Holiday 2017 Cookbook Gift Guide

I’ve said it over and over again, but if anyone wants to buy me a gift I’d love, buy me a cookbook! I do not need jewelry, designer shoes, or expensive clothes, but I simply cannot have too many cookbooks. Although I do collect cookbooks from every category, I must admit that my Italian cookbook collection is my favorite. I’ve listed below some of my favorite cookbooks, some recently published, and a few that have been around a little longer. 

If you are looking to buy a gift for someone who loves to cook Italian, (or just want something for yourself) consider checking out one of these cookbooks. Just click on the titles below to learn more or purchase the cookbooks. 

1. Autentico: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way by Rolando Beramendi
Authentic is my new favorite Italian cookbook. You can read my complete review to understand why Much more than just a cookbook, this book is a culinary journey throughout Italy. The recipes are well organized and easy to follow, and many recipes have a story which is something I love to read. For me, nothing makes a recipe more real than to learn where it originated from. The photos in Autentico accompany almost every recipe and are truly drool-worthy.

2. A Passion for Pasta by Carmela Sophia Sereno
I bought this book this past summer while we were in Italy and thoroughly enjoyed trying out a number of her pasta recipes. Even those who are already great pasta enthusiasts will be amazed at the range of pasta explored in this book, with dishes selected to delight not only with their exquisite taste but also by their beautiful and varied appearance.

3. Passione: Simple, Seductive Recipes for Lovers of Italian Food by Gennaro Contaldo
A new book from the Italian legend who taught Jamie Olier all he knows about Italian cooking. Born just feet away from the sea on Italys stunning Amalfi coast, chef, food writer, TV personality, and restaurateur Gennaro Contaldo learned from his parents how to seek out wild foodfree-diving for oysters, foraging for wild mushrooms, and missing school to go fishing.This cookbook features photographs from Gennaros childhood, alongside stunning food and travel photography. Over 100 recipes, and delightful personal recollections, share the secrets of Gennaros love affair with Italian food and will inspire cooks of all abilities to taste the true flavors of the Italian coastline.

4. Made at Home: The Food I Cook for the People I Love by Giorgio Locatelli
Over 150 simple family recipes from the best-selling chef and judge on BBC’s The Big Family Cooking Showdown. From Tuscan tomato and bread soup to monkfish stew, simple spaghettis or lemon and pistachio polenta cake, Made at Home is a colourful collection of the food that Giorgio Locatelli loves to prepare for family and friends.
This is another book I recently reviewed I recommend Made at Home for anyone looking to buy an Italian cookbook packed with recipes that celebrate Italian seasonal ingredients for the home cook to enjoy. Although a few of the listed elements may not be accessible to everyone, there are natural substitutions you can make to create dishes that will impress family and guests alike.

5. Osteria: 1,000 Generous and Simple Recipes from Italy’s Best Local Restaurants by Rizzoli
Slow Food, the international defender of local food traditions, scoured the countryside of every region of Italy to collect and share the best traditional recipes from osterie, the humble local taverns that preserve the heritage of true Italian cooking. This cookbook is the culmination of that research—1,000 compelling recipes that highlight ingenuity with rustic ingredients and the generous hospitality of these off-the-beaten-track gems where we all dream of dining.

6. Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party: A Cookbook by Lydia Bastianich
Lydia shares 220 recipes for entertaining with that distinctly Bastianich flare. From Pear Bellinis to Carrot and Chickpea Dip, from Campanelle with Fennel and Shrimp to Berry Tiramisu–these are dishes your guests will love, no matter the occasion. Here, too, are Lidia’s suggestions for hosting a BBQ, making pizza for a group, choosing the perfect wine, setting an inviting table, and much more. Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color photographs and filled with her trademark warmth and enthusiasm, this is Lidia’s most festive book.

7. My Kitchen in Rome: Recipes and Notes on Italian Cooking by Rachel Roddy
I love regional Italian cookbooks, and this one is a keeper. My Kitchen in Rome charts a year in Rachel’s small Italian kitchen, shopping, cooking, eating, and writing, capturing a uniquely domestic picture of life in this vibrant, charismatic city. Weaving together stories, memories, and recipes for thick bean soups, fresh pastas, braised vegetables, and slow-cooked meats, My Kitchen in Rome captures the spirit of Rachel’s beloved blog, Rachel Eats, and offers readers the chance to cook “cucina romana” without leaving the comfort of home.

8. The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook by Jim Lahey
Jim Lahey’s cookbooks have become my bible for bread baking so I was very excited to see a new one published. The bread at Sullivan Street Bakery, crackling brown on the outside and light and aromatic on the inside, is inspired by the dark, crusty loaves that James Beard Award–winning baker Jim Lahey discovered in Rome. Jim builds on the revolutionary no-knead recipe he developed for his first book, My Bread, to outline his no-fuss system for making sourdough at home. Applying his Italian-inspired method to his repertoire of pizzas, pastries, egg dishes, and café classics, The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook delivers the flavors of a bakery Ruth Reichl once called “a church of bread.”

9. Pasta by Hand: A Collection of Italy’s Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta by Jenn Louis
If you want to learn how to make a variety of traditional regional Italian pasta dishes by hand, than this book is for you. From rising culinary star and 2012 Food & Wine Best New Chef Jenn Louis, this book includes more than 65 recipes for hand-shaped traditional pastas and dumplings, along with deeply satisfying sauces to mix and match. Louis shares her recipes and expertise in hand-forming beloved shapes such as gnocchi, orecchiette, gnudi, and spatzli as well as dozens of other regional pasta specialties appearing for the first time in an English-language cookbook.

10. Panetteria: Gennaro’s Italian Bakery by Gennaro Contaldo
Making bread has always been a passion for acclaimed chef and TV-personality Gennaro Contaldo. Ingrained since childhood with memories of his mothers weekly bread-making and visits to his uncles village bakery, it is a skill that has followed him throughout his career as a chef. Here, Gennaro takes you onto a journey into the magical world of Italian bread and baking, giving you his secret tips on making the perfect dough to create wonderful Italian breads for all occasions.

11. Pizza Camp: Recipes from Pizzeria Beddia by Joe Beddia
An Italian cookbook collection wouldn’t be complete without at least one pizza cookbook! Joe Beddia’s pizza is old school—it’s all about the dough, the sauce, and the cheese. And after perfecting his pie-making craft at Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, he’s offering his methods and recipes in a cookbook that’s anything but old school.

12. Rustic Italian (Williams Sonoma) Revised Edition: Simple, authentic recipes for everyday cooking by Domenica Marchetti
I have all of Domenica’s cookbooks, but this one is one of my favorites. Bring the bold and beloved flavors of Italy into your kitchen with this enticing collection of authentic dishes made modern. Domenica Marchetti is back with her stellar Italian cooking and more great recipes in Rustic Italian. With over 80 recipes for simple, seasonal Italian fare, exquisite hand-painted illustrations, and gorgeous full-color photography, this book celebrates an irresistible cuisine and will inspire home cooks everywhere.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2017

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  1. Hi, Deborah. What would be your top two cookbook recommendations, not necessarily from this list? I would like to add a couple of Italian cookbooks to my collection, but I would like to narrow it down to “must have” cookbooks…if you’re going to buy just two books, these are the books you want/need…
    Than you.

    1. Kit, I really have too many favorites to choose. It depends on if you are interested in regional cuisine, more pasta based, or even simple rustic recipes.

      1. I lean more toward enjoying traditional, rustic flavors of any region. I do like pasta; I don’t eat low carb (I own a pasta machine), not that I eat a ton of it, I just don’t avoid it. So, cookbook recommendations along those lines would be great.

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