With great respect for natural ingredients and a rich history, Italian cuisine is loved by all and sundry worldwide due to its immense flavors, diversity, comfort, and organic integrity.
Italian food is not restricted to pizza and pasta; there is a vast array of dishes and experiences related to the Italian cuisine that one must try!
Experts of Italian cooking will often discuss how food is a major part of Italian history, culture, and tradition. Numerous Italian cookbooks document their stories through rich recipes.
Traveling to Italy isn’t the only way to taste these recipes; we have compiled a selection of cookbooks to help you recreate some of the most delicious Italian dishes in your kitchen.
The most important part of choosing a cookbook is knowing that you adhere to its required culinary level.
These cookbooks include a broad range of cooking recipes, styles, and techniques to help you make all types of Italian recipes – whether modern or classic.
Whether you’re a seasoned chef, a restaurant manager, or a beginner, our Italian cookbook collection will teach you new techniques, tips, and tricks that can help you recreate some timeless Italian recipes by yourself! Buon appetito!
Essential Ingredients That You’ll Need For Italian Recipes
It is understood that if you’re cooking Italian food, you should have ample garlic and onion at your disposal.
Olive oil, pasta, rotini, Arborio rice, and basil pesto are things that you may have around your kitchen and come in handy. Although it is recommended to make as many things from scratch as you can, some cookbook authors would not take offense if you bought them from a supermarket.
Recurring ingredients in Italian cuisine often include different kinds of cheeses, some cuts of fish, and meat as per requirement, and if you’re specifically using mozzarella, tomatoes, or basil, you need to make sure that they are as fresh as possible!
Specific ingredients will differ by recipe; however, there is a keen focus on freshness in Italian cuisine. The flavor and texture of selected vegetables add an all-important element in Italian cooking that cannot be replaced by a brittle, old, or flaccid selection of vegetables.
If you grow your produce, fresh veggies would be the least of your worries! But, if you don’t, there is nothing that a quick trip to the supermarket won’t fix!
Things To Consider When Buying An Italian Cookbook
Whether you’re reading a cookbook to educate yourself in Italian culture through food, or you’re planning to put it to practice, you should know what you’re looking for before you buy one.
A cookbook is designed to inspire the reader to pick up their apron and begin cooking, but not every cookbook will speak to you or your pallet.
Therefore, you must know first about the various factors that make a difference before making a purchase.
Here are a few key factors that you should consider before buying:
Language is the first thing you should consider, especially if you intend to buy a traditional Italian cookbook.
Nearly every authentic Italian cookbook is written in Italian; following the recipe will become easy for you if you can read and understand it.
What if your heart is set on a specific cookbook written in Italian, and you don’t know how to read the language?
You can buy the English translated version of your chosen cookbook. However, if you’re going for a translated work of the original cookbook, make sure you always buy from a reputable publication house.
That’s because they try to keep the translated version at par with the original work.
Is The Framework Inspiring And Transparent?
Reading any cookbook – whether Italian, Spanish, Mexican, or other – may seem like a boring conversation between the cookbook author and you. This becomes even more boring if the context of the book does not resonate with you.
There can be plenty of reasons for someone to lose interest in a cookbook or its recipes; complex recipes, dull backdrops, and over-used illustrations can hurt your chances of ever picking the book up again.
So, before making a purchase, always ensure the cookbook has an engaging setting and easy-to-follow Italian recipes.
Does The Cookbook Include High-Quality Pictures?
Not everyone can cook with just instructions. Professional chefs or those with some level of expertise in a given cuisine will be able to look at instructions and understand how it needs to end up looking; that’s not the case with novice chefs!
Although most cookbooks illustrate what a dish should look like, some exaggerate the end product to inspire people to begin cooking. This usually ends in disappointment.
A chef’s experience, expertise, and knowledge dictate their need for pictorial assistance, but no one ever put a cookbook down because it had too many pictures!
Thus, choose an Italian cookbook that includes as many photos as recipes, if not more!
Know Your Cooking Level?
You should be aware of your abilities around the kitchen. If you find yourself out of your depth halfway through a recipe, that would mean you’ve wasted time and money.
It will also discourage you from ever trying again! Luckily, you will find cookbooks that cater to all levels.
Some cater to beginners (these cookbooks often include step-by-step instructions to help you out), while others are specifically written for professionals such as restaurant managers and chefs.
Universal Or Specialized Recipes
Several Italian cookbooks curate numerous specific recipes that symbolize Italian cooking; these include traditional, classic, and mainstream dishes, all made the Italian way!
However, universal Italian cookbooks can help you make the same dishes without the need for specific ingredients that may be difficult to find outside of Italy.
These cookbooks allow you to put your localized spin on classic Italian dishes without letting go of the original flavor.
You’re cooking at home because eating out expensive. Don’t buy a book that tells you to source ingredients that would end up being more expensive than a meal at a nice restaurant!
Best Italian Cookbooks
Here are the top 5 best Italian cookbooks you can buy to try to become a convincing Italian chef!
Essentials Of Classic Italian Cooking (Marcella Hazan)
Best for traditional and classic recipes
Marcella Hazan, the woman who brought Italian cuisine to American home cooking, is a pioneer and an expert in classic Italian cooking.
This book is a comprehensive guide to Italian cuisine and works as a sourcebook for contemporary Italian dishes.
This cookbook guides readers to correctly preparing popular Italian dishes that have been become negatively globalized, such as spaghetti and meatballs, and pizza.
