The 15 Best Italian Cookbooks of All Time
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 authors and books 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:
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 is considered one of the best Italian cookbooks for beginners. With over 2,000 recipes spread across its 1,200-plus pages, it's easy to see why it's often referred to as the Italian version of The Joy of Cooking.
This cookbook is a popular wedding gift and is newly updated and translated into English for the first time.
The book is divided into sections that are color-coded for easy browsing and feature recipes for everything from basic sauces and marinades to salads, games, fish, and baked goods.
The recipes in this cookbook emphasize fresh ingredients and are to the point, typically summed up in a paragraph without photo illustrations.
While experienced cooks will appreciate the brevity of the recipes, beginners might encounter some frustration when making pasta dishes featuring homemade gnocchi or orecchiette without a more in-depth description or the aid of photos.
However, almost all of the ingredients called for can be found in a typical supermarket, though more exotic dishes such as Eel with Savoy Cabbage, Woodcock with Truffle, or Calf's Head Salad will require some planning.
This cookbook also features contributions by famous Italian chefs, including menu and "signature dish" contributions, which are sure to appeal to globe-trotting gourmands.
The Silver Spoon is the most exhaustive Italian cookbook in recent memory, and offers something for every cook, regardless of their skill level. It is a must-have for any kitchen and deserves to be a fixture in American kitchens.
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 Cookbook: The Art of Italian Cooking, and the Italian Art of Eating by Marcella Hazan is a must-have for anyone looking to master the art of Italian cooking.
This cookbook provides a comprehensive guide to traditional Italian cuisine, with an emphasis on simplicity and authenticity.
One of the reasons why this cookbook is considered one of the best Italian cookbooks for beginners is that it makes Italian cooking accessible to non-Italian people all over the world.
The recipes are fantastic, but they lack some of the insights that a beginner could use. For example, the recipe for pasta dough gives exact measurements when in reality, you need to increase or decrease the egg and flour. This depends on how wet or dry your dough is. This is not mentioned in the book.
Another reviewer noted that some of the recipes have convoluted methods, such as soaking apple fritters by laying them flat and being confused about bowl size.
However, Mrs. Hazan meant you to macerate the fruit. Mix the 1/4 sugar with the 2 tablespoons of sugar then toss in a bowl to coat all of the fruit. Cover and let rest to allow the sugar and alcohol to sweat (pull the water out of) the apples.
Small details like this would elevate this cookbook to a textbook, but the information available is still a lot better than you'd find in today's cookbooks.
The recipes in this book belong to an era where food was supposed to taste delicious and dietary restrictions weren't a factor. They're rich and full of flavor. As this book is nearly 50 years old, it will undoubtedly smell musty.
Rest it covered in kitty litter (door absorbing) or get baking soda in between as many pages as possible and rest it in a sealed bag for a few days in your fridge.
In conclusion, The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating by Marcella Hazan is a must-have for anyone looking to master the art of Italian cooking.
4. The Four Seasons of Pasta by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
The Four Seasons of Pasta: When it comes to pasta, it's hard to beat its tastiness, ease of preparation, versatility, and sheer delight. It's an ingredient that's irresistible to all and perfect for every occasion.
And in The Four Seasons of Pasta by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, you'll learn how to make the most of this beloved staple in your own kitchen.
Jenkins and her daughter Sara 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.
As a highly accomplished chef and owner of Porsena and Porchetta, two restaurants in New York’s East Village and 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. If you're a beginner looking to expand your pasta repertoire, this cookbook is a must-have in your collection.
So, don't wait any longer, pick up a copy of The Four Seasons of Pasta today, and start cooking up a storm in your kitchen!
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 that focuses on traditional Italian baking techniques and recipes.
Carol Field's new edition of "The Italian Baker" was released 26 years after the first edition.
However, the book suffers from several deficiencies, including the use of too much yeast in most of the bread recipes, resulting in too brief rising times.
The book also lacks information on important baking techniques such as using natural yeast starters and the technique of autolyze, which can produce superior bread.
Field's emphasis on a moist oven for the initial oven rise of shaped rustic loaves is also inconsistent.
Furthermore, the book does not reflect the rapid evolution of home artisanal baking in the last quarter-century. Additionally, the book does not have a bibliography.
The book is divided into chapters on bread, focaccia, pizza, pastries, cookies, and cakes, and includes both sweet and savory recipes.
Some of the recipes featured in the book include ciabatta, panettone, biscotti, and tiramisu. The field includes detailed instructions and tips for each recipe, as well as background information on the history and cultural significance of the dishes.
The book is considered a classic in the world of Italian baking and is highly regarded for its thorough and authentic approach to traditional recipes.
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 Grannies: Pasta 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!