Italian culture is defined in part by the art of cooking, blending ancient traditions with contemporary innovation. First published in 2005, The Silver Spoon has helped transform a generation of English speakers into experienced Italian cooks.
The Silver Spoon Classic is a luxurious collection of 170 of the most authentic recipes from the world’s leading Italian cookbook, complete with new photography and a fresh, updated design.
The title of this seminal cookbook derives from the English phrase, “a baby born with a silver spoon in her mouth,” which describes someone who has been born into a rich heritage.
The original Il Cucchio d’Argento was published in 1950. Since then, millions of copies have been sold around the world. Phaidon’s 2005 edition was followed by an updated and revised edition in 2011, which continues to be the most authoritative book on Italian home cooking.
The Silver Spoon Classic is the definitive compilation of the original cookbook’s best and most iconic recipes, featuring newly photographed dishes and written in language that is accessible to gourmands and beginners alike.
Home cooks will be able to prepare well-known dishes like Pasta Bolognese, Milanese Risotto, and Tiramisu, along with more unusual dishes, such as Braised Boar with Apples, Black Risotto with Cuttlefish, and stuffed Zucchini Flowers.
The Silver Spoon Classic starts with a history of The Silver Spoon tradition and includes a how-to section, “Cook Like An Italian,” meant to inspire cooks at all levels to succeed in their cooking. Every recipe contain an introductory text that provides cultural, historical, and anecdotal information to bring each dish to life, and the volume also includes a section on equipment and a glossary of Italian terms.
The book is broken into 6 chapters, including Basic Recipes, Appetizers, Starters, Main Courses, Side Dishes, and Desserts. Helpful recipe symbols indicate those that are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or dairy-free; those that require 5 ingredients or fewer; recipes that can be completed in 30 minutes or less; and dishes that can be made in a single pot for minimal clean-up.
The authentic recipes are from various regions throughout Italy, from Veneto to Calabria, Tuscany to Sardinia, Piedmont to Sicily. Italians still follow the rhythm of the seasons in selecting their ingredients—they will wait until spring to enjoy Orecchiette with Broccoli and Sardines in Bread Crumbs or the summer for some fresh Summer Rice Salad, Tomato Bruschetta, Spaghetti with Anchovies, or Wild Strawberries and Lemon Ice cream. But as soon as the temperature falls in the autumn and winter, they begin to prepare warming plates of Braised Beef with Barolo, Lasagna Bolognese, or Pearl Barley Soup.
The Silver Spoon Classic is exquisitely designed and beautifully bound in textured cloth with the iconic foil-stamped silver spoon. It is a perfect guide for anyone who appreciates Italian cuisine and culture, wants to expand their knowledge of this country’s rich culinary history, and make their own Italian dishes.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 22 minutes
Makes: one large pizza or two small pizzas
In 1889, King Umberto I and his wife, Queen Margherita, curious about the Neapolitan staple food, invited the pizza maker Don Raffaele to the kitchen of the Cappo di Monte palace in Naples, where he cooked a few samples. The queen’s choice, with simple mozzarella, tomato, and basil, became known the world over as Pizza Margherita. At the end of the eighteenth century, tomatoes became a readily available ingredient, having previously been grown only in the south of Italy, and pizza as we know it spread from Naples and across the world. When tomatoes are not in season, substitute them with a good tomato sauce.
Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas Mark 7 and brush 1 or 2 baking sheets with oil or line with parchment paper.
If making two small pizzas, divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured work counter, then press them out on the baking sheets. Sprinkle the tomatoes on top and drizzle with oil. Bake for 15–20 minutes.
Add the mozzarella slices, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil. Bake for another 7–8 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil leaves, then serve hot.
The type of flour used impacts both the flavor and texture of the dough, and the best pizzas begin with good-quality dough. The gluten in flour is elastic when wet and gives the springiness to bread as well as the chewiness to pizza crusts. While this recipe encourages the use of traditional Italian flours, such as “0” or “00”, all-purpose (plain) flour is a safe alternative for pizza dough, from deep dish to thin crust. Strong bread flour is also an option as it tears less easily, however it may be more difficult to stretch into shape because of its high gluten content.
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 3 hours resting
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 2 large pizzas
Dissolve the yeast in a bowl with ⅔ cup/150 ml lukewarm water and add the sugar. Sift the flours into a mound in a large bowl or on a clean work counter and make a well in the center. Make a groove around the edge and sprinkle the salt in it. Pour the yeast mixture, oil, and another ⅔ cup/150 ml lukewarm water into the well.
Mix to make a soft dough and knead until smooth. Shape into a ball, then place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap (clingfilm), and let rise (prove) in a warm place for about 2 hours.
Lightly punch down the dough. Cover with a slightly damp dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Use the pizza dough as instructed in your recipe.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Phaidon.