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The 15 Best Italian Cookbooks of All Time

Discover the ultimate guide to authentic Italian cooking with our curated list of the top 15 Italian cookbooks. From classic recipes to modern twists.

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Welcome to our blog. You've come to the right place if you're looking for the best Italian cookbooks of all time. Here I highlight their author's and book's key features and the impact they have had on Italian cuisine.

Italian cuisine, with dishes like pasta, pizza, and gelato, is beloved and influential in the culinary world and enjoyed by people all over the globe.

At the heart of Italian cooking are traditional recipes passed down through generations and shared through cookbooks. These Italian cookbooks preserve and share Italy's rich culinary heritage.

This article focuses on identifying famous Italian cookbooks of all time, exploring factors that contribute to a cookbook's quality and popularity, and offering recommendations for the top Italian cookbooks in the field.

Whether seasoned in Italian cooking or just starting to learn, these cookbooks inspire and delight.

These are the best Italian cookbooks of all time that you should definitely try out.


The 15 Best Italian Cookbooks of all time that will make you feel like a master chef! 

Italian cuisine, with its rich and varied culinary tradition and deeply rooted dishes, has history and culture. 

From the creamy risottos of the north to the spicy sausage and peppers of the south, each region of Italy has its own unique flavors and specialties.

Cookbooks preserve and share these traditional dishes while also exploring Italy's food culture and culinary traditions. 

The best Italian cookbooks provide insight into Italian cookbook authors shaping culinary arts, the impact of Italian culinary history on contemporary cooking, and how Italian cuisine has evolved over time. 

Classic Italian recipes, such as pasta Alla carbonara and tiramisu, undergo subtle changes as they are adapted and passed down through the generations, reflecting the changing tastes and cultural influences of Italian society and the creative vision of Italian cookbook authors. 

Here are some of the top Italian cookbooks of all time, each with its own unique features and highlights:

Related TopicsBest CookBooks

0. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: I have extensive experience cooking various types of cuisine but Italian is my favorite. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan is my go-to cookbook for authentic Italian dishes. 

Hazan imparts her knowledge and love for Italian food, revealing secrets and wisdom passed down through centuries. She masterfully shows how to make delicious Italian dishes using simple ingredients. 

Her recipes are easy to follow and often take less than half an hour to prepare. I have made over 50 of the recipes in the book, with favorites being Sausage with Red Cabbage, Lamb Stew with Vinegar and Green Beans, and Chicken Cacciatore New Version. 

Hazan's method for cooking onions and garlic has improved my cooking techniques. Her sauces and stews are delicious and take stew to a new level. I have not yet attempted to make homemade pasta but Hazan's method is likely the best. 

The book covers all types of Italian dishes including pasta, soups, risotto, gnocchi, crespelle, polenta, frittata, appetizers, salads, desserts, and specialized bread and doughs. 

The final chapter helps with menu planning. The book is not repetitive or uninteresting as some reviewers have said. It covers all of the traditional Italian dishes and even includes recipes for pizza. 

Reading Hazan's book not only leads to delicious meals but also imparts knowledge and perspective on Italian cuisine.

1. The Silver Spoon by Phaidon Press 

The Silver Spoon by Phaidon Press: The Silver Spoon is the most influential and successful cookbook in Italy. Originally published in 1950, it became an instant classic. Considered to be essential in every household, it is still one of the most popular wedding presents today.

A group of cooking experts was commissioned to collect hundreds of traditional recipes from different Italian regions and make them available for the first time to a wider audience. 

In the process, they updated ingredients, quantities, and methods to suit contemporary tastes and customs, at the same time preserving the memory of ancient recipes for future generations. 

They also included modern recipes from some of the most famous Italian chefs, resulting in a style of cooking that appeals to the gourmet as well as the occasional cook

A comprehensive and lively book, its simple and user-friendly format makes it both accessible and a pleasure to read. It provides an introduction to every course and an explanation of the main type of ingredients. 

The Silver Spoon has now been adapted to an international market, with every recipe checked for suitability, measurements converted, and methods rewritten to accommodate cultural differences while maintaining the authenticity of real Italian cooking.

The new layout emphasizes its contemporary appeal and the color coding of each section simplifies the process of cross-referencing ingredients and methods. 

