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Recipes from an Italian Summer

Street Scene Street scene Landscape Landscape

Recipes from an Italian Summer An Excerpt from the Introduction


In Italy, summer is the season of vacations and relaxation, of gathering together and eating with family and friends. Whether for a grand summer banquet held at long tables under the vines on a hot summer afternoon, or an informal picnic in a mountain meadow, Italian summer food is simple to prepare and makes the best possible use of a huge variety of seasonal produce.


In Italy, almost everyone takes a vacation for the whole of August, and the most important date in the summer calendar is August 15th, or Ferragosto. It is a national holiday that traditionally involves a large meal with family and friends, such as a picnic in the countryside or at the beach. The menus for special occasions such as the Ferragosto feast are carefully composed to present a tempting array of light, often cold, dishes, in which fresh, local and seasonal ingredients are artfully combined to create a meal that is both flavorful and colorful. It often takes the form of a cold buffet with a range of delicious dishes, which are organized from left to right, starting with the lighter dishes and antipasti and ending with the desserts...


Many of the recipes in this book come from the regions most popular with Italian vacationers: Sicily, Sardinia, Campania, Tuscany, and the mountains of northern Italy. The highly flavored cuisine of Sicily often involves citrus fruit and north African influences, as well as their famous ice creams. Sardinian food is simple and refined, and makes great use of the wonderful seafood caught on the island’s shores, and cured mullet roe, which is the island’s best-known food export.

The bold flavors of Campania are perfect in summer, with fresh ingredients such as olives, tomatoes, and goat cheese taking center stage. Summer recipes from Tuscany can turn the humblest of ingredients...into stunning but simple dishes. There are few finer steaks for barbecuing than those from the Tuscan Chianina cow, which, with simple but careful cooking, are delicious and tender. Finally, the food of the mountains is fresh tasting and satisfying, and often includes fresh herbs, late summer mushrooms, apples and pears, and freshwater fish from the mountain streams.


The recipes in this book are organized according to the different ways we like to eat in summer, and to help inspire tempting menus for all sorts of occasions. The Picnics chapter contains cold dishes which can be easily transported and are good to eat outdoors, such as simple breads and salads, pies and frittatas, and desserts that can be prepared in advance. The Salads chapter provides recipes for leafy greens and vegetable salads, which work well as accompaniments to the main course and barbecue dishes in other parts of the book. Light lunches and Suppers features simple meals that are quick to prepare, including substantial salads that can form a meal in their own right, as well as pizzas and light vegetables and fish dishes…

...Recipes from an Italian Summer is a celebration of the delicious ingredients that are available from May to September, and presents a comprehensive collection of authentic seasonal recipes from the team behind the best-selling Italian cookery bible, The Silver Spoon…

Excerpted from Recipes from an Italian Summer, published by Phaidon Press (2010, $39.95),

For pricing info & more on Recipes from an Italian Summer click here.

Recipes from an Italian Summer is the ultimate summer cookbook for all lovers of Italian food. From informal picnics to family barbecues and entertaining outdoors, the book presents 380 easy-to-follow and authentic recipes for all occasions. The beautiful color photographs throughout this book, including landscape photography by acclaimed photographer Joel Meyerowitz, make this a stand-out cookbook. More...

Plums in Wine Plums in Wine
(Prugne al vino)

Serves 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

• 3 cups sweet rosé wine
• 1 cinnamon stick
• generous 1/2 cup superfine sugar
• thinly pared zest of 1/2 lemon, finely chopped
• 2 1/4 pounds plums, pitted

Pour the wine into a medium pan, add the cinnamon, sugar, and lemon zest and gradually bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the plums, bring back to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a heatproof glass dish and let cool, then remove the cinnamon stick. Keep the dessert in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Copyright © 2010 by Phaidon Press Inc. Reprinted from Recipes from an Italian Summer with permission from Phaidon Press Inc.

Lamb Chops with Mint

Lamb Chops with Mint
(Costolette alla menta)

Serves 4

Preparation time: 1-2 ¼ hours (including marinating)
Cooking time: 4-8 minutes

• juice of 1 lemon, strained
• plenty of olive oil, for brushing
• 1 sprig mint, chopped
• 8 lamb rib chops
• salt and pepper
• peas or zucchini cooked in butter, to serve (optional)

Combine the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the oil, and the mint in a dish, add the lamb chops and let marinate, turning occasionally, for 1-2 hours.

Light the barbecue. Drain the lamb chops, place on the barbecue grill, and cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, basting with more oil as necessary. Season with salt and pepper and serve with peas or zucchini, if desired.

Copyright © 2010 by Phaidon Press Inc. Reprinted from Recipes from an Italian Summer with permission from Phaidon Press Inc.

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In the Silver Spoon Series:

Silver Spoon for Children Silver Spoon Pasta

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