My first introduction to Ursula Ferrigno was through a book called Bread (published by Dorling Kindersley) that she co-wrote with Eric Treuillé, the owner of London shop/haven Books For Cooks. It’s an eminently useful publication with, as is the Dorling Kindersley way, plenty, almost too many, illustrations. This became a much-used publication in my kitchen – especially when the Boyfriend appointed himself official bagel-maker! – and so it was with great interest I turned to Ferrigno’s latest book, Trattoria: Food for Family and Friends.
Fortunately publishers Mitchell Beazley don’t go in for the totally step-by-step, picture-at-each-stage idea. Trattoria is more atmospheric than the dictatorial Bread but the quality of the recipes doesn’t suffer from that. Ferrigno has published several other well-regarded Italian cookery books and she certainly knows her stuff. Each recipe starts with a paragraph where she talks evocatively about the ingredients used, the history of the dish and the area that the food is associated with. The emphasis throughout is on fresh, regional and seasonal food and, while Ferrigno celebrates tradition, she is not hide-bound by it.
Ferrigno includes recipes from and little histories of some of her favourite trattoria, tempting the reader to visit Italy as well as cooking its food. The book is sumptuously photographed by Francesca Yorke – the dishes, as well as the people, produce and landscape – and will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in Italian food. All I need now is a map so I can plot my gastronomic tour of Italy!
Trattoria: Food for Family and Friends by Ursula Ferrigno is published by Mitchell Beazley.