A section with original menus from the 15 most famous Italian chefs of the last 50 years has been expanded to include original menus from Italian celebrity chefs working outside Italy.

This is a substantial and prestigious cookbook that will share the bookshelves with other titles such as The Joy of Cooking and Larousse Gastronomique, another classic of national cuisine. 

With over 2,000 recipes illustrated with specially commissioned artwork and photography, the book is destined to become a classic in the Italian cooking booklist for the international market.

2. Mastering Pasta by Marc Vetri 

"Mastering Pasta" by Marc Vetri and David Joachim leads readers through the process of pasta-making, teaching everything from basic pasta doughs to advanced techniques like making stuffed pasta and gnocchi. 

Clear instructions and step-by-step photographs make this book a valuable resource for both novice and experienced pasta-makers.

It includes a wide range of recipes for pasta dishes, including both traditional and modern variations, as well as recipes for homemade pasta dough and sauces. 

In addition to the recipes, the book also includes chapters on pairing pasta with wine and selecting the best ingredients. 

Mastering Pasta is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to improve their skills in the kitchen and learn more about the art of pasta making.

3. The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan 

The Classic Italian CookbookMarcella Hazan introduced Americans to a whole new world of Italian food. In this, magnum opus, she gives us a manual for cooks of every level of expertise—from beginners to accomplished professionals.

On these pages, home cooks will discover:

  • Minestrone alla Romagnola
  • Tortelli Stuffed with Parsley and Ricotta
  • Risotto with Clams
  • Squid and Potatoes, Genoa Style
  • Chicken Cacciatora
  • Ossobuco in Bianco
  • Meatballs and Tomatoes
  • Artichoke Torta
  • Crisp-Fried Zucchini blossoms
  • Sunchoke and Spinach Salad
  • Chestnuts Boiled in Red Wine, Romagna Style
  • Polenta Shortcake with Raisins, Dried Figs, and Pine Nuts
  • Zabaglione
  • And much more

This is the go-to Italian cookbook for students, newlyweds, and master chefs, alike. Beautifully illustrated with line drawings throughout, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking brings together nearly five hundred of the most delicious recipes from the Italian repertoire in one indispensable volume. 

As the generations of readers who have turned to it over the years know (and as their spattered and worn copies can attest), there is no more passionate and inspiring guide to the cuisine of Italy.

4. The Four Seasons of Pasta by Nancy Harmon Jenkins 

The Four Seasons of Pasta: There are few ingredients in a cook’s pantry that beat out pasta—for tastiness, ease of preparation, versatility, and sheer delight. It’s irresistible to all and perfect for every occasion. 

In The Four Seasons of Pasta, Sara Jenkins and Nancy Harmon Jenkins celebrate the Italian native that has become a beloved American staple.

Jenkins and her mom draw on their own background in Italy, where they’ve lived, cooked, studied, and worked in Rome and Florence, and on a Tuscan olive farm for many years. 

Today, Sara is a highly accomplished chef and owner of Porsena and Porchetta, two restaurants in New York’s East Village while Nancy is a nationally known food journalist and authority on the Mediterranean diet, with a number of prominent cookbooks to her credit (including The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook and Flavors of Tuscany).

The Four Seasons of Pasta brings together more than 120 recipes focused on seasonal ingredients from supermarkets and farmstands across America, from the gamey meat ragus, chestnuts, and brilliant pumpkins in autumn to summer’s explosion of tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. 

Nancy and Sara introduce readers to quick-and-easy weeknight dishes as well as more ambitious affairs while four-color photography brings the recipes vividly to life. 

Along the way, the two cooks delve into how to cook, sauce, and present pasta, how to make it by hand, and pasta’s significant place in a healthy modern diet.  

The Four Seasons of Pasta is an invaluable tool for home cooks seeking to enjoy the quintessential food that’s in their pantry all year round.

5. The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop 

The Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: Are you looking for a cookbook that will inspire you to create delicious and healthy Italian meals at home? Look no further than "The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating" by Jack Bishop.

This uniquely accessible collection includes 350 of the best vegetarian recipes from Italy. These recipes were all gathered by the author during his extensive travels throughout the country and adapted from family favorites passed down by his Italian grandmother. 

From pasta and pizza to asparagus spears and fragrant stews, these recipes deliver delicious results with a minimum of effort and feature fresh, healthy ingredients.

