Best Italian cookbooks 2023
Master Italian cookery with our selection of the best Italian cookbooks to teach you perfect pizza, pasta and much more
Looking to perfect your homemade pizza game? Love pasta but need some inspiration beyond pesto and carbonara? We've chosen our favourite Italian cookbooks to help you master this ever-popular cuisine and bring a taste of the Mediterranean into your own kitchen.
From books specialising in pasta, pizza or Italian desserts (enjoy top-notch gelato all year round), to books filled with anecdotes, history and stories of Italian culture, we've got a cookbook for everyone. These also make the perfect gift for friends or family who love an Italian holiday, with books spanning the length and breadth of the country, including a deep dive into Sicilian cuisine. Plus, there's books by some of our favourite Italian restaurants to help you recreate iconic dishes at home.
For more cookbook inspiration, check out our cookbooks hub for all our reviews including the best baking cookbooks, the best cookbooks for kids or the best vegan cookbooks. Looking for a special personalised gift? Build a customised My BBC Good Food cookbook filled with your pick of our triple-tested recipes. These are ideal to give to a foodie friend or use in your own kitchen.
Best Italian cookbooks at a glance
- Best for gifting: Big Mamma Cucina Popolare, £24.75
- Best for a good read: Amaretto, Apple Cake and Artichokes by Anna Del Conte, £14.23
- Best for pizza: Pizza: A Book by Pizza Pilgrims by James Elliot & Thom Elliot, £16.42
- Best for pasta: An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy, £16.99
- Best for desserts: La Vita è Dolce by Letitia Clark, £21
- Best Sicilian cookbook: Sicilia by Ben Tish, £21
- Best for storecupboard cooking: The Italian Deli Cookbook by Theo Randall, £20.85
- Best Italian cookery bible: The Italian Cookery Course by Katie Caldesi, £29.99
- Best for added extras: Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking by Vicky Bennison, £17.67
- Best celebrity Italian book: Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver, £19.11
Best Italian cookbooks to buy 2023
Big Mamma Cucina Popolare
Best for gifting
If you’ve ever been to one of the Big Mamma restaurants (there’s currently Circolo Polopare, Ave Mario and Gloria in London, with more to come) then you know they offer a guaranteed fun time. This continues into their book with a bold, colourful design and more than 120 recipes. There are quirky twists on classics and vibrant new ideas for entertaining alongside some of the familiar restaurant dishes: think a Daft Punch cocktail, Egg Sheeran poached eggs and much more. The perfect for gift for anyone who’s a fan of the restaurants and wants to have some fun in the kitchen.
Amaretto, Apple Cake and Artichokes by Anna Del Conte
Best for a good read
Anna Del Conte is a doyenne of Italian cooking and food writing. First published in 2006, this soon became a classic. Combining recipes along with anecdotes and stories from Anna’s life in Italy and London, it’s a book to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy time with. Each chapter is devoted to a different ingredient and recipes vary from basics to sections exploring traditional historical and regional recipes (Roman Late Supper, anyone?) for a truly evocative read.
Pizza: A book by Pizza Pilgrims by Thom Elliot & James Elliot
Best for pizza
Thom and James, founders of successful restaurant chain Pizza Pilgrims, discovered their passion for pizza by setting off on a ‘pizza pilgrimage’ in 2011. They spent six weeks travelling Italy learning everything there is to know about pizzas from expert pizzaioli before returning home and opening Pizza Pilgrims in 2012. 10 years later, they’ve continued travelling the world in the hunt for good pizza and condensed everything they know into this fun book. As well as recipes for great pizzas, this entertaining read includes city guides to help you find great pizza across the world, stories from the restaurants, deep dives into ingredients, wine and pizza pairing advice and much more.
An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy
Best for pasta
Stuck in a pesto pasta rut? This A-Z of pasta will help expand your horizons. Rachel Roddy brings together short essays on the culture, history and shapes of pasta across Italy to make you a pasta aficionado in no time and learn the context of what you’re cooking. The 120 recipes cover the classics such as ragu and carbonara so you can make them the authentic way, as well as new shapes (think scialetielli, capelli d’angelo and more) and how to match pastas and sauces.
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Sicilia by Ben Tish
Best Sicilian cookbook
Chef and restaurateur Ben Tish explores the diverse food of Sicily with its Arab, French, Greek and Spanish influences. The book starts with breads stuffed with delicious combinations like sausage and fennel and cauliflower and pine nuts, before moving onto fritti (deep-fried snacks), vegetables, meat, fish and sweets. But it’s the pasta and rice chapter we’re most excited about, packed with tempting options to make midweek cooking feel like a holiday.
The Italian Deli Cookbook by Theo Randall
Best for storecupboard cooking
If you’re making the same risottos and pasta dishes over and over, then this book is for you. Theo Randall shows how you can use a few good Italian deli staples (all available in supermarkets) – dried pasta, olives, cured meats, mozzarella – to make an array of easy, tempting dishes, from spaghetti with sweet onion, courgette and basil to sausage and radicchio risotto.
La Vita è Dolce by Letitia Clark
Best for desserts
Italian food isn’t just all about pizza and pasta. This beautifully designed book has over 80 sweet Italian dessert recipes by trained pastry chef Letitia Clark, covering everything from biscuits, tarts and cakes to gelato and gifting ideas. It’s ideal for the keen baker looking to try something new, or the dinner party host in search of the perfect ending to an Italian feast. Detailed recipe introductions provide context to the recipes, from a sunny citrus and Campari upside-down cake to classic cannoli, cantucci, peach sorbet and much more.
The Italian Cookery Course by Katie Caldesi
Best Italian cookery bible
If you only buy one Italian cookbook, this is the bible you need. A weighty 500 page tome, this is a tour of food across Italy’s 20 regions, showcasing classics and lesser-known traditional recipes to help you develop the skills of Italian cooking. It’s stuffed with 400 recipes and plenty of practical tips and secrets along with in-depth masterclasses on technique to fill you with confidence next time you cook.
Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking by Vicky Bennison
Best for added extras
If you haven’t discovered the Pasta Grannies yet, you’re missing out. Pasta Grannies originated as a YouTube channel (now with more than 880k subscribers), finding and filming Italian nonnas who still make pasta by hand, a rapidly disappearing tradition. Comfort Cooking is the follow up to the hugely successful first book, this time featuring 60 recipes from Italian grandmothers focusing not just on comforting pasta but pizza, pies and pastries too. Plus, every recipe is accompanied by a scannable QR code that takes you to a video watching the grandmothers make these recipes in their kitchens themselves.
Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver
Best celebrity Italian book
Jamie Oliver fans won't be able to resist this ultimate guide to Italian cooking. Jamie takes us on a culinary adventure with his mentor and friend Gennaro Contaldo, and shares the recipes they learn from the nonnas – the real masters of pasta, who cook their treasured family recipes passed down through the generations.
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