Everybody loves a good ol’ cookbook. They’re very instructional and can be very insightful as they offer new perspectives or ideas. For some individuals, they are a necessity to have. For others, a precious heirloom preserved and passed down from one generation to another.
But, what makes the best Italian cookbook? Fortunately for you, this is where we come in. We’ve put together this review of all the Italian cookbooks we’ve found to be popular amongst customers on Amazon.com. Here, we’re going to help you answer this question for yourself. After all, the best way to learn is to find out on your own, with, of course, a bit of guidance.
1. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking – The Best Italian Cookbook for Every Cook
Intro: Marcella Hazan is a very well-known author throughout the world. Some of her famous books on Italian cuisine have earned her great titles in the U.S. and the U.K. In fact, in these two countries, she is considered to be the doyen of Italian cuisine to both popular chefs and home cooks.
Why buy it: If you are a lover of two of her previous books called “The Classic Italian Cook Book” and “More Classic Italian Cooking”, then this is a must-have item. You could say that this is a bible of Italian culinary as it contains both books in one volume.
Its contents: This book also has updated and expanded versions of her previous two books. Such updates include recipes with lower fat contents for those who are looking to have a weight loss diet. Another upgrade to this so-called bible is information on how to select specific ingredients. A section that’s perfect for beginners who want to learn how to shop for ingredients.
OUR VERDICT– If it’s Italian you want, you won’t go wrong with this choice. Marcella is known for her ability to remember taste and recall texture, so if you want to learn Italian cooking and recipes, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is the way to go.
2. Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen – An Italian Cookbook for a Tuscan Lover
Intro: Gabriele Corcos is a famous Italian chef with his own cooking television show called “Extra Virgin”. Although Devi Mazar is an American actress, who is known in many movies and TV series, she also stars in the show as one having a great love for anything Italian.
Why buy it: If you love the show, then you’ll surely love the book. Here you can find recipes and cooking information that you might have missed while enjoying the show. This cookbook also focuses on entrees, pizzas, and desserts with Italian style recipes that are easy to prepare.
Its contents: Tuscan cooking is known for the use of only olive oil and creating simple foods without heavy saucing. With 120 recipes contained in the book, you can spend hours satisfying yours or your loved one’s taste buds with these easy-to-make meals.
OUR VERDICT – If you are all for Tuscany and its traditional food, don’t hesitate to give this item a go. It’ll certainly fill you with the taste of these ancient dishes, as well as the love that Gabriele & Devi has for Italian Tuscany in the Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen cookbook.
3. Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen – A Perfect Italian Cookbook for a Vegan Enthusiast
Intro: To be a vegan is to embrace the love of food. That is the way for this popular vegan chef, Chloe Coscarelli. Born in the U.S., her passion for her family’s roots in Italy compels her to veganize any Italian cuisine she comes across.
Why buy it: Her cookbook contains over 150 recipes, all suitable for vegans. In addition, her Italian recipes that originally weren’t vegan-friendly are now with vegan twists that even meat-lovers could enjoy. With an acute taste for the sweet, Chloe’s book is also filled with tasty Italian desserts.
Its contents: A great addition to this book is directions on making these recipes allergy-free for anyone prone to allergy issues. They also contain gluten-free directions, so a perfect combination if you’re weight conscious.
OUR VERDICT – Of course, this is a cookbook ideal for vegans. Thanks to Chloe’s ingenuity, however, these recipes are also good for omnivores. If you want to make the most of both worlds, Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen is definitely worth the purchase.
4. Cooking with Nonna – A Perfect Italian Cookbook for an Italian Grandmother
Intro: The author, Rossella Rago, is a first Italian-American born generation in her family. Her roots are deep in Italian traditions. As cooking was a big deal for her family coming from Italy, she naturally grew a deep love for Italian cooking, so much that it resulted in her becoming a TV show host to a popular cooking show called “Cooking with Nonna”.
Why buy it: Just as her T.V. show contains very traditional recipes from very traditional Italian grandmothers from all regions of Italy, so does her cookbook. If you miss the nostalgic feeling of your nonna’s cooking, then don’t hesitate to include this item on your shopping list.
Its contents: In this book, you can enjoy over 100 recipes made by 25 diverse grandmothers from Italy. Plenty of recipes to choose from that are bound to remind you of your nonna’s cooking. Along with these recipes are stories and advice from these beloved Italian nonna’s.