But what sets this cookbook apart is the author's deep understanding of Italian cuisine and his ability to convey it in a clear, concise, and conversational tone. 

He writes, "It is the country's varied and sensible use of vegetables that provide the best inspiration for American cooks," and his extensive experience living in Italy (Florence) shines through in the mixture of flavorings and the emphasis on fresh ingredients in the recipes.

Not only is Jack an accomplished chef and a dedicated vegetarian, but he is also a busy family man who understands the importance of quick and easy meals. The book includes suggested menus for various occasions and seasons and serving suggestions for each recipe to make planning your meals a breeze.

Whether you're a vegetarian or a meat-eater who loves Italian food, "The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook" is a must-have for your cookbook library. With sections for all kinds of Italian specialties, including pizza, risottos, pasta, salads, antipasto, frittatas, legumes, panini, Dolci (desserts), vegetable sides, and main dishes, the recipes are simple to make and use easily available fresh, and healthy ingredients.

In conclusion, "The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook" is one of the most popular Italian cookbooks for beginners. It is a favorite in my large collection and one I return to time and time again for delicious, healthful Italian meals. 

If you want to add some inspiration and variety to your everyday meals, this cookbook is definitely worth checking out.

6. Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking by Lidia Bastianich 

This cookbook is filled with practical tips and easy-to-follow recipes from one of the most beloved Italian cooks of all time.

Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking is a cookbook written by Lidia Bastianich, a well-known Italian chef, restaurateur, and television personality. 

In Lidia Bastianich's new cookbook "Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking: 150 Delicious and Simple Recipes Anyone Can Master", she draws on anecdotes and lessons learned from her mother and grandmother to pay homage to the kitchen sages who inspired her. 

The book is divided into sections including appetizers, soups, salads, vegetables, pasta, fish, meats, and desserts, and in each section, she merges the old with the new. 

The recipes are beautiful and delicious, and she teaches you how to make marinara sauce, fresh pasta, and risotto. Lidia's enthusiasm for food and family is infectious, and her instructions are simple and easy to follow. 

The book is well worth the money and you will enjoy it for years to come. If you want to try some of Lidia's cooking without breaking out this wonderful book, visit one of her fabulous restaurants.

It also includes chapters on Italian ingredients and techniques, as well as a section on Italian wines. 

Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking is known for its focus on simplicity and approachability, with Bastianich's recipes designed to be easy to follow and make using readily available ingredients. 

It is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to learn more about Italian cooking and create delicious, authentic Italian dishes at home.

7. The Italian Baker by Carol Field 

The Italian Baker is a cookbook written by Carol Field: WHO Can Resist Bruschetta Rubbed with Garlic and Drizzled with Olive Oil, Almond-Studded Biscotti Dipped in Coffee or Wine, and, A Thin-Crusted P Izza with Fresh are just the beginning; there are a wealth of other equally delicious bread and sweets waiting to be discovered.

In this groundbreaking classic—now thoroughly updated for today's modern kitchen—Carol Field introduces artisanal doughs and techniques used by generations of Italian bakers. 

Every city and hill town has its own unique baking traditions, and Field spent more than two years traversing Italy to capture The regional and local specialties, adapting them through rigorous testing in her own kitchen.

Field's authentic recipes are a revelation for anyone seeking the true Italian experience. 

Here's a chance to make golden Altamura bread from Puglia, chewy poor loaves from Como, rosemary bread sprinkled with coarse sea salt, dark ryes from the north, simple bread stud deed with toasted walnuts, succulent fig bread, and Sicilian loaves topped with sesame seeds.

The Italian Baker is the only comprehensive book, in English or Italian, to cover the entire range of Italian baking, from breadsticks and cornetti to focaccia, tarts, cakes, and pastries. 

There is even a chapter on using leftover bread—with recipes ranging from hearty Tuscan bread soup to a cinnamon and lemon-scented bread pudding.

Winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for the best baking book, The Italian Baker was also named to the James Beard Baker's Dozen list of thirteen disposable baking books of all time. 

It has inspired countless professionals and home cooks alike. This latest edition, updated for a new generation of home bakers, has added four-color photography throughout, plus new recipes, ingredients, equipment sections, source guides, and weights. 

One of the most revered baking books of all time, The Italian Baker is a landmark work that continues to be a must for every serious baker.

