Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey – with Recipes from America’s Test Kitchen. Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup Recipe

Tasting Italy A Culinary Journey, America's Test Kitchen, National Geographic, Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, AD

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I was beyond thrilled to be given the chance to review Tasting Italy from National Geographic. My husband surprised me with a trip to Italy for my 39th (?!) birthday and it was one of the most memorable vacations we have ever taken. I was sent a copy of the book at no charge for my honest review.

Tasting Italy A Culinary Journey, America's Test Kitchen, National Geographic, AD

About Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey

Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (October 23, 2018)

The experts at America’s Test Kitchen and National Geographic bring Italy’s magnificent cuisine, culture, and landscapes–and 100 authentic regional recipes–right to your kitchen.

Featuring 100 innovative, kitchen-tested recipes, 300 gorgeous color photographs, and 30 maps, this illustrated guide takes you on a captivating journey through the rich history of Italian cuisine, region by region. Rich excerpts feature the origins of celebrated cheeses, the nuances of different wine growing regions, the best farmer’s markets in Venice, and more. Intriguing prose illuminates key ingredients, from olive oil and how it’s made to the various pasta shapes of Northern Italy