OUR VERDICT – Some say that Italian cooking is not Italian without the touch of your nonna. If tradition is your style in the kitchen, you’ll certainly be proud to own the Cooking with Nonna cookbook by Rossella for either yourself or as a gift for your sweet grandmother.
5. Super Tuscan: Heritage Recipes and Simple Pleasures from Our Kitchen to Your Tabl – An Italian Cookbook for a Tuscan Loving American
Intro: This item is the highest rated book out of all the top 10 in this review. This is why we included another one of Gabriele Corcos and Devi Mazar’s cookbook. Similar to the “Extra Virgin” cookbook, this is also based on their love for Tuscany culinary.
Why buy it: If you have a love for Tuscan foods but still can’t get enough of American dishes, then make sure to get this item. The best thing about having an Italian husband and an American wife who are both cooking enthusiast is that both their cultures can mix.
Its contents: This cookbook version has recipes that showcase foods from both countries’ cultures. It contains over 100 uniquely made recipes that incorporate Tuscan dishes with American dishes. Additionally, it also includes anecdotes, useful tips, and day-to-day activities of Gabriele & Devi, just to give an extra bit of behind the scenes entertainment to their TV show fans.
OUR VERDICT – With another very popular book by Gabriele & Devi, you won’t be wasting any time learning a thing or two about cultural diversity and its benefits. If you already have the “Extra Virgin” book, then consider this a great addition to have in your Tuscan kitchen. With the Super Tuscan: Heritage Recipes and Simple Pleasures from Our Kitchen to Your Table cookbook, you can no longer be afraid to lose your American heritage.
6. Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine – A Perfect Italian Cookbook for an Italian Cooking Student
Intro: Lidia Bastianich is the main author of this book and is an Italian-American celebrity chef. She has hosted many television cooking showsand has featured most of her children, one being her daughter, Tanya Manuali, who also co-authored this book.
Why buy it: If you have a keen ability to learn from a mentor, then look no further as this book also comes as a manual. Lidia’s in-depth grasp of Italian cooking allows her to teach and instruct in very detail for her viewers and readers to understand easily.
Its contents: This book contains an astounding number of recipes of over 400, all with information about the ingredients to get, techniques to apply, and even the tools to use. As teaching is Lidia’s passion, she also goes through the importance of using the full range of your everyday standard ingredients by knowing how to buy, store, clean, and cook them.
OUR VERDICT – Obviously, this is a big book, although not as big as Marcella’s bible, but still bigger than your average cookbook. So, if you are serious about becoming a great cook in Italian cuisine, Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine will be a worthwhile teacher to have.
7. The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen – An Italian Cookbook with Homemade Italian Recipes
Intro: Francis and Edward Mayes are both well-known writers. They’ve both written many books, many of which have become best-sellers. They are the perfect couple for putting together this Tuscan cookbook, a passion they both have for Tuscan culture.
Why buy it: Although they were both born in the U.S., they have spent over two decades in Italy to experience and understand the fundamentals of Tuscan cooking. With their combined years of knowledge, you can guarantee a rich and very homely Tuscan feeling with each recipe.
Its contents: Their book contains more than 150 recipes made perfect for Italian dinner meals. Frances and her husband also include in their book tips on how to stock your pantry properly, how to pair wines with dishes, and how to choose the best olive oil for cooking. They also share hand rolling pasta techniques, excellent for those who love classic Italian pasta.
OUR VERDICT – If you are a little bit on the older side of life, then you might feel a little more comfortable with Francis & Edward, being a little more of an older couple compared to your average younger cook. Of course, their cookbook, The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen, isorganized so simply and written so intricately that it can make anyone feel right at home in their kitchen.
8. Carmine’s Family-Style Cookbook – An Italian Cookbook for the Family Cook
Intro: Michael Ronis is an author and the founding chefof Carmine’s Italian Restaurant. With the help of food writer Mary Goodbody, who has co-authored more than fifty books, the cookbook version of the meals found in Carmine’s Italian Restaurant was created.
Why buy it: If you get excited about family outings or for family meals, then you would want to have a look at this book. The restaurant itself is designed to be family-oriented, so is the case with this cookbook, hence the title. Many of the recipes contain meals that can befit a small family or a large family. So, whatever your Italian loving family needs are, you can find it here.
Its contents: The book has over 100 recipes of classic Italian dishes. The recipes are also very simple to follow that you could teach your kids how to cook for the family. Each of these Italian dishes is made to bring out the rich flavors of Italian ingredients while maintaining the American taste that Americans love about their food.
