The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook: Classic Cuisine from the Italian Countryside
Recommended without reservation to anyone who needs or wants to cook classic Italian food that just so happens to be gluten- (and wheat-) free.
by Mary Capone, 224 pgs., 2nd edition published by The Wheat-Free Gourmet Press in paperback; from $24.00 (USD) at Amazon.com.
Mary Capone knows Italian food, and she uses both her heritage as an Italian-American and her training as a professional chef to craft recipes for gluten-free fare that you can easily prepare and serve, to yourself or others, no apologies necessary. She doesn’t make you choose between good food and food that is good for you or your gluten-intolerant family and friends. Whether you cook without gluten some of the time or all of the time, this is one cookbook that should be in your kitchen.
I purchased the first edition soon after it was released, having sampled some of Mary Capone’s recipes — specifically her oh-so-tender Italian thumbprint cookies — from a free holiday download made available several years ago by the publishers of the magazine formerly known as Living Without. I’d love to see the newer edition because my family was thrilled from the first recipe I tried to the last. If my husband had his way, I’d have worked straight through the cookbook from beginning to end, serving him each and every one of the offerings inside. One day, I promise, I will. He thought several of the recipes were worth the price of the whole book, and I wholeheartedly agree.
We had been disappointed by so many poor excuses for gluten-free cookbooks, from celiacs who had never cooked (and perhaps never should?) to celiacs who had been on gluten-free diets so long they just didn’t know how food could and should taste. But, with The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook, no one has to compromise. Not on taste, nor on texture. You can prepare any, and every, recipe in the book and serve the result with the certainty that no one has to know that these delightful dishes are gluten-free . . . unless you choose to tell them.
“My desire was, and still is, to invite the gluten-free palate to sing with flavor,” Mary Capone wrote in the introduction to her first edition.
This is one invitation every gluten-intolerant palate should accept.
The book includes a recipe for gluten-free pasta which I am eager to try — my husband bought me a pasta machine so I can. In the first edition, Mary Capone also listed her preferred brand of prepared gluten-free pasta — the same that an Italian-American friend with celiac siblings had recommended to me — for those who are daunted by the idea of making fresh pasta. In the years since the first edition was published, newer and even better pastas are available for those who cannot tolerate gluten. We especially enjoy Barilla’s gluten-free pastas, Ancient Harvest (quinoa) pastas and, when we can find it, DeLallo’s gluten-free pastas.
Aside from the opportunity to add to any cook’s gluten-free repertoire, this cookbook is also a joy to read and an expert primer for gluten-free cooking of any kind. Read the introduction. Read about her struggles to create a gluten-free pasta dough worthy of her late Aunt Carmel . . . and how her aunt, dead some 10 years, provided the inspiration that led to what she considers one of her crowning successes. Enjoy the photographs, whether they showcase the dishes, illustrate the procedures or introduce you to her Aunt Carmel and other relatives.
This is a book to be savoured, whether you’re reading it in the kitchen or in your favorite book nook.
About the Author: Growing up in an Italian household filled with restaurateurs and great cooks, Mary Capone learned the foundations of classic Italian cuisine from her family’s boisterous kitchens. As a celiac, she has since reinvented this scrumptious cuisine to meet the needs of gluten-free dieters in her popular book, The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook: Classic Cuisine from the Italian Countryside. Her articles and recipes have appeared in The Herb Quarterly, Energy for Women, Eatingwell.com, Living Without Magazine, Livingwithout.com, Delicious Living Magazine and Delight Gluten-Free. She is currently the director of The Wheat Free Gourmet Cooking School and has taught over 1500 students from around the world. She lives in Boulder Colorado with her loving family.
Find the author’s products at Bella Gluten Free.