I have a new favorite foodie magazine and its La Cucina Italiana.
This is unusual for me, because I tend to shy away from Italian food when I cook. It's not that I don't like tomato sauces and pastas, it's just that everyone cooks a version of Italian food, and I like to be a little different. Plus, much of what we get as Americanized Italian food all tastes the same - mozarella or ricotta, some pasta, and a tomato-based sauce with garlic. Good, but it gets old.
There's some of that in this magazine, but not much. The first issue of La Cucina Italiana I purchased was the fall issue, which had more useful recipes with fall flavors in it than any magazine I'd ever purchased. We made squash and soup recipes from it, and every recipe was a winner. I was wary of recommending the magazine, however since this one issue could have easily been a fluke.
I recently picked up the Holiday issue of La Cucina Italiana, and they've done it again. Inside are recipes for sauces, main courses, and desserts that will make you eager to get in the kitchen and cook. The photography is lush, the recipes are intriguing but easy to follow, and the food delicious.
The magazine is associated with a batch of web sites - the first is a magazine-oriented site that you can search to find many, but not all, of the recipes that have been published in the magazine. The second is a beautiful Italian language portal into the culinary arts. There is a world site in English and sites in Dutch and Czech as well.
Even if you don't cook classically Italian food much, pick up this magazine and enjoy the writing and the photography, or just go to the websites and pick a few recipes to make.
Me? I'm going to make the beautiful dessert they have in this month's issue that involved candying a half an orange peel as a bowl for chopped nuts, orange sherbet, and drizzled chocolate. Sorry, it's not online yet - you'll just have to go buy the holday issue or wait until January...