If you want to blow people's socks off, make this soup. -- Jamie Oliver, Jamie's Italy
This is a fantastically quick recipe to make, and when you open the bags you'll be rewarded by the most amazing smells from the earthy mushrooms and the herbs. Really nice. -- Jamie Oliver
I walked around the town one day asking the locals who made the best couscous, and, of course, every answer was "Mia mama!" That is, until one lad took me along to meet his grandmother--Nonna Giusy. She was the most incredible woman. -- Jamie Oliver
Lately, when it seems like the sun is setting around noon each day (you know what I mean), I start craving food that tastes like summer.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still loving the wintry overcast days. But I'm also in the mood for ... lemons. And rosemary with chicken. Pasta in tomato cream sauces. And risotto.
A lot of risotto.
Enter this book, Jamie's Italy by the brilliant "Naked Chef," Jamie Oliver. He's the one who taught me how to make risotto: white risotto, risotto with pesto, and then ... roasted mushroom risotto with parsley. I know. Get out. It's so amazing.
... Okay, so Jamie didn't teach me in person, but I was stirring and chopping with his book open in front of me, and he's so much a part of his cookbook. So many pictures of him cooking, and his writing sounds so fresh, like he's talking face-to-face with you about all this food he flat-out loves.
So though it was just me, the risotto, and the book, I felt like I was being coached by an exuberant older British cousin.
And that's okay with me.
(Incidentally, the risotto turned out awesome. Every time.)
The recipes are so inspiring. Just reading the titles feels like a vacation. And you know I love Italian food...
And then the photography... every cookbook needs a brilliant photographer, agreed? This one delivers. I completely love all the outdoorsy shots--most of this book feels like the food was purchased, prepared, and eaten outside. And I love that.
Can I say it again? I love that.
Something gets put back together in my soul when I eat outside.
There's also a handful of pictures of amazing old Italian women. ... I want to be an amazing old Italian woman when I grow up. I really, really do. They look so wise, saucy, and sweet, all at the same time. Can I spontaneously become Italian when I turn, say, 75, and work up to wise/saucy/sweet from there?
It's a goal.
... You need this book. It's a trip out of winter for a while. Not to mention: a ticket to some pretty astonishing cooking. Have fun.