Top Italian Cookbooks

Our top Italian cookbooks that should be in every kitchen

These cookbooks will prove to be essential in your kitchen

We’ve seen famous chefs like Lidia Bastianich, Marcella Hazan, and Mario Batali prepare those delicious Italian dishes effortlessly on TV and we’ve also wondered how difficult is it really to cook Italian style, perhaps like they do in Italy. We have also heard of dishes that generated outside of Italy and have been embraced as Italian cooking, especially in US.
We have compiled a list of our top Italian cookbooks. These books will introduce you to some of the best sources of traditional Italian recipes as well as Italian-American cuisine. All books available at

1The classic

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
One of our very favorite among the top Italian cookbooks is this classic recipe book from Marcella Hazan. In addition to the delicious collection of recipes, this book serves as a basic manual for cooks of every skill level. Recipes have been revised to reduce fat content, and a whole new chapter full of fundamental information about herbs, spices, and cheeses used in Italian kitchens–as well as details on how to select specific ingredients–has been added. Italian cooking, as opposed to the Italian American fare passed off in so many restaurants, has become all the rage here in the last several years; with the reappearance of Hazan’s classics, it’s strikingly apparent how far ahead of their time they were the first time around. Highly recommended.

2The Bible of Italian cooking

The Silver Spoon New Edition
The Silver Spoon has long be called the Bible of Italian cooking, similar to what The Joy of Cooking has been for the American cuisine. Il Cucchiaio d’Argento was originally published in Italy in 1950 by the famous Italian design and architectural magazine Domus, and became an instant classic. A select group of cooking experts were commissioned to collect hundreds of traditional Italian home cooking recipes and make them available for the first time to a wider modern audience. In the process, they updated ingredients, quantities and methods to suit contemporary tastes and customs, at the same time preserving the memory of ancient recipes for future generations. This book has been one of the top Italian cookbooks in Italy for many years and it’s usually given as present to newly weds.

3The TV Star

Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
With over 300 recipes, the volume is an overstuffed celebration of the rustic local fare Batali loves, organized by course (antipasto, soup, pasta, fish, etc.). This cookbook features ten soups, thirty antipasti (many vegetarian or vegetable based), forty pasta dishes representing many of the twenty regions of Italy, twenty fish and shellfish dishes, twenty chicken dishes, twenty pork or lamb dishes and twenty side dishes, each of which can be served as a light meal. Add twenty desserts and a foundation of basic formation recipes and this book is an essential Italian cooking book. Many of these recipes have been featured in Mario’s TV shows.

4Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking
Lidia is another popular chef that has written many top Italian cookbooks and she appears on several TV channels including PBS. Lidia’s Commonsense Guide to Italian Cooking is a collection of 150 delectable recipes, told with commonsense cooking wisdom, that teaches us how create simple, seasonal Italian dishes with grace, confidence and love. We learn to look at ingredients as both geographic and cultural indicators. In Campania, the region where mozzarella is queen, we discover it best eaten three hours after preparation. In Genova we are taught that while focaccia had its basil origins in the Ligurian culinary tradition, the herbs and flavorings will change from region to region; as home chefs, we can experiment with rosemary or oregano or olives or onions! When it’s time for dessert, Lidia draws on the scared customs of nuns in Italian monasteries and convents and reveals the secret to rice pudding with a blessing.

5The Tuscan recipes

Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen
We at Italia Mia absolutely love this couple and how they bring authentic Tuscan cuisine to the American table. This is definitely one of our favorites among the top Italian cookbooks. Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos are ambassadors of contemporary Tuscan cooking. In Extra Virgin, food, family, and style come together in a celebration of the pleasures of the rustic Italian table with 120 recipes for simple yet exquisite meals that are accessible, full of fresh flavor, and easy to prepare. Gabriele is a traditional Italian with a big heart, and Debi is an outgoing, brash New York City girl. Their sassy and playful exchanges illuminate what’s important in everyday life: good food and a lot of love.