8. Cucina Rustica by Viana La Place 

Cucina Rustica is Italian food at its freshest, simplest, and most satisfying, it is a celebration of unpretentious cooking. 

The authors offer 250 recipes that prove that food with great taste and style can be undemanding and easy to prepare. 

Cucina Rustica is a cookbook by Viana La Place that features traditional Italian recipes. The book focuses on dishes that are simple and rustic, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

The recipes include antipasti, soups, main-course salads, skewers, pasta, rustic cakes, and elegant mascarpone. 

The book also includes a special section on ingredients and techniques for marinating everything from radicchio and olives to sardines, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and more. 

The recipes are perfect for novice and experienced cooks and will become much-loved standbys, providing dozens of memorable meals. 

The author is able to capture the improvisational, unpretentious essence of the best Italian cooking. 

The results of her recipes are dishes so fresh, easy, and authentic that you will feel like you are in Italy. Buying any of La Place's books will not be a regret.

9. Pasta Grannies by Vicky Bennison 

Pasta GranniesPasta Grannies is a book that showcases authentic Italian pasta recipes passed down from grandmothers. It features easy and accessible recipes from all over Italy and celebrates the expertise, life, and stories of the women behind them. 

The book comes with a supplementary YouTube channel that provides additional instructions on how to shape pasta. 

However, the book is not self-contained and refers to the YouTube channel for instructions, making it unclear why one should buy the book instead of just watching the videos. 

The book also lacks clear pictures of finished dishes and pasta pieces, and the authors decided to put random pictures instead. 

Despite these shortcomings, the original idea of collecting recipes from older Italian ladies and reading their stories is great.

10. The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker 

The Sopranos Family Cookbook:  Artie Bucco, the master chef of la Cucina and your personal host, invites you to experience a special feast at the newly redefined "family" restaurant. 

The Sopranos Family Cookbook is a cookbook written by Allen Rucker that features recipes inspired by the hit television show The Sopranos. 

Known as the best-kept secret in Neapolitan cuisine and Essex County, Artie and his guests, the Sopranos and their associates, offer food lovers a variety of Avellinese-style recipes and valuable preparation tips. 

Along with the delicious food, Artie also presents a collection of precious Sopranos artifacts, including photos from the old country, the first Bucco's Vesuvio's menu from 1926, AJ's school essay on "Why I Like Food", and Bobby Bacala's style tips for big eaters. 

Try Artie's tender Grilled Sausages sizzling with fennel or cheese, Corrado "Junior" Soprano's Pasta Fazool, a toothsome marriage of cannellini beans and ditalini pasta, or Carmela Soprano's Baked Ziti, sinfully enriched with three pieces of cheese. 

Sink your teeth into Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri's Eggs in Purgatory-eight eggs, bubbling tomato sauce, and an experience that's pure heaven. As Artie says, "Enjoy, with a thousand meals and a thousand laughs."

The cookbook also includes cocktail recipes and tips for hosting a Sopranos-themed dinner party. Overall, The Sopranos Family Cookbook is a fun and unique cookbook for fans of the show who want to bring a taste of The Sopranos into their own kitchens.

11. Italian food by Elizabeth David

Italian food Elizabeth David's Italian Food was one of the first books to demonstrate the enormous range of Italy's regional cooking. 

Italian food by Elizabeth David was a British cookery writer and food historian who had a significant influence on the way that modern British and American cooks approach Italian cuisine. 

The foods of Italy, explained David, expanded far beyond minestrone and ravioli, to the complex traditions of Tuscany, Sicily, Lombardy, Umbria, and many other regions. 

David imparts her knowledge from her many years in Italy, exploring, researching, tasting, and testing dishes. 

Her passion for real food, luscious, hearty, fresh, and totally authentic, will inspire anyone who wishes to recreate the abundant and highly unique regional dishes of Italy.

She was born in 1913 and became interested in food at an early age, studying history, literature, and the arts in Paris before traveling extensively throughout Europe. 

David's first book, "A Book of Mediterranean Food," was published in 1950 and introduced the British public to the rich, diverse cuisine of Italy and other Mediterranean countries. 

She went on to write numerous other books on Italian and French cooking, including "Italian Food," "French Provincial Cooking," and "Summer Cooking". 

