In the past month, we have all likely been cooking more, and although lockdown will be coming to an end soon, why should the kitchen action come to an end? What a nice side effect of a horrible situation.
Whether you are a seasoned cook (ha, ha, ha…get it???) or just getting started in the kitchen, here is a selection of resources to see you through your Italian cooking journey.
This is the oldest Italian cookbook, it was first written in 1891 by Pellegrino Artusi. He wrote the book for home cooks and it is really more of a guide than an actual cookbook as he often leaves out exact measurements and quantities. As noted, “Artusi’s masterpiece is not merely a popular cookbook; it is a landmark work in Italian culture.” It is actually a fun read and a wonderful resource for Italian cooking.
Awesome Italian Chefs
This is one of my favorite YouTube channels. The only problem with it is that I can lose a lot of time watching these videos when I should be cooking dinner instead. Videos feature Italian cooks living all over the world – some of them are Michelin chefs as well. One of my favorites is Giuliano Sperandio who works at Le Clarence in Paris. He actually shows how to roast a chicken (clearly more French cooking than Italian – but that is why I love this site – it is really diverse). Anyway, back to his video. First of all, he gives some detailed suggestions on how to get that chicken perfectly roasted. And an extra bonus? How to make perfect french fries at home. But I think the best part of the video was one of the comments which said, “After being treated like this, the chicken had a cigarette…” Ha, ha, ha…so funny.
This channel has everything from pasta to panettone to polenta. It’s all there. They even have pizza showdowns (NY style pizza vs. original Neopolitan).
Here is a simple pizza recipe from Naples.
Most of the videos are in Italian with English subtitles, and unfortunately, the recipes are not written out in English, so if you find something you really want to cook or bake, you are going to have to click pause on the video where the recipe is noted and enlist the help of Mr. Google translate.
Vincenzo is a bit of a cheesy character, but I like him. He states “I am an Italian food ambassador.” He has classic recipes and useful hints for cooking your meals to perfection. He often has family members helping him out. Here he is with his mother making eggplant parmigiana.
Awesome Italian Grandmas
Ok, do you want to see real Italian nonnas having some fun in the kitchen? I have the sites for you – one of them I already mentioned in my Surviving Lockdown post – “Pasta Grannies.” This YouTube channel is similar to Italia Squisita in that it is almost all in Italian with subtitles, but the recipes are included in the description of the videos.
Vicky Bennison the creator of this channel films Italian grandmothers from all over Italy showing how to make a variety of fresh pastas along with a sauce for a complete meal. They make it look so easy! Sometimes they will also make soups, breads, rice dishes and sweets. They even have a cookbook.
Another fun Italian grandma to watch. Gina is so adorable! Here is her background as noted on her YouTube channel.
“Gina Petitti was born in 1935 in Faeto, Italy. Her family ran a farm in Italy and she met her husband, Vito, in the same town. In 1970 Gina, Vito, and 4 children immigrated to America. Gina’s husband passed away in 2012, but she is surrounded by a large family, which includes 9 grandchildren, and lives 5 minutes away from her eldest daughter in New Jersey. Gina enjoys making food for her family in the same old fashion ways as she was taught by her mother and grandmother in Italy, and also new things she has subsequently learned from family and friends in America. She also enjoys gardening, and being an active member of her local Church.”
I lose time watching her as well. She is so cute and her videos are addictive. Here she is showing how to make homemade pesto. The recipes are written out in the description as well as more background info on Gina.
Italian American Cook
Ok..a lot of people know Lydia, but I started watching her way back before she was making appearances on “Master Chef.” I have a particular affection for her because she is from the part of Italy my father is from and so many of her recipes and even mannerisms feel so familiar to me. Her recipes are simple and straightforward. Watch her make focaccia here.
That is it….even if you don’t cook, these videos are really entertaining. If you do decide to try a new recipe tonight – “buon appetito!”