The Best Italian Cookbooks for Making Delicious Classic Recipes in 2022

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waiting for much of my childhood in Rome, I think back to the aromas of fresh lemons growing in the garden, a pasta sauce big enough to feed a village bubbling for hours, and my nonna, who is in every way sight of the stereotypical Italian Grandmother, rolling, peeling and frying all kinds of food. Because in Italy, how can you show love and affection other than through food?

For many years, delicious Italian food was reduced to simple pasta and pizza in the UK – but that’s starting to change. This particular style of Mediterranean cuisine is experiencing its own British renaissance, so there’s no better time to explore the culinary delights, and we’ve got the cookbooks to guide you on your journey of culinary discovery.

It’s now easier than ever to cook authentic Italian food with brands such as Crosta & Mollica available in supermarkets and the mecca of Italian cuisine and glorious gastronomy, Eataly opens its doors with a 42,000 square foot location in Liverpool Street in London.

In fact, we teamed up with Eataly this week to try our hand at making the classic and surprisingly simple dish of cacio e pepe (which literally translates to cheese and pepper).

Of course, we couldn’t write an article about Italian cuisine without mentioning the aperitif, a tradition of drinks and light snacks enjoyed socially before dinner. While we all know and love an Aperol or Campari spritz, the aperitif is much more than that. If you’re looking to try your hand at refreshing Italian cocktails, check out Amaro Santoni or Italicus, two delicious spirits that will elevate your summer drinking.

There is an old Italian adage, which my father always reminds me of when I visit home; “bussare con i piedi” which literally translates to hitting with the feet. Why? Because your hands will be so full of gifts. These are usually pastries, homemade pasta or fruits and vegetables from the garden.

The delicious Italian cookbooks below range from simple home cooking to elaborate dishes that will impress your friends and family so you too will cheer. bussare con i piedi.

Bitter honey: recipes and stories from the island of Sardinia

Amazon

Best for: Explore the Italian Islands

Off the Italian coast, west of Rome, lies the second largest island in the Mediterranean: Sardinia. Bitter Honey is an ode to both the history and culinary delights of this region and the book features delicious recipes mixed with personal stories from Chef Letitia Clark’s time.

The recipe that stands out is roasted eggplant with burrata and honey, which is simple, hearty and will please everyone.

Big Mamma Cucina Popolare

Amazon

Best for: Instagramable food

Causing a frenzy with each new opening, the Big Mamma restaurant group has taken London by storm. This book is based on one of its most popular hotspots – Circolo Popolare – where if you haven’t visited it yet, you’ll no doubt have seen the beautifully designed drinks wall on your Instagram feed. The recipes put a creative twist on classic dishes.

There are 120 included with tastes of Tiramisu and carbonara as well as inventive dishes like Burrata Flower Power. We recommend the Egg Sheeran or the Daft Punch – not just for punny tracks, but they’re both perfect for a summer day.

La Cucina: the regional cuisine of Italy

Amazon

Best for: The Complete Works of Italian Cuisine

La Cucina reveals authentic Italian recipes that perfectly sum up the various regional specialties. This huge book offers more than 2000 recipes divided into eight chapters: antipasti, pizzas and sauces, pasta, polenta and rice, seafood, meats and poultry, vegetables, cheeses and sweets and liqueurs. It’s also comprehensive in its coverage of the whole country – with dishes from the northernmost part all the way to the island of Sicily.

We thought the Sweet and Sour Meatballs in Tomato Sauce were delicious and simple to make and could be washed down with any of the many liqueurs listed in the book.

Naples and the Amalfi Coast

Amazon

Best for: regional cuisine

We were first drawn to this cookbook for its beautiful design, but kept reading for its in-depth knowledge of such a gastronomically rich region of Italy.

Part of the Silver Spoon cookbook series, this book covers local dishes such as pizza Margherita as well as lesser-known fennel cookies. It showcases local regional products like buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and lemons (the three best ingredients!).

This book is a perfect gift for anyone who loves to cook and will make a nice colorful addition to any kitchen shelf or coffee table.

Sicilia: A love letter to Sicilian gastronomy

Amazon

Best for: Seafood lovers

Titled “A Love Letter to Sicilian Cooking,” this cookbook does exactly what it says on the box. In 304 pages, it perfectly encapsulates Sicily’s cultural influences, regional specialties and dichotomy between simplicity and extravagance.

We recommend this cookbook to seafood lovers as it features great recipes like Sicilian Octopus and Chickpea Stew and Roasted Whole Squid. There are also a number of vegetarian recipes that use tasty ingredients such as artichokes and eggplant. Make sure you have a stocked spice cabinet because, inspired by North African cuisine, these recipes are bursting with flavor.

Perfect pasta at home

Amazon

Best for: Pasta

If you’ve been anywhere in London in recent months you’ve almost certainly seen an advert for Pasta Evangelist, the pasta home delivery service. Now their cookbook lets you make these comforting recipes at home in just 10 minutes. All 80 recipes feature the brand’s eponymous ingredient, naturally making this a must-have cookbook for pasta lovers.

We love how the book is divided by the time it takes to cook the dish (10, 20, or 30 minutes), which means you’ll find a recipe suitable for quick and easy dinner parties or jaw-dropping banquets. If you have some time be sure to try the lasagna which came out wonderfully.

The Italian Bakery

Amazon

Best for: Italian desserts

No cookbook summary would be complete with a mention of the wonderful world of Italian desserts. Often overshadowed by French pastries or British cakes, Italian dolci (sweet treats) are still uncharted territory for many of us. This cookbook includes 140 recipes that are both classic and accessible, ranging from cakes and pastries to chocolates and pies.

The dolci in this book are perfect for special occasion celebrations or everyday indulgences. We found the 50 Basic Recipes for Basic Baking particularly helpful with step-by-step images that are helpful if you’re getting into this style of cooking for the first time.

Franco Manca: an artisan pizza to make perfectly at home

Amazon

Best for: Pizza

The iconic pizzeria, Franco Manca, has burst around London with 60 establishments and counts in the UK. Affordable yet delicious sourdough pizzas can now be made in the comfort of your own home with the Franco Manca Pizza cookbook and what’s more, there’s no need for a traditional wood-fired oven. The book also includes recipes on fried entrees, salads, and how to make your own flavored oils to drizzle on your pizza or other meals. This summer, try Franco Manca’s limited edition No8 pizza made with mozzarella, stilton, spinach and roasted hazelnuts.

The Italian Deli Cookbook

Amazon

Best for: Understanding Italian Ingredients

If you want to learn more about Italian products and ingredients, this cookbook is for you. It showcases hundreds of Italy’s most beloved foods, ranging from charcuterie to olives to wine. Many of these recipes are very easy to prepare and adapt well, so if you are cooking for a large group. The likes of Truffle Scrambled Egg Bruschetta or Zucchini Olive and Ricotta Bruschetta are likely to become staples in your kitchen. Some of the items are pricey but totally worth it once the flavors of Italy burst in your mouth.

Eataly: all about pasta

Amazon

Best for: A lesson in the history of Italian cuisine

You can never really have enough pasta cookbooks – and this option from the experts at Eataly has some amazing recipes. Not only that, but this book is the encyclopedia on all things spaghetti, ravioli and more, covering its history, best sauce pairings, different shapes and how to shop for the best quality.

This cookbook also has pasta dishes for all dietary requirements, and carnivores will devour the vegan kale fusilli with butternut squash as much as the duck and olive stew sauce.


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Rozella J. Cook