Perhaps you made a resolution this year to cook more at home and your commitment is flagging, or maybe you’re simply looking for new inspiration. Either way, there’s a whole new crop of cookbooks coming out this spring, and many of them are worth getting excited about. Many are by acclaimed restaurant chefs; a few offer a peek into the world of a lesser-known cuisine. Still others open our minds to a new way of weeknight cooking. Here are 10 that we think are worth checking out right now.
1. Pasta By Hand: A Collection of Italy’s Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta by Jenn Louis
In her debut cookbook, Jenn Louis, chef at Portland’s Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern, focuses on the regional handmade dumplings of Italy, highlighting classic recipes from all but two of the country’s 20 regions. Flip through recipes and you’ll discover that gnocchi are large and polenta-like in Rome, shaped similar to chickpeas in Sardinia, and dense with farro flour in Umbria. Louis also includes a section detailing sauces that best complement each type of pasta, as well as basic ingredients, tools, and tips for making great dumplings. Read this book and be prepared to not just ache for gnocchi, but also your very own cross-country culinary tour of Italy. Get the book here.
2. Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes From Around the World by Kevin Gillespie
Atlanta chef, restaurateur, and Top Chef alum Kevin Gillespie shows how easy it is to live high on the hog with a new book dedicated to all things pork. Browse the book to find answers to questions both serious (which pork labels are regulated, and which ones are not?) and silly (why do pigs have snouts?). Before delving into recipes, which are organized by cut, Gillespie goes over hog breeds, parts of the pig, and how to cook pastured versus commodity pork. Be prepared to feel hungry after flipping through a diverse set of recipes, from pork stroganoff to Vietnamese spare ribs to homemade pork rinds. We can’t wait to try his version of the Bacon Explosion and his dessert for banoffee trifles with candied bacon. Get the book here.
3. Benu by Corey Lee
In October, Corey Lee and his San Francisco restaurant, Benu, made history by becoming only the third in Northern California to receive three Michelin stars. Now he has a opportunity to explain his vision behind the restaurant in his first major cookbook, which pays tribute to the dining experience in the format of a 32-course tasting menu. In addition to recipes for iconic Benu dishes like “shark fin soup” with Dungeness crab, jinhua ham, and custard, and lobster coral xiao long bao, this coffee table tome is filled with awe-inspiring photographs of places that influence the chef, like Seoul, Hong Kong, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Get the book here.
4. Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories by Christina Tosi
“I’m not trying to sell you a ‘got rocks,’ high-class, glossy magazine version of Milk Bar,” Momofuku Milk Bar chef Christina Tosi writes in Milk Bar Life. Instead, in this book, a follow-up to 2011’s Momofuku Milk Bar, Tosi lets us in on a world of staff bonfires, off-the-clock cookie swaps, craft nights, and family meals. Alongside her behind-the-scenes stories are recipes for foods she loved during her picky childhood (beef braised in red sauce with penne, her grandma’s oatmeal cookies), classic sweets not served at Milk Bar (chocolate chip cookies, buckeyes, mixed nut turtles), and more off-the-clock Tosi creations (crock-pot cake, Kimcheez-Its with blue cheese dip). Get the book here.
5. New German Cooking: Recipes for Classics Revisited by Jeremy and Jessica Nolen
Jeremy and Jessica Nolen, the pair behind Philadelphia’s boisterous beer hall Brauhaus Schmitz, want the world to know German food isn’t all heavy, fatty sausage and schnitzel. Their new cookbook includes recipes for those, too, of course, but also includes courses that emphasize the flavor, freshness, and seasonality of the cuisine: cucumber and dill soup with pumpernickel crumbs, green asparagus and aged gouda dip, pilsner and pickle juice-brined roasted chicken. Recipes range from rudimentary to much more involved—think salad with mustard, onion, and dill pickle made with from-scratch headcheese. Get the book here.
6. A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden by April Bloomfield
The Spotted Pig’s April Bloomfield is back with a sequel of sorts to her 2012 whole hog cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig—one that takes heed of the current meat backlash with a more vegetable-centric approach. It’s written in the same endearingly polite British tone of her first book, and peppered with plenty of vegetable preparation tips (although don’t be surprised to find the occasional anchovy or piece of pork thrown in to boost flavor; this isn’t a meatless cookbook, after all). Look out for dishes she’s described as “top-to-tail,” like roasted carrots with carrot-top pesto and burrata, as well as tagliatelle with asparagus and Parmesan fonduta, and crushed spring peas with mint. Get the book here.
7. The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits by Hugh Acheson
Georgia-based restaurant chef Hugh Acheson, a James Beard Award winner for both his restaurants as well as past cookbooks, is back, this time with a guide to cooking seasonal produce. Sound like another farm-to-table cliché? It might be, if not for Acheson’s refined yet rustic modern Southern recipe—think roasted poblano and pecan guacamole or sautéed catfish with cantaloupe, lime, and cilantro salsa. Also impressive: the chef’s keen ability to coax flavor out of bitter and homely vegetables, from endives and radicchio to soon-to-be-trendy turnips and salsify. On the to-make list: pickled turnip stems and salsify and oyster stew. Get the book here.
8. Truly Madly Pizza: One Incredibly Easy Crust, Countless Inspired Combinations & Other Tidbits to Make Pizza a Nightly Affair by Suzanne Lenzer
Seasoned cookbook author Suzanne Lenzer wants you to think of pizza dough as a blank canvas that has one goal: to make everyday dinners come together easier. In addition to supplying her tried-and-true, know-by-heart pizza dough (which Mark Bittman has called “the best pizza crust I’ve ever had”), Lenzer offers plenty of sage pie advice. Some good points she offers about pizza: it can be made out of freezer staples, dough can be adapted to use throughout the week, and a food processor and pizza stone aren’t actually necessary. A few on our to-do list include ramp pizzas with poached eggs and Pecorino and snacks like tangled parsnip ribbons and marinated gigante beans. Get the book here.
9. Puerto Rican Cuisine in America: Nuyorican and Bodega Recipes by Oswald Rivera
Oswald Rivera’s 2002 book Puerto Rican Cuisine in America is back in print, this time in a larger size with new illustrations. In his 336-paean to Nuyorican (New York Puerto Rican) cuisine, he offers Spanish, Caribbean, and African-influenced dishes made simple, straightforward, and economical (many use dried spices, canned tomatoes, and inexpensive cuts of meat). Expect everything from go-to weeknight recipes like chicken noodle soup with potatoes, parsley, and sofrito to recipes preserved for historical value, like his grandmother’s gadinga, a dish of hog’s liver and kidney braised with potatoes, cilantro, and sweet chili pepper. Get the book here.
10. The Everyday Rice Cooker: Soups, Sides, Grains, Mains, and More by Diane Phillips
Slow cooker recipe books abound, but we’ve yet to see a cookbook that demonstrates the versatility of the rice cooker—that is, until now. The Everyday Rice Cooker takes the electric rice cooker beyond rice and grains, featuring a wide range of cooking possibilities for meats, seafood, noodles, soups, and more inspired by cuisines around the world. Who knew everything from Asian chicken noodle soup to osso buco could come out of a rice cooker? For anyone who owns one of these appliances, The Everyday Rice Cooker will be a game-changer. Get the book here.