NIGELLISSIMA: INSTANT ITALIAN INSPIRATION
by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus, R300)
When she was a teenager, Nigella Lawson wanted to be Italian. The closest she got was working as a chambermaid in Florence, and this led to a lifelong love affair with Italian food. This book is divided into chapters for pasta, flesh and fowl, vegetables and sides, sweet things, and an Italian-inspired Christmas. With recipes ranging from easy Sicilian pasta with tomatoes, garlic and almonds to panna cotta three ways, you’re sure to find your inspiration.
ANTONIO CARLUCCIO’S PASTA
The “master of Italian cookery” teaches the “pasta code” in this book, from the best type of saucepan to use, to how to cook the star ingredient to al dente perfection. There’s also a section on making pasta from scratch (with handy photographs) and pairing the right shape with the right sauce. Recipes include classics such as pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup) and the more modern sedani con vodka e salmone (sedani with vodka and smoked salmon).
MADE IN SICILY
by Giorgio Locatelli (Fourth Estate, R545)
Giorgio Locatelli grew up in northern Italy and considered Sicily “a different country” before he visited it years later. When he did he was “completely blown away”. The philosophy of “what grows together, goes together”comes to life on the island: you cook and eat what is in season and available. The book is dedicated to antipasti, vegetables, couscous and soup, pasta, fish, meat and desserts, all showcasing the Sicilians’ love of simple, local produce.
MADE IN ITALY: FOOD AND STORIES
by Giorgio Locatelli (Fourth Estate, R365)
In this book’s introduction, the author says he could have called it “La Convivialità”, the spirit of conviviality. He proves this in chapters for antipasti, soup, risotto, pasta, fish, meat and desserts. From chargrilled porcini and artichoke salad with Parmesan, and pasta of every description, to pork ragù and myriad gelati, life is certainly a party.
POLPO: A VENETIAN COOKBOOK
by Russell Norman (Bloomsbury, R635)
After falling in love with Venice as a student, and eating many plates of cichèti (small sharing plates) in backstreet bacari (bars), the author was inspired to bring its unique style of cuisine to London. The result was Polpo, a restaurant and then a cookbook. The book includes chapters on cichèti, breads, fish, meat, vegetables, desserts and drinks, all celebrating authentic Venetian food.
THE SILVER SPOON
This weighty tome is billed as “the authentic Bible of Italian cooking”. The authors’ vast knowledge shines in sections devoted to almost every aspect of Italian food and cooking. From cooking terms, tools and equipment to sauces, marinades and flavoured butters, antipasti, appetisers, pizzas, eggs and frittata, vegetables, this is the book for serious devotees of la dolce vita.
A SARDINIAN COOKBOOK
by Giovanni Pilu and Roberta Muir (Jacqui Small, R400)
Life on Sardinia is governed by the seasons and festivals, and the emphasis in this book is on local ingredients found and grown there. It’s divided into chapters dedicated to, among others, bread, pasta and rice, seafood, hunting and foraging and pastries and desserts and Sardinian wines all showcasing the island’s rustic style of cooking.