Italian cuisine embraces simplicity. The Silver Spoon: Quick and Easy Italian Recipes (Phaidon 2015) is a clever book that focuses on the kind of recipes to make everyday – even on the weekends – and especially when you are rushed and are tempted to get take out. Don’t. Turn to this book to whip up a meal that focuses on flavor, seasonal ingredients, and simplicity. The photographs by Steven Joyce and Jason Lowe will inspire you to make every night Italian.
If you have time on your hands on a Saturday evening, fry up some Sage Appetizers (p. 10) from that sage plant on your widow sill to go with a glass of prosecco.
The Italians are masters of toast.
Slice some good rustic bread and make one of the easy crostini: Tuscan Crostini (p. 15) with a topping of course chicken liver pate. There is also Tomato and Anchovy Crostini (p. 16) with those Italian anchovies you have been saving. How about Sausage Crostini (p. 18) or Tomato Bruschetta (p. 21) with a little bite of garlic to much on with that glass of vermouth.
Italians are masters in turning out a quick pasta for primi course. There are fairly starchy ones like Rigatoni with Garbanzo Bean Sauce (p. 52), wintry dishes like Fettocine with Walnut Sauce (p. 58), and lighter recipes like Tagliatelle with Lemon (p. 64) – which has both cream and butter. The Fettucine with Chicken and Almonds (p. 73) is intriguing – could this be a dish with an Arab history? There are so many good pasta dishes – from Spaghetti Carbonara to Lasagne Bolognese – you can make a different one each day of the week and never get bored.
The side dishes in Quick and Easy Italian Recipes are perfect for vegetarians. Spicy Broccoli with Yogurt (p. 166) flavored with chile, garlic and parsley would pair well with New Potatoes with Rosemary (p. 178) or a Garbanzo Bean and Radicchio Salad (p. 176) fortified with Parmesan and more potatoes.
At that back of Quick and Easy Italian Recipes is a handy Cooking Time Index with plenty of recipes taking 10 or 15 minutes or as much as 30 minutes. Surely, most nights a take out order won’t arrive in less time. And these are recipes that will satisfy you far more.