast eggplants with honey, mint, garlic, and burrata, or try your hand at making sour cherry ice cream. You’ll be transported to the glittering waters and laid-back paradise in no time.
The New Cucina Italiana
Award-winning journalist Laura Lazzaroni’s The New Cucina Italiana showcases thirty-two talented chefs and creative restaurant owners who are reinventing Italian cuisine for the 21st century. Try your hand at Michelin-starred Niko Romito’s Sourdough Potato Bread and discover what inspires brave young chef, Paolo Lopriore, to take risks in an industry that is so rooted in tradition. Join Lazzaroni as she takes readers on a journey into a brave new culinary world.
The Italian Table
In The Italian Table, Elizabeth Minchilli celebrates the art of eating and gathering around the table in this cookbook travelogue dedicated to Italy’s regional cuisine. Escape to a seaside dinner table in Positano where mozzarella is served grilled in between lemon leaves, taste tortelli stuffed with fresh ricotta and swiss chard in Emilia-Romagna for lunch, and visit a Florence market for a traditional slice of apple cake with someone you love.
Lose yourself in the pages of Bennison’s Pasta Grannies as she tells the story of an Italian icon, “la nonna”, as she kneads, shapes and prepares classic Italian recipes by hand. Pasqualina and Maria will teach you how to cook tagliatelle with tomato and anchovy sauce, while Rosetta will show you her infamous trofie with basil pesto. And if you’re feeling adventurous, Monica shows you the art of cooking pasta baskets with ricotta and lemon. Learn more about Pasta Grannies in our Q&A with Vicky Bennison.
Katie Parla and Kristina Gill
In Tasting Rome, Katie Parla and Kristina Gill serve up the Eternal City’s 2,000-year-old cuisine through beautiful images and recipes that are sure to whet your palate. Not only will you learn how to replicate Roman staples like tonnarelli cacio e pepe and fiore di zucca, you’ll learn about the cultural influences that influenced Rome’s popular culinary traditions, like Jewish traditions and the quinto quarto (offal). Explore street food, learn the differences between guanciale and pancetta, and more.
In Florentine, Emiko Davies showcases the tantalizing cuisine of the Tuscan capital through captivating photographs of Florence’s bakery windows, pastry shops, wine bars, and market stalls. You’ll learn how to prepare pizza da bar (bar-style pizza), pappardelle all’anatra (ribbons of pasta with duck sauce), and a gorgeous sorbetto di susine (plum sorbet). Flipping through the pages of Florentine is the next best thing to strolling throughout the streets of Florence themselves.
Pasta, Pane, Vino
With a forward that begins with a conversation between Matt Goulding and the late Anthony Bourdain, Pasta, Pane, Vino takes readers on a travelogue throughout the culinary regions of Italy and introduces you to its culinary and enological stars. Goulding teaches you how to drink like an Italian (hint: cappuccinos are reserved from sunrise to 11 AM), arrange a charcuterie board and prepare nourishing meals that will take you on an experience beyond the plate.
Thanks to Domenica Marchetti’s cookbook, you can savor the taste of Italy year round. From canning, curing, and infusing, Preserving Italy features 150 recipes to create and store in your pantry. Marchetti shares long-standing family recipes including preserved sweet and sour peppers, lemon-infused olive oil, sour cherries in alcohol, and even Marsala-spiked apricot jam. Try your hand at these fun recipes and a little taste of Italy to every dish you make!
Five Quarters invites you into Rachel Roddy’s home in Testaccio, a beloved neighborhood located in southern Rome. This cookbook takes its title from the capital’s “quinto quarto” tradition which saw offal and innards cooked down to create something delicious, though Five Quarters also features plant-based dishes that pay homage to Rome’s “poor man cuisine”. From cipolline in agrodolce alla Romana (Roman style sweet and sour onions) to pollo alla cacciatore (hunter’s-style rabbit), Roddy brings the flavors of Testaccio right into your kitchen.
Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
In Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau’s Spritz, you’ll not only learn how to stir up the perfect Aperol Spritz. You’ll also learn about the rise of Italian aperitivo and café culture, sacred traditions carried out by Italians from north to south. Impress your guests with delicious and refreshing cocktails, including Negroni Sbagliato, Hugo Spritz, Mont Blanc Fizz and the Punch Romaine. You’ll be transported to the canals of Venice or the sunny shores of Capri in no time.
I Heart Rome
Maria Pasquale’s I Heart Rome is equal parts love letter and cookbook that celebrates the streets of the Eternal City – and its cuisine. Master Roman primi like amatriciana and carbonara before moving on to the city’s most popular contorni, including deep fried artichokes and zucchini blossoms stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies for a kick. Interlaced with stories of Roman markets and beautiful photos to match, you too are guaranteed to heart Rome.
Slow-cooked Tuscan ragù, juicy peaches tinged ruby-red with Chianti wine, a fluffy panettone bread pudding…need we say more? In Autentico, Rolando Bermendi celebrates the simplicity, and magnificence, of letting ingredients shine through uncomplicated dishes. Orecchiete with sausage and broccoli rabe, roasted pork belly with wild fennel and cabbage rolls stuffed with farro and melted fontina are just some of the delicious recipes you’ll find in this gem.
A region known for its farm-to-table cooking and close knit communities, Calabria is home to countless recipes that are passed down from generation to generation. My Calabria by Rosetta Costantino takes readers on an unforgettable trip throughout the region through recipes that celebrate both the land and the sea. From cooking with Tropea’s famous red onions to perfectly preparing swordfish, purple eggplants and golden figs, there’s a recipe here for every adventurous food lover.
Italy At Home: Books That Will Transport You To Italy