Italy: The World Vegetarian is a vibrant volume penned by Christine Smallwood. It will delight vegetarians but, just as importantly, it will also be welcomed by lovers of Italian food of every kind.
I confess! I am not a vegetarian and will likely never be one. I do, however, only eat meat a couple of times a week. That isn’t due to carnivorous shame but simply because there are so many more vegetables than there are meats, and I love good food of any genre. Perhaps that’s the path we should all be taking these days.
This isn’t an over-noble tome full of whole-grain and beige baked dishes giving a nod to medicine. Italy: The World Vegetarian is bursting with delicious classic and modern dishes to tempt the home cook and the home diner – and there are a lot more of those these days. It’s all about flavourful meals made with fresh and seasonal veggies.
I am inspired by the recipe for mushroom-filled potato gnocchi. This would be a delicious family supper, but would also be a unique starter for a smart Italian dinner party. Taking such common ingredients and turning them into something of a culinary triumph will gladden the heart of any gastronome on a budget.
There are dishes here which work perfectly as vegetarian mains, or even as side dishes with or without meat. Winter Roots is a hearty platter of colourful vegetables and the leftovers can easily be made into a warming cold-weather soup, so make a double recipe of this!
But winter will come and go, and we will be looking for lighter fare. Italy: The World Vegetarian introduces us to a host of salads such as rice salad with plenty of additional interest from cheese, vegetables and eggs, too. And potato and red onion salad will work whatever the weather.
Yes, there are pasta dishes here but a whole wealth of other healthy, extravagant, simple and tasty meals to explore …and you don’t have to be a vegetarian to appreciate them.
Italy: The World Vegetarian
Author: Christine Smallwood
Published by: Bloomsbury Absolute