Saturday November 07, 2015
The majority of food infatuations don’t begin until after adulthood has set in -- once our tastes have matured and we have defined our culinary preferences. Domenica Marchetti skipped a few steps, having spent her childhood summers in Italy, reveling in the fresh offerings of the local markets. This is where she fell in love with vegetables, each entirely unique in their varying geometric constructions and brilliantly bright hues. In The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, Marchetti translates this passion for her reader, wanting to show that all vegetables are worthy of our affection.
Marchetti first breaks vegetables down to their roots, calling this section the “Gallery of Italian Vegetables” a name fitting of the praise and glory she gives to each. She provides information on their season, telling readers when pumpkins are at their sweetest and artichokes are at their best. She adds to this instructions for cleaning so that all vegetables will shine beautifully in her recipes.
The minimalist photographs capture all that is necessary to convey the ingredients’ appeal; blistered cherry tomatoes pop out against the pale sauce in Capricci with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Cream while the near-white fennel atop a Pizza Bianca melts into the lightly-browned and bubbly ricotta and mozzarella. A rainbow of colors abounds in her other flatbreads, providing options like Grilled Eggplant in Olive Oil or Grilled Peppers, completed and contrasted with a handful of the greens of your choice.
Marchetti’s creativity gets put on display in her desserts, where she uses a Panna Cotta, made creamy and luscious by heavy cream, sugar, and mascarpone to give attention to the sweetness of a roasted winter squash. This recipe gives the essence of what Marchetti wants to make known: by starting with quality ingredients and cooking them only so that their natural flavors come through, you bring vegetables back into the spotlight, allowing them to be savoured and treasured in every bite.
Andiamo in giardino. Let’s go into the garden.