Celebrate the soul of Italian home cooking
The Italians call it l’arte dell’arrangiarsi—the art of making do with what you’ve got. They’ve been cooking this way for centuries, a unique approach to ingredients and techniques known as cucina povera, or peasant cooking, that results in the highest expression of what Italian food is all about—transforming simple components into unforgettably delicious and satisfying meals.
It’s also a way of cooking that, with some notable exceptions like minestrone, ribollita, and pasta e fagioli, is barely known outside of Italy. Author Giulia Scarpaleggia is all set to change that. She’s a Tuscan home cook, food writer, and cooking teacher who is writing both to elevate the cucina povera of her native country and to honor the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the strong Italian women who came before her. In 100 recipes, beautifully photographed, Cucina Povera shows how to take the humblest of ingredients—beans and lentils; lesser-known cuts of meat; small, bony local fish; vegetables from the garden; rice and pasta; and leftovers—and make magic: Roasted Squash Risotto, Florentine Beef Stew, Chicken Cacciatore, Nettle and Ricotta Gnudi, Summer Borlotti Bean and Corn Soup, Sicilian Watermelon Pudding. And the author’s favorite comfort food, pappa al pomodoro, aka leftover bread and tomato soup. Soul satisfying, super healthy, budget friendly, no waste, easy to make, and as authentic as a piping-hot rice ball from a street vendor in Rome, the cooking of Cucina Povera is exactly how so many of us want to eat today.