6The Italian-American Cookbook

Rao’s Cookbook: Over 100 Years of Italian Home Cooking
Rao’s, the hundred-year-old restaurant with a mere ten tables tucked in a corner of East Harlem in what was once a legendary Italian neighborhood, is one of the most sought-after restaurants in all of Manhattan. Its tables are booked months in advance by regulars who go to enjoy what The New York Times calls its “exquisitely simple Italian cooking” from traditional recipes, many as old as Rao’s itself. You may not get a table at Rao’s, but now with this book you can prepare the best Italian home-style food in the world in your own kitchen. Here for the first time are recipes for all of Rao’s fabulous classics–its famous marinara sauce, seafood salad, roasted peppers with pine nuts and raisins, baked clams, lemon chicken, chicken scarpariello, and on and on. The recipes are accompanied by photographs that re-create Rao’s magic and testimonials from loyal Rao’s fans–from Woody Allen to Beverly Sills.

7For the Vegetarian

The Italian Vegetable Cookbook
200 Favorite Recipes for Antipasti, Soups, Pasta, Main Dishes, and Desserts by Michele Scicolone, another favorite author of Italia Mia. In this book, Michele shares recipes that she gathered during years of traveling in Italy. Some came from talented home cooks. Others were passed down through her family. She encountered still others, including One-Pot “Dragged” Penne, in restaurants and adapted dishes like Romeo’s Stuffed Eggplant from the cookbooks she collects. Many recipes display the Italian talent for making much out of little: Acquacotta, “Cooked Water,” makes a sumptuous soup from bread, tomatoes, and cheese. In keeping with Italian tradition, some dishes contain small amounts of pancetta, anchovies, or chicken broth, but they are optional. Simple desserts—Rustic Fruit Focaccia, Plum Crostata—finish the collection.

8The trendy chef

Jamie’s Italy
Jamie has traveled all over Italy in search of authentic flavors and brings us a surprisingly good collection of recipes old and new that we feel we want to try right away. As well as providing more than 120 brand-new recipes for everything from risotto to roasts and spaghetti to stews, structured as traditional trattoria menus, Jamie takes you all over Italy to cook with and learn from the real masters of Italian cuisine: the locals. From Sicily to Tuscany, it’s about the local fishermen, family bakers, and, of course, the “Mammas” and “Nonnas”, sharing their recipes and the tips that have gone into their cooking for generations.

9The Southern Desserts!

Southern Italian Desserts
This book should be on every shelf of a pastry chef and anybody who likes to prepare exquisite desserts, another favorite of our top Italian cookbooks list. Southern Italian Desserts takes us on a journey into the delicious world of sweets of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicily. Rosetta Costantino, the author of My Calabria, collects seventy-five favorite recipes from the regions in the South of Italy. These picturesque areas have a rich history of beautiful desserts, many of them tied to holidays and festivals. With recipes for more familiar Italian desserts such as cannoli and gelato, as well as deliciously obscure sweets such as rich cassatas, almond-flecked cookies, and flaky cream-filled sfogliatelle pastries, Southern Italian Desserts features a treat for every occasion. This delightful confection of a cookbook will expand your dessert repertoire and leave you dreaming of Italy.

10The food of Emilia-Romagna

The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food

This book has been a favorite of Italia Mia for many years. Just when you thought you knew the best of Northern Italy, along comes Lynne Rossetto Kasper to introduce you to the region of Emilia-Romagna, a fertile wedge between Milan, Venice, and Florence, as gastronomically important as any land in the world. The lush homeland of balsamic vinegar, Prosciutto di Parma, tortellini, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, this is a region venerated by Italy’s food cognoscenti. The first American book to present the food of this singular northern region, The Splendid Table is an Italian cookbook for the modern times. It will take you from Parma, Bologna, Modena, Ravenna, and Ferrara to tiny villages in the foothills of the Apennines, from Renaissance banquet halls to the simplest of farmhouses, offering history, folklore, and substantive cooking tips along the way.

View more Italian cookbooks at the Italian Bookstore