David's writing is characterized by its attention to detail, historical context, and appreciation for the cultural and social aspects of food and cooking. 

She died in 1992, but her work continues to inspire home cooks and professional chefs around the world.

12. Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi

Pellegrino Artusi's 'Science in the Kitchen and The Art of Eating Well' is recognized as one of the most significant Italian cookbooks of modern times. 

First published in 1891, it was reprinted thirteen times and had sold more than 52,000 copies before Artusi's death in 1910. The book is written for middle-class family cooks, and its tone is that of a friendly advisor with witty anecdotes about many of the recipes. 

The book is not only a popular cookbook but also a landmark work in Italian culture. The new English edition features an introduction by American food writer, Michelle Scicolone, and illustrations by the noted Italian artist Giuliano Della Casa. 

The book is filled with 790 recipes and hundreds of observations about the right way to cook dishes, but the recipes assume you already know a lot about cooking, so lots of little details are left off. 

The biggest disadvantage for typical American amateur cooks is that most measurements are made by weight. 

Thus, this book is best used as a historical document and supplementary insights into recipes from other authors. It is a must-have for foodies, food professionals, or cookbook collectors.

Overall, "Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well" is a comprehensive guide to traditional Italian cooking that emphasizes the importance of using fresh, high-quality ingredients and following time-honored techniques to create delicious, nourishing dishes.

13. Gastronomy of Italy by Anna Del Conte

Anna Del Conte, the doyenne of Italian cooking, updates and revises her seminal work on Italian food, "Gastronomy of Italy," with new photography and illustrations. 

Written by Anna Del Conte, a renowned Italian cook, and writer, the book explores every aspect of Italian gastronomy, including regions, ingredients, dishes, and techniques in an A-Z format. 

With over 200 recipes from every major region of Italy, this book is a comprehensive guide to traditional and modern Italian cuisine. 

The recipes are simple, honest, and delicious, and are easy to follow with clear instructions. Cooking terms are explained and the index provides easy reference to recipes. 

The book also features specially commissioned photographs, maps, and an extensive index and bibliography for easy reference. 

This edition is a must-have for cooks and Italiphiles everywhere.

Whether you are a passionate cook or just a food lover, this book will provide you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of Italian gastronomy.

14. The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances Mayes

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook is a cookbook: Frances Mayes' new cookbook, co-written with her husband Ed, invites readers to join them in the Tuscan hills and experience the natural pleasure of cooking and eating traditional Tuscan cuisine. 

With over 150 recipes and stunning photography, the book showcases the use of simple, honest ingredients and the authors' time-tested methods for hand-rolling pasta and coaxing the best out of seasonal ingredients. 

The book also includes tips on stocking your pantry, pairing wines with dishes, and choosing the best olive oil. 

The reader will be transported to Tuscany with the delicious artistry and luscious prose of the Mayes' previous bestselling memoirs and will be able to create their own Tuscan paradise in their own kitchen.

15. The Silver Spoon for Children by Phaidon Press 

The Silver Spoon for Children is a cookbook The Silver Spoon for Children is an adapted edition of the highly successful Italian cookbook specifically for children aged 10 and above. 

It includes 40 authentic, easy-to-make Italian recipes that are both wholesome and delicious. 

The recipes have been selected for their simple instructions, fresh ingredients, and balanced nutrition by a specialist in children's food and nutrition. 

The book is fully illustrated with commissioned illustrations and photographs of the finished dishes, making it fun and accessible for children to cook. 

It includes a variety of recipes for lunches, snacks, pasta, pizza, main courses, and desserts, as well as sections on cooking techniques and safety tips. 

Overall, it is a great Italian cookbook for young aspiring chefs who want to learn to cook real food.

Conclusion: Best Italian Cookbooks of All Time

We hope that this article on the best Italian cookbooks of all time has inspired you to try out some of the delicious and authentic recipes from these cookbooks.

We've carefully chosen these popular Italian cookbooks based on their recipe variety, attention to traditional techniques, clarity of instructions, quality of photographs, and the credentials of the authors. 

With the help of these, you can learn Italian cooking techniques and tips from cookbooks, you can master pasta-making, discover lesser-known regional specialties, and much more.

We highly recommend trying out these best Italian cookbooks and sharing them with friends and family. Go ahead and explore the delicious world of Italian cooking today! Buon Appetito!

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