The Italian Diabetes Cookbook: Delicious and Healthful Dishes from Venice to Sicily and Beyond by Amy Riolo is a well-organized and executed cookbook. It is almost as though Riolo has been using cookbooks for so long as a cook that she knows exactly what cooks are looking for.
What do I mean by that? First, she organizes her recipes by course beginning with appetizers. But, she takes into account the modern cook’s desire to maximize flavor by cooking with seasonal vegetables, so she provides a seasonal menu. She also provides a small collection of recipe basics, those items you make again and again as ingredients in other recipes. Last but not least, she provides a list of pantry essentials for Italian cooking though it would take a pantry larger than my wee kitchen, a glossary of Italian cooking terms and a list of source to look for the more esoteric items.
Each recipe has a short introduction and a comment about Italian tradition such mixing up a double batch so the vegetables can be used with pasta the next day or how to pick the best oranges in the market. The recipes are well-organized and easy to understand, with exchange & nutritional information provided for every recipe
However, the only way to really review a cookbook is to try a couple of recipes. For supper last night, I made the carrot and zucchini ribbons and plan on making the lentil soup tonight.
For lunch today, I made her Asparagus, Orange and Fennel Salad except being allergic to oranges, I used grapefruit. It worked anyway, though I imagine the much sweeter oranges would give a sweeter result. Riolo’s commentary and introductions show her flexibility and freedom in the kitchen, suggesting she would not mind one bit that I made that substitution. She frequently suggests substitutions herself. Most of her recipes serve 6, so I had to cut them down, a simple thing to do. The recipes worked, were delicious and her prep times are accurate.
The best thing, though, about the Italian Diabetes Cookbook is the rich variety of recipes that are diabetes friendly. She’s no miracle-worker. There’s no lasagna. But there are healthy, diabetic-ready recipes with the rich, aromatic Italian flavors so many of us love and long for.
Italian Diabetes Cookbook is a well-organized, healthy addition to any cook’s collection and most particularly for those of us who are diabetic. I know we often steer clear of Italian cuisine, wary of the pasta and rich cheese sauces. Riolo makes it clear there is no need for such caution if we direct our attention to using Italian flavors and techniques with meats and vegetables and even a few carbs and cheeses in moderation. This is a cookbook I will be experimenting with for a long time.
I received my copy of Italian Diabetes Cookbook as an electronic advance galley from Edelweiss.