From glossy drops of balsamic vinegar to flakes of parmigiano reggiano and spoonfuls of fresh ricotta to creamy grains of risotto–the ingredients of Italian cuisine are beloved staples known the world over, available in specialty stores and served in restaurants across the globe. As a native Roman raised in the Umbrian countryside, Viola Buitoni grew up with these artisanal foods, learning about how they developed from centuries-old wisdom, tight-knit communities, and sustainable production. Now a US-based cooking instructor, Buitoni’s passion is sharing the beloved flavors of her homeland with home cooks.
In this debut cookbook, she presents the history and geography of Italy’s most iconic ingredients, showing modern home chefs how to incorporate robust flavors and techniques into their kitchens. With recipes organized according to a single ingredient, each chapter bursts with taste: learn how to make a traditional ragù sauce with conserved tomatoes; layer a plate of prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella; or bake a polenta custard tart. Practical guidelines for seasonal eating, easy substitutes for hard-to-find items, and valuable shopping tips complement the approachable recipes.