Creating your own recipe is hardNot only do you need to consider ingredients, but also cooking time, measurements, serving size…you get the point. This is not one of my strengths. In fact, most of the things I cook are either dishes I grew up eating OR recipes from cookbooks.

Sometimes you just have to consult the professionals. Eventually, though, you’ll start tweaking those recipes to make them your own. You’ll start to realize what flavors you like & what blends well together. You’ll start to create.

I typically skim through my favorite cookbooks to find inspiration for weekly meals. In fact, I rarely write out my grocery shopping list without doing just that. So, I share with you my top cookbooks to help you find whatever food inspiration you might be looking for.

Porkchop and Sage

Pork chop in butter & sage from The Silver Spoon

The Silver Spoon:

Ever wondered how to cook rabbit? What about oxtail? Maybe blueberry pork is more your style. Don’t be scared away by the interesting selection of meats. You’ll find basic pasta recipes like orecchiette con i broccoli as well as famous desserts like panna cotta. The book even highlights a special menu section by master chef Massimo Bottura (see Netflix’s Chef’s Table series) that puts a Michelin-starred twist on tradition.

The Silver Spoon was the first cookbook I invested in, when I started cooking on my own. It was first published in the 1950s as “Il cucchiaio d’argento” (literal translation of “the silver spoon), and it has become one of the most well-known cookbooks in Italy. It was not until the early 2000s that this book was translated into English allowing its reach to extend globally.

You will find almost 2000 recipes from throughout the country – including those that are region-specific. Divided into several chapters, no course goes unmentioned. If you are looking for a single destination for italian cooking, The Silver Spoon will deliver.

Lamb from Toscana in Cucina

Rack of Lamb on a bed of Red Onions from Toscana in Cucina

Toscana in Cucina:

I found this cookbook in the cutest “sister-owned” shop in Lucca called Le Sorelle (meaning “the sisters). It is written in Italian with English translations & goes so far as to share the converted units of measurement. I only recently found this sold on Amazon. Until then, I thought Toscana in Cucina was my little secret

The photography is what originally drew me to the book, as it not only captures the beauty of the cuisine but also that of the culture.

Some of the most well-known Italian dishes originated in Tuscany (i.e., ribollita, pappardelle al cinghiale (wild boar), bistecca alla Fiorentina, etc.). So, Toscana in Cucina is a great option if you’d like to learn more about the gastronomy of this region.

Neapolitan Pizza from The Pizza Bible

Pizza Napoletana from The Pizza Bible

The Pizza Bible:

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. This book is golden. Tony Gemignani is a pizza genius, and he single handedly has made the world a better place by giving us this book. You can make great pizza at home, but don’t try doing it without using this as a resource.

The Pizza Bible is a comprehensive guide to pizza-making that highlights all the major styles & even sub-specialities like New Haven & Californian.

He begins by reviewing pizza-making theory, best practices & tools of the trade. Then, he reviews different types of dough, sauces, and even provides instructions on how to make fresh mozzarella at home. By the end of the book, you’ll feel as though you completed a college-level course in pizza-making minus the degree.

Calamari Panzanella

Calamari Panzanella from Giada’s Italy

Giada’s Italy:

I had been waiting for Giada to come out with a traditional Italian cookbook, as many of her others have some sort of non-traditional twist to them. Well, this cookbook is just that!

In Giada’s Italy, she returns to her native roots & shares authentic dishes with a Giada signature touch.

Her Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with a Mustard Dressing is a personal favorite of mine that I’ve made for many weeknight dinners. The Calamari Panzanella is a show-stopping salad that is a complete meal with representatives from the vegetable, protein & grain families. And, how can you go wrong with Pound Cake & Limoncello Zabaglione – yum!

I’ve always been a Giada fan, and this is my favorite cookbook of hers to date because of its authenticity.