When you're 24 years old, and your collection is starting to catch up to your mom's..
One of my favourite memories growing up was watching my Nonna Giuseppina cook. Nonna is notorious for being a perfectionist, and after years of practice, her techniques came so natural, that she couldn't share an actual recipe. There's no such thing as a recipe for Italian Grandparents, and that has to be the most frustrating thing. Don't ask your friend for her Nonna's lasagna recipe because she either doesn't know the proper measurements, or it'll just never turn out the same. Now that I have a passion for Italian cuisine, I find myself asking for recipe books as a gift, and spend my days off practicing fresh pasta, or new recipes.
When it comes to buying my own recipe books, I gravitate towards technical based books, and some with recipes of different Italian regions. You might be surprised to know that some of my best recipe book finds have actually been at Homesense. I'll take a trip to the store with my mom, and with no intention at all, I'll stumble upon some of the most popular recipe books at an insanely affordable price. Recipe books are timeless, and it's crazy to think of how much bigger my collection will get. Here's my current recipe book collection:
"I Know How To Cook" by Ginette Mathiot. This book has various types of ethnic inspired dishes, and it's certainly not an Italian cook book. It's one of those books I know I can refer to for all time classic dishes, and I consider it a staple. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/i-know-how-to-cook/9780714857367-item.html
"The Silver Spoon: Pasta". This book has recipes for what seems like hundreds of different pastas, some of which I've actually never heard of. You can learn about sauce pairings for both short and long pasta, and become amazed at how of the more complex sounding recipes, are actually a piece of cake. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-silver-spoon-pasta/9780714857268-item.html
"Aperitivo" by Marisa Huff. Aperitivo is by far my favourite book I own. The book is inspired of different cities of Italy, and explains the difference of aperitivo culture throughout the country. It includes cocktail and appetizer recipes from some of Italy's most popular bars, which makes it the perfect tool for aperitivo party planning. The book allows you to bring a little bit of Italy right to your own home, and gives you some recommendations for eats on your next trip. I used this book as a guide for my last party, and selected easy food and drink recipes for my guests to follow. If you're into cocktail making, or have an interest in learning about some of Italy's unique nightlife, you need this book. My recommendations: Ligurian Mojito, Ligurian Cheese Focaccia, Watermelon Spritz https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/aperitivo-the-cocktail-culture-of/9780847847440-item.html?ikwid=aperitivo+marisa+huff&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0
"David Rocco's Dolce Vita" by David Rocco. I've been a huge fan of David Rocco's for years, and Dolce Vita was my go-to cooking show for as long as I can remember. I love watching the show, and seeing the closeness between him and the local food shop owners. I would write some of the recipes down, and fell in love with each of them that I tried. Needless to say, when I received his recipe book for Christmas, I was SO excited. My recommendations: EVERYTHING. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/la-dolce-vita-cookbook/9781554680290-item.html?ikwid=david+rocco+dolce+vita&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0
"David Rocco's Dolce Famiglia" by David Rocco. Dolce Famiglia includes recipes from some of David Rocco's closest friends and family members around Italy. This recipe book is so special to me, and is hands down another favourite. I remember when I had just come back from my exchange three years ago in Tuscany, and I was having serious withdrawals. I received this book as a gift from my mom, and while I was browsing through the pages, I stumbled upon a portion dedicated to Siena. There were pictures of the famous Palio, along with the main city square, and it brought back so many memories. I also found another portion of the book dedicated to a famous butcher named Dario Cecchini, who I had the privilege of meeting on that same trip at his butcher shop and restaurants. This book always brings back so many great memories, and it's one that I always find myself referring back to when I want a little taste of Tuscany at home. My recommendations: Pici. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/dolce-famiglia/9781443445269-item.html?ikwid=david+rocco+dolce+famiglia&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0
"How to EATALY"by Lidia Bastianich and Natalie Danford. Eataly is a marketplace that integrates grocery and restaurant experiences into one. Each department is comprised of a restaurant with a menu based on the main ingredients of the department. It's such a unique experience, and I consider it a must-see in Italy. This book teaches you how to select high quality Italian ingredients, pair pastas with appropriate sauces, and create some of Eataly's most proudest dishes. If you're passionate about Italian cuisine, or you just need an Italian recipe Bible, this is it. *Note: This book normally retails for $35 CAD, and I found it at Homesense for $12.99. Always check Homesense before you head to Indigo. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/how-to-eataly-a-guide/9780847843350-item.html?ikwid=how+to+eataly&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0
"La Scienza In Cicina E L'arte Di Mangiar Bene" by Pellegrino Artusi. I bought this book during my last trip to Italy, and it was only five euros. My friend Jenn and I joked that I would be passing this book down to my grandchildren someday, and we would do whatever we could to make room for this big book in our luggages. The book is written in Italian, and has all of the classic recipes you can think of, with all of the old school techniques we'd only ever heard of. I still have yet to try a recipe from this book, but I know that I'll have to save it for something special.
"Mastering Pasta" by Vetri Joachim. My friend Cristina and I have this thing that we buy each other recipe books for special occasions, without actually planning it. Mastering Pasta was the first book Cristina ever gave to me and I absolutely LOVE it. The book teaches you the art of pasta making, right down to the science of the grain. It has recipes from different regions of Italy, and acts as my go-to for trying out a new pasta. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/mastering-pasta-the-art-and/9781607746072-item.html
"Jamie Cooks Italy" By Jamie Oliver. My family has loved Jamie Oliver for years, and I'm pretty sure this is the only book my mom doesn't have in her collection yet. I've always been interested in Jamie's passion for Italian cuisine, and seeing his own take's on some classic recipes. I've only tried his grilled apricot salad so far, and it was like summer in a bowl. I can't wait to try more of his recipes! *Note: I bought this book for Cristina, stumbled upon it at Homesense one day, and figured I had to get myself a copy too! You can find this book at Indigo for $42 CAD, and I found it at Homesense for $15. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/jamie-cooks-italy/9781443457453-item.html
"Italy" by Lycopolus and Acken. This recipe book incorporates olive oil and vinegar into various dishes from pasta, to pizza and even desserts. It's a book that I'll reach for once I purchase a good quality olive oil. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/italy-recipes-for-olive-oil/9781771512251-item.html?ikwid=%22Italy%22+by+Lycopolus+and+Acken.&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0
"Acquacotta" by Emiko Davies. When I tell you Homesense is DANGEROUS, you need to trust me. I bought this book the other day during my brief trip to the store with my mom. The recipe book is based on Italian seafood dishes, and I knew this book would be a staple for holiday dinners. I will be reaching for this book for Christmas Eve, Good Friday, and warmer nights where I'm feeling a seafood risotto. https://www.amazon.ca/Acquacotta-Recipes-Stories-Tuscanys-Secret/dp/1743792115
Think I have enough books? The craziest part is that I still live at home, and I'm already putting a decent dent in my recipe book inventory. If you have any recipe books that you think I need to get my hands on, LET ME KNOW! I'm always looking to try new recipes, and learn more about Italian cuisine. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I apologize in advance if you become a Homsense addict.
Fa la brava,