Italy by Ingredient: Artisanal Foods, Modern Recipes

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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. 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.

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. 

*QB Cookbook Club Pick: This book was chosen for our January-February 2024 Italian cookbook club selection, where we’ll cook 1 recipe each week from the book. Learn more about the QB Cookbook Club.

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Viola Buitoni is an Italian-born, California-based food expert, cooking instructor, and food writer. In 2020, the President of the Italian Republic honored her with the title Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia for her work furthering the culture and business of Italian food. Molly DeCoudreaux is a San Francisco–based food photographer whose work has been featured in the books Sharp, Feed Your People, and Serious New Cook (Rizzoli, 2022).


8.35 x 1.14 x 10.3 in