OUR VERDICT – Almost anyone who enters a restaurant and leaves feeling satisfied with the food they’ve had would love to have that available on their dining table. Well, thanks to Michael & Mary’s creation of Carmine’s Family-Style Cookbook, this dream has become possible and made accessible in your very own kitchen.
9. The Silver Spoon New Edition – An Italian Cookbook for the Classy Chef
Intro: This amazing and worldly known cookbook is the creation of an Italian magazine called “Domus”. Just like Marcella’s book, this is also considered to be a bible of Italian cuisines, but much more influential in both Italy and throughout the world. The book was first released after World War II and has been going through re-publications over time with updates and additions.
Why buy it: With another great release of this bestselling book of over 50 years, you can find the latest updates and additions stored within its pages. It has a whopping over 2000 recipes of authentic Italian home cooking meals, selected by a group of Italian cooking experts. It is certainly a comprehensive book whose recipes were put together by many Italian celebrity chefs.
Its contents: This revised version contains many new very helpful features, such as how to make a traditional Italian meal, insights on the type of foods traditional to the different regions in Italy, and how to set up a table with an Italian setting. Another great addition to the book is that it has updated ingredients, as well as quantities and methods to suit contemporary tastes, while, at the same time, making sure to preserve the texture of the classic Italian taste.
OUR VERDICT – The Silver Spoon New Editionis a widely known book and is held by many famous chefs, especially in Italy. It is by far the biggest book out of the top 10 we’ve mentioned here, double the size of Marcella’s bible. It is also the priciest, but if you are willing to go that extra mile and truly become an Italian chef, then we suggest you get your hands on this item.
10. Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita – An Italian Cookbook with a Taste of Italian Vacation
Intro: Giada De Laurentiis is a very popular American chef. You will mostly find her hosting her own cooking show called “Giada at Home”. Over time, she has won many awards both as a chef and a TV host. Her book is highly popular amongst her TV show fans as her writing also contains her lively and outgoing natured personality.
Why buy it: If you like to read travel books, yet you also like to learn about that country’s culture and traditions, then you would like to have this in your collection. Giada’s books are known to have stories of her trips and experiences, especially towards Italian cooking and Italy itself. Her book invites fans and home cooks everywhere to know their flavors and be inspired by their passion for cooking, bringing out the best in each cook.
Its contents: Her classic Italian recipes have more of a lighter and healthier approach, so a perfect Italian diet for those a little overweight. As always, this cookbook also contains tips and advice on how to create those extravagant meals.
OUR VERDICT – Giada’s cookbook is an addition you want to have if you ever plan to travel to Italy. Wherever she goes, she always takes gorgeous photos that really create the scene of an Italian dish. As the meaning of the name implies, Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita is truly a book about “the good life”.
In this review, we have given you brief explanations of each book in order to help you understand what makes the best Italian cookbook. If you think about the background of all these authors, you’ll see that each of them began their journey from their first taste of Italian food, whether it was from their childhood or during their college years. So, as you continue to dig deep into your Italian roots and recall those homemade or restaurant cooked Italian meals, remember that nothing beats an original taste.
Things to Consider
Here is a short list of other factors you could think about as you read more on these items online before purchasing.
- Material – You can generally get these books in either kindle or hardcover form. Kindle refers to an electronic copy, so if you don’t have the space to collect books, then this option is ideal. A hardcover refers to having a solid cover. This version is obviously the heavier version, as well as the more expensive one. This is ideal for those who love to have a collection on their bookshelf.
- Pages – It may not seem much, but the number of pages in books does make a difference to the reader. Not everyone has the time to read about the author’s life or have an interest in their passion. Some just really want a recipe based cookbook. This is why we’ve included the number of pages at the title of each book for your convenience.
There are two other book covers that you might see available, which are paperback and spiral-bound. Paperback is similar to the hardcover, but as the name suggests, the cover is made with paper compared with the hardcover’s leather and plastic covering. This is usually cheaper, although not as cheap as the kindle version. The Spiral-bound tends to be a little more expensive than the hardcover, but that will depend on the book’s size as spiraling a book can be a little bit of intricate work.
Searching for or choosing the best Italian cookbook for you might seem difficult, especially at first, but we hope that this review can act as your guide and help you know what to look for. Don’t forget, despite how good the book or the author is, what makes a good cook is ultimately dependent on how good the student is.