Perhaps the book’s most valuable recipes are Hazan’s well-known culinary twists, such as sautéed easy Swiss chard with garlic and olive oil, risotto, braised squid with white wine and tomatoes, and a lot more.
Even if you’re a seasoned Italian chef or restaurant manager, this book will significantly expand your knowledge of Italian cooking.
Why Buy This?
This cookbook caters to all cooking levels, allowing professionals and beginners to take advantage of its in-depth instructions. Besides offering her take on pizza and meatballs, Hazan also gives you the chance to try her famous risotto, and polenta, among others.
The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is a must-have for all Italian cooking enthusiasts who wish to expand their repertoire.
- A go-to comprehensive reference cookbook
- More than 50 new and classic Italian recipes
- Easy to read and understand
- Includes suggested substitutions
- Some recipes are are complicated
- No pictures
- Poorly designed index
Lidia’s Mastering The Art Of Italian Cuisine (Lidia Bastianich)
Best for beginners
Lidia Bastianich is a bestselling author, an ambassador for classic Italian cuisines in America, and an Emmy-winning television host of the famous show, Lidia’s Kitchen.
Besides her lofty achievements, she also owns four well-known restaurants: Esca, Del Posto, Felidia, and Becco. So, it goes without saying; she can teach you a thing or two!
This cookbook includes everything from basic ingredients to how-to techniques and the essential cooking tools you’ll need for consecrated Italian cuisine.
Moreover, we particularly loved this cookbook because it has close to 400 mouth-watering Italian recipes of all sorts, ensuring that you never run out of recipes to try!
Within this amazing cookbook, you’ll find that the author dissects each ingredient’s use as part of a wider recipe. She also offers advice on how to buy, cook, store, and clean these ingredients properly.
You’ll find some incredibly rare gourmet Italian recipes in this cookbook. Read Lidia’s unique cookbook to learn how to make her swordfish with a sweet-sour sauce, risotto alla Milanese, creamy mushroom tagliatelle, beet ravioli with poppy seed, and prune gnocchi.
Why Buy This?
If you want to learn or want to try a new Italian dish, look no further than this amazing cookbook by Lidia. It offers about 400 delicious Italian recipes that you can make at home without any hassle.
In this book, Lidia also teaches you cleaning etiquettes and useful kitchen habits that will stick with you long after being done with all 400 recipes!
- Thick, durable paper
- Contains various historical references
- Includes a glossary and an index
- Easy to copy
- No pictures included
- A few of the recipes contain ingredients that are difficult to find
The Silver Spoon
This top-selling masterpiece by the Silver Spoon Kitchen is one of the most successful and influential Italian cookbooks in the past 50 years. Indeed, this cookbook requires no introduction!
Touted to be the Bible of authentic Italian cooking, this book offers over 2000 Italian recipes with accurate illustrations. What else would you want!
Known as the Il Cucchiano d’Argento among Italians, the cookbook was first published in 1950 by a well-known Italian magazine, Domus. It took the book no more than a year to become a sensation among all chefs globally and a go-to sourcebook for classic Italian cuisine.
It’s a color-coded cookbook divided by recipe chapters such as eggs, fish, marinades, flavored butters, soups, and plenty more.
In this book, you’ll find instructions on how to execute popular Italian recipes like Tuscan minestrone, bresaola salad, spinach and ricotta gnocchi, pizza Napoletana, penne pasta with artichokes, among many others.
In short, this cookbook is like looking into the brain of an all-accomplished Italian chef!
Why Buy This?
The Silver Spoon is laden with some superb easy to follow Italian recipes. You’ll find in the book every basic ingredient used for making top-rated Italian recipes.
If there is an Italian dish you want to make and don’t know how, this book will tell you what to buy and how to make it!
- Highly inspirational
- For all cooking levels (both professionals and beginners)
- Very Comprehensive
- Highly informative
- Metric units lost in translation
- Thin pages
- Small print
The Tuscan Sun Cookbook (France Mayes)
Best for Tuscan cuisines
France Mayes has co-authored the book with Steve Rothfeld and Edward Hames. She’s a famous essayist, cookbook author, and poet.
The Tuscan Sun Cookbook is not just a mere cookbook but also an immersive experience where the reader is enticed to know more about the Tuscan cuisine, flavors, and food.
Many people perceive Tuscan cuisine as hard to cook; this book shatters those misconceptions and gets readers to appreciate how easy it is to cook Tuscan food with easy-to-source, natural ingredients.
The book includes over 150 Tuscan recipes, including zucchini flowers, Tuscan bean and pancetta soup, steamed chocolate layer cake, and creamy strawberry semifreddo, among many others.
Apart from these delicious recipes, this book also shares some handy tips akin to choosing the correct wine and olive oil for different recipes.
Why Buy This?
The Tuscan Sun Cookbook is the perfect option for anyone who wants to taste the flavors of Tuscany. It has 150 Tuscan Italian food recipes that will keep you hooked to its pages.
You’ll also find plenty of useful tips, tricks, and other things that will help you become a better overall chef.
- Easy to follow recipes
- Well-written and formatted
- Some incomplete instructions
- Doesn’t include substitutions
These are the best Italian cookbooks in the market. You could choose any of these books, and they will give you proper education on how to prepare Italian food from the perspective of its culture and tradition.
Remember, it’s not difficult to master Italian recipes if you follow the steps and practice; most of these books have exceedingly descriptive instructions on how to execute every dish.
Happy Italian cooking!