Get authentic Italian at home with cookbook

Photo by Amy Phelps Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

Looking for a present for the home cook or wannabe home cook who loves Italian food? Look no further than “Autentico: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way” by Rolando Beramendi.

A Italian fine food importer, Beramendi shows how to make classic dishes the way true Italians do, with 120 recipes that explores Italy. Accompanied with pictures of his travels across the region and real people, this will give readers a real taste and flavor for the country, both visually and culinary.

There are sections in the book of basics to have in your pantry, as well as some broths and sauces to have on hand.

The recipes begin with antipastos like Focaccia with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Kale Custards with Cannellini Cream and Broken Fresh Tomato Halves.

First courses tend to be pasta, a rice dish or a salad dish, and include recipes like Spaghetti with Zucchini and Pecorino Romano, Risotto Three Ways and Cold Fregola Sarda Salad.

Main courses include your protein dish, such as Sausages with Lentils and Tuscan Kale, Roast Pork Belly with Wild Fennel, Pantelleria-Style Slow-Braised Tuna, Turkey Breast Cooked in Milk with Herbs and Sweet-and-Strong Lamb Stew.

Accompaniments include sides like Steamed Potatoes with Red Onions and Capers, Snap-Snap Pan Roasted Romanesco Broccoli and more.

Desserts end things with Tuscan Baked Apples, Crema Gellato and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Cake.

For dinner one night, I made Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. The dish can be a side or a one-dish meal, which is what we did. It uses broccoli rabe, or in my case, regular broccoli, pasta, olive oil, garlic, sausage and red pepper flakes. And that’s it. Everything basically cooks in one pot and a skillet and then is combined. I thought it was quick and easy to make.

My family thought it needed more sauce and/or flavor. I told them that Italian does a lot of sauces that are just olive oil and a bit of sauce and that’s more authentic but they expect the heavy-laden sauces. Something to work on, I guess.

This is a lovely book that is visually interesting and will make you hungry!

“Autentico” is published by St. Martin’s Press. It is $35.


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