“The Silver Spoon” cookbook, a beloved Italian tome that was first published in 1950, has gone through many iterations and updates. And while the original edition will forever have a reserved spot on our shelves, a new book has joined the Silver Spoon family: “The Vegetarian Silver Spoon: Classic and Contemporary Italian Recipes.”
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The Vegetarian Silver Spoon: Classic and Contemporary Italian Recipes, $33.80 on Amazon
Like its sister, “The Vegetarian Silver Spoon” heavily centers on Italian cooking—just seen through a vegetarian lens. The eight chapters showcase everyday home cooking, with an emphasis on pasta, rice, salads, soups, and sides. Recipes run the gamut from squat semolina custards to crunchy veggie chips. You’ll make your own calzones, plump with asparagus and egg, and roll out hand-formed dumplings, bound by oats, spinach, and ricotta cheese.
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A good place to begin this vegetarian quest is with a recipe for tomato strata—which is basically a gussied-up, egg-based casserole. This version relies on slices of bread and tomato soaked in whisked eggs, shot through with onions, chopped cheese, and herbs, then baked in the oven until the cheese has melted. Make it for breakfast—rather than another plate of your ubiquitous scrambled eggs—or heat up a portion for dinner, paired alongside a platter of roasted vegetables.
Adapted from The Vegetarian Silver Spoon: Classic and Contemporary Italian Recipes (Phaidon, $49.95 US/$59.95 CAN, April 29, 2020)
Tomato Strata (Tortino Rustico di Pomodori) Recipe
- Butter, for greasing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 12 thin slices whole wheat (wholemeal) bread, crusts removed
- 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) tomatoes, sliced
- Pinch of dried oregano
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup (160 ml) milk
- 2 oz (50 g) pecorino cheese, very thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a rectangular baking pan with butter.
- In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the spring onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Lightly season with salt and remove from the heat.
- Arrange half the bread over the bottom of the prepared pan and spoon the spring onions on top. Place the tomato slices on top, sprinkle with the oregano, and cover with the remaining bread.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, cover with the pecorino, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown. Let cool slightly, then turn out onto a serving dish and serve.
Header image courtesy of "The Vegetarian Silver Spoon."