In a nutshellA 25th anniversary reissue of Claudia Roden's bible of Italian cuisine.
The Food of Italy by Claudia Roden
What does it cover?Tutto! Divided into sections by region, it explores everything that Italy has to offer, from the polenta and truffles of the north to spicy southern staples, and a lot of pasta in between.
Why is it good?It's so much more than a catch-all Italian cookbook. Claudia's writing puts the romance back into ubiquitous dishes such as panzanella and bolognese, and gives context to classic flavour combinations and techniques we take for granted - like balancing bitter leaves with salty anchovy and sweet garlic and the simple treatment of good quality, fresh ingredients.
Who's it for?With a broad spectrum of recipes suited to all levels, this will suit anyone who loves Italian cuisine (ergo basically everyone). There's even something new if you already own an original - Claudia has updated a lot of the recipes according to what's available in the UK.
Who's it not for?Perhaps not the first choice for an Italian mama with her own way of doing things, but even she might come round...
Best recipe?That's a tough one, so just pick a region to start in. We went with northern Piedmont, where peppers with anchovies and capers, beef braised in barolo and hazelnut cake are the jewels in its culinary crown.
Anything else?It's a smashing read as well as a book to cook from. Claudia includes some brilliant facts - who knew "calzone" literally means "pants" - as well as wine notes to wash your dinner down with.
We say...It's time to fall back in love with Italian mama food, guided by the mama of cookery writing and food anthropology.
To order a copy of The Food of Italy by Claudia Roden for £16.99 (RRP £25), visit guardianbookshop.co.uk or call 0330 333 6846.Published by Square Peg, 27th March 2014.
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