Lovers of Italian food would do well to master bread, pasta, ragù and semifreddo at home. With Silvia Colloca as your food-loving and knowledgeable guide, you will.
By
April Smallwood

1 Dec 2013 - 5:15 PM  UPDATED 20 Oct 2014 - 3:06 PM

Why buy it?

Many claim Italian cuisine is a steadfast favourite, but how many of these enthusiasts walk the talk, bringing this passion for Italian into their home kitchens? If you're in this league, life is about to get molto buono, considering just how satisfying a mouthful of handmade pasta can be.

Silvia Colloca is an actress, trained opera singer, blogger and home cook, who moved to Australia almost a decade ago from her beloved Italy. In her debut cookbook, Silvia's Cucina, she welcomes us into her home kitchen to prove Italian cooking has many faces: it's largely regional and based on seasonal produce, and it can be simple, light and healthy, since not all dishes are drowning in olive oil or creamy white sauce.

These 80 diverse recipes for bread, antipasto, first and second plates, and dolci (sweets) are the result of years spent kneading, beating, rolling and pounding and, as such, you'll always feel you're in expert hands. Silvia shares her recipes with personal anecdotes connected to each dish, and that generous Italian hospitality we've come to love.

 

Cookability  

It's designed to be a pratical user's guide, showcasing basic and no-cook recipes, such as bruschetta with goat's cheese and broad beans, to a more involved Abruzzese fisherman's stew or roasted spatchcock with risotto-style barley. In other words, open it up and get started.

 

Must-cook recipe

Red wine, sausage and radicchio risotto, an anti-dote for cool weather and purple radicchio means it’s pretty-looking.

 

Most surprising dish

Ricotta gnocchi with cavolo nero pesto. Gnocchi is traditionally made with potato or pumpkin but moist, pillow-soft ricotta? That works too! The recommended splash of white balsamic or verjuice at the end makes it!

 

Kitchen wisdom

“An Italian would never order risotto in the south of Italy – rice doesn’t grow there! Nor would an Italian choose seafood more than a stone’s throw inland from the coast. [In Italy], there is a deep understanding of freshness, locality and seasonality,” writes Silvia.

 

Ideal for

Those feeding a family, weekend cooks, fans of the Mediterranean diet, those who think Italian is an indulgence or special-occasion cuisine (you’ll be surprised), lovers of longheld family recipes and the stories they hold.

 

Silvia’s Cucina by Silvia Colloca, with photographs by Chris Chen (Lantern, $39.99, pbk)

 

To find out more about Silvia's new show, check out the episode guide, or scroll through her recipes, head to our Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca website. Tune in at 8pm, Thursday 27 November on SBS ONE.