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Jan 23, 2008 11:28 PM

Looking for the best vegetarian italian cookbook :) [Moved from General Topics board]

My top contender right now is:

The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating (Hardcover)
by Jack Bishop.

Anything else I should consider?

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  1. Wow. I was going to suggest Ursula Ferrigno's Truly Italian, but then I see the Amazon price:

    Maybe there's another way of finding it in the US? It is really good. Actually, she may have done more than one vegetarian book, so you might want to look around.

    1. Look no further: This is a splendid, splendid book!

      1. River Cafe Greens by Gray and Rogers
        I am obsessed with it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fayehess

          I also love this book (really love this book!), but others here have reported that there are errors in the amounts of ingredients in some recipes. I don't have this problem, but mine is the British version, so maybe it's different from the one available in the US.

          1. re: Kagey

            I have both the British and American versions (I buy them wherever I see them), and I don't pay much attention to amounts, except in baking. I do have to say that for every baked item I have made from the series, I have changed amounts, because, well, as a cook, you tend to use a recipe out of curiosity and for inspiration, and if something makes no sense at all to you, you just fix it. (not always with great results, but I have to say, I have had great results. In particular with chocolate nemesis and the apple almond cake, which have become standards for me.)

        2. Red, White and Greens by Faith Willinger! Interesting anecdotes and history about the various dishes + tasty recipes = delicious vegetarian Italian food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gio

            I second Red, White & Greens. It is a great book and Faith Heller Willinger is a true Italian food expert, having lived in Florence for over 20 years. She's also written other wonderful books, including one on eating in Italy which goes through Italy region by region, explaining regional specialties and including recommended restaurants and food shops. Jack Bishop's book is good (I actually prefer his "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen" over the Italian one) but Faith's is above and beyond.

          2. You don't have to look further than The Silver Spoon, the bible of Italian Cooking. Although it has every meat dish in the Italian repertoire, there's over 200 pages of amazing vegetable recipes plus sections on eggs, cheese, pasta sauces without meat, grains, desserts and more.
            This cookbook is probably not for beginners but it's got everything you need to cook Italian vegetarian meals.
            Italian cuisine honors vegetables, often serving them as a separate course, and there's no reason to look to special cookbooks when so many fine Italian cookbooks include so many excellent vegetable recipes.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MakingSense

              Right. But, if I'm going to buy a cookbook and half of it is filled with pages I can't use....

              1. re: lavendula

                I eat a heavy vegetable diet although I'm not a vegetarian and the most successful recipes I find are in standard cookbooks. Regular folks eat vegetables and meat-free, you know. Even many recipes using meat or fish can be adapted because they use very little.
                Currently, vegetarianism is trendy. (Please don't flame me for this - I know many have eaten this way for centuries - but in publishing, these books are a current rage.) Many of the vegetarian cookbooks available are doing exactly this: taking regular recipes and rehashing them, collecting them into books that they are calling "vegetarian," when the recipes have been there all along.
                There are terrific veggie recipes in Marcella Hazan's Italian cookbooks, Julia Child, Latin and Chinese cookbooks and many others. Don't ignore them simply because they don't say "vegetarian" in the title.

                BTW, don't forget the public library. A great way to save a lot of money rather than buying cookbooks that you might not use very much.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  I understand what you are saying, but you have to understand that having all of those recipes compiled for me into one book IS exactly what I am looking for! I have been a vegetarian for 15 years and use to pick and choose recipes out of my families cookbooks all the time. I can compare being able to open a cookbook and know that I can make any single dish I want to eating in a vegetarian restaurant. I dine out often and always have to double check what is in the broth, sauce, soup, etc. When I am in a vegetarian restaurant, the world is my (soy) oyster. If feels glorious to be able to pick anything I want or am interested to try - worry & hassle free :) That is my goal for this cookbook. Give me amazing vegetarian Italian recipes, all in one place. Yay.

                  1. re: lavendula

                    Understand completely. Also how difficult it can be when those meat-based things "sneak" in because people don't think they "count" somehow.
                    Some of the new cookbooks seem to be jumping on the vegetarian bandwagon and frankly aren't very good. The recipes are high fat, high calorie, high starch, and expensive while lacking in any real complexity of flavor. Basically blah and not very satisfying. Good vegetarian fare isn't like that.
                    Hope you find a new good one among the wanna-bes.