Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 17, 2011 12:52 PM

Recommendations for an Italian cook book?

I have been looking for ages to buy one however i have encountered some difficulties. I.e. The Silver Spoon has quite a lot of mistakes in it and not enough pictures (or no pic at all?).

And La Cucina: Regional Cooking of Italy is printed in American measurements and some recipes have no measurements at all.

So I have stayed away from the above books, but am still not sure what decent Italian cookery book there is out there. Anyone can recommend one?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Assuming that you're looking for a book with metric measurements, Silver Spoon is probably still the way to go (in spite of the lack of photos).

    You might also want to search out a secondhand copy of Marcella Hazan's "Classic Italian Cookbook" but you need to exercise care. Although Italian, the book was originally published for the American market and uses their measurements and ingredient names. However, there is a version re-edited by Anna del Conte using metric measurements (and British ingredient terminology).

    4 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      My worry regarding Silver Spoon is that quite a few reviewers have said that the English version has quite a few mistakes in the amounts used in quite a few recipes. So I have decided to wait for a new edition where they may have hopefully corrected those mistakes.

      And I tend to stay away from the books published for the American market because I don't want to have to go through a conversion chart everytime I cook a recipe.

      1. re: iliria

        Concur about Silver Spoon, but my vantage point is inspiration.

        Silver Spoon just never inspired, or "grabbed", me.

        1. re: iliria

          iliria, I am one of the negative reviewers for Silver Spoon. Look at the recipe for "Green Sauce" - dill pickle??????? potato??????? When I wrote to the publisher, I received a pro forma letter which did not answer my questions and I was nailed here on CH as an American who wanted everything spelled out for her, etc. I've often heard the SS compared to The Joy of Cooking as a good bride-beginner book but I pity the poor bride. I think you were wise to pass on this one.

          Harters is dead-on correct about the Italian version of Marcella Hazan's "Classic Italian Cookbook". It would be my first choice.

          1. re: Sherri

            Whilst I wouldnt be first in the queue to include potato or eggs in salsa verde, are we saying this is an error in the translation of the book from Italian or that these are ingredients included in the Italian version, which has been published since1950, that we think Italians are wrong to include?

            Just for clarification, I'm not suggesting buying an Italian version of Hazan but the British version

      2. I second the Marcella Hazan reccommendation. For Northern Italian I like, Biba's Northern Italian Cooking, by Biba Caggiano. For Southern Italian and food that I grew up on, like my great grandmother made, The Food of Southern Italy, by Carlo Middione.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Matahari22

            I have also liked Biba's books. The measurements aren't metric, though. (Not in mine, anyway.)

          2. Another vote for Marcella Hazan. Her books are routinely on Ebay or and are wonderful.

            1. Do any of Giuliano Bugialli's cookbooks have useful British formatting? Some of them feature quite beautiful photography, and I prefer his way of doing things to Marcella's in a lot of instances. I prefer his way of making egg pasta, and his stracotto and pot roast. These are in the first cookbook, The Fine Art of Italian Cooking.


              I see when I search on that there's a very highly rated Italian Cookery Book by Katie Caldesi.

              Given that it's actually called a *cookery* book, I'm guessing it's intended for the UK market. It seems to have lots of photos. It looks interesting to me, but I've never read it.

              1. A few years ago my brother's family had a student from Rome living with them for her junior year in high school. I don't think she thought much of American food although my SiL is quite a good cook! VBG At Christmas she had her mother send over a cookbook for all the women in our family. It's called "The Delights of Good Italian Cooking" and has tons of beautiful color photos. No author given - edited by Paolo Piazzesi. The ingredients are all given for American and European and British cooks. i.e. a random recipe I opened to called for 6 ML/ 2 FL OZ/ 4 TBSP red wine. A lot of emphasis on very fresh meat and vegetables. Some for meats that aren't easy to find in the US like rabbit and pheasant.

                I'm also very fond of the two cookbooks by Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene. Their focus is on Sicilian cooking and they have wonderful pictures and anecdotes throughout both books. Their restaurant is a former medieval abbey which had been the family home for generations. Quite isolated - and their food so good that Prince Charles was brought for a visit by friends when he was on a private vacation. The first book is "La Cucina Siciliana Di Gangivecchio." The editions I have were done for the American market but I'd be very surprised if they aren't out there with British/European measurements.

                3 Replies
                1. re: pasuga

                  Sorry - correction - the first book was "Sicilian Home Cooking" and it's available from Amazon UK although apparently out of print.


                  1. re: pasuga

                    pasuga, not sure where you are in the U.S. Rabbit and pheasant should not be hard to find. Our local green market carries pheasant. We get rabbit and other game from the butcher or from a local CSA.

                    1. re: pasuga

                      I second the Tonabene book, Additionally, their book, Sicilian Home Cooking: Family Recipes from Gangivecchio by Giovanna Tornabene and Wanda Tornabene and Michele Evans is equally wonderful.