COOKBOOKS ARE A KIND OF ARMCHAIR TRAVEL.
After all, a recipe can take you across the globe and back
again. A morsel of blueberry crumble reminds you of a
sunny day in Maine; a bite of ravioli transports you to
northern Italy; a mouthful of caipirinha sends you back
to Brazil. We invite you to let these current top cookbooks take you away.
Israeli-born and London-based Yotam Ottolenghi’s
eponymous restaurants are wildly popular. A vegetable
enthusiast, he won over readers with his first book,
Plenty. “I enjoy eating fish and meat, but it’s vegetables
that really get me excited—how robust they are and
how bold they are at taking on flavor and shouting
about it.” Plenty More is the 339-page follow-up, and
it inspires readers to further embark on veggie good-
ness as they cook outside the box. “Lots of veggies get
stuck in a rut—courgettes get steamed, aubergines get
roasted, carrots are raw and grated.”
Ottolenghi structures the chapters by cooking
method— whether blanched, roasted, steamed or
grilled. Go-to recipes from this book: legume noodle
soup, miso vegetables with rice and the curry laksa. He
also makes a case for vegetables that don’t get much
time in the spotlight with recipes like braised leeks
with currants and courgette baba ganoush, which he
describes as a “real revelation.”
DI PALO'S GUIDE TO THE ESSENTIAL
FOODS OF ITALY
Italy and espresso are synonymous, which is why Lou
Di Palo, of the namesake Italian foods specialty store in
New York, dedicates an entire chapter to coffee in his
recently published book. Di Palo owes a lot to the Illy
family, whose coffee he carries. The Illys arrived to
the Adriatic port town of Trieste after World War I
and began tinkering with coffee in the best possible
way, from the beans that were arriving from places like
Ethiopia and Brazil to modern techniques and tools
for home-brewing. “In 1933, my grandfather Francesco
Illy founded the company and a family infatuation was
born. Under three generations of Illys, we’ve reimagined
almost every aspect of coffee culture—from single-serve coffee pods to the two-stage iperEspresso capsule
system,” says Andrea Illy, CEO of illycaffè.
Part travelogue through 20 distinct regions of Italy and
part family cookbook, Di Palo’s 256-page tome also
features ingredients such as mozzarella, olive oils and artisanal pastas, as well as a foreword by Martin Scorsese.
BY TANVI CHHEDA
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSEPH DELEO
Both escapist page-turners and handy reference guides,
cookbooks speak to the aspiring foodie in all of us.
Here are a few titles grabbing attention in kitchens today.