Cooking with Love

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La Cucina degli Affetti | Catering and Caring: 124 Recipes for Cooking with Love.

First published in October 2007 by Aida (a local imprint specializing in the culinary arts), Benedetta Vitali's cookbook La cucina degli affetti has already had a major reprint - and is quickly becoming a bestseller of sorts among cooking enthusiasts in Tuscany.

So please let's not give in to precooked food. Do cook. Let's cook. Let's do it ourselves and for our kids. Let's do it because it's an eco-friendly choice; out of respect for those who are committed to providing us with good, fair, wholesome products."   –Benedetta

La cucina degli affetti is divided into themed chapters—in both Italian and English—offering easy menus for different meals ranging from a dinner with your significant other to comfort foods for pampering yourself and ideas for family holiday gatherings:

  • Dinner for two— A magical evening, a special guest, a menu to prepare with affection, love and passion. No trite commonplaces about aphrodisiac foods, just some suggestions for the perfect dinner for two.
  • Benedetta's culinary tips— Preserves, marinades, meat cuts, cooking times, sauces... The alchemy of cooking and useful tricks that are guaranteed (almast always) to work.
  • Eating in Company— Is there any better way of being in company? Friendships start and flourish at the table. Cooking for the people we love is a gift for them and for us.
  • Fast (Good) Food— Fast food can be good, very good in fact. All you need are a few simple, tasty ingredients, rapid cooking and a touch of experience.
  • Sunday Cooking— At the weekend, on holidays and other special occasions it is nice to prepare those rather more elaborate ans "difficult" dishes. It takes time, patience and good company.
  • Pick-me-ups— Feeling a bit down? Treat yourself to something naughty but nice, a tasty titbit, either sweet or savoury. And if that fails, try again!
  • Recipes and popular idioms— Eat your words! After all, popular wisdom often comes down to us through the kitchen.
  • Index of recipes in alphabetical order / Index of recipes divided into courses

Although based on favorite Italian recipes (like vegetable caponata, home made tortellini, macaroni timbale, panzerotti pasties) and staple Tuscan food (such as cacciucco fish stew, tripe rolls, chestnut flour cake or flat bread with grapes), the cookbook also covers international dishes (Spanish gazpacho, Greek zaziki, chickpea hummus), basic sauces and dressings (from béchamel sauce to mayonnayse and pesto), cocktails and spirits (Margarita, Mojito and Vodka Martini to name but a few) and even jams, preserves and marmelades.

La cucina degli affetti is available from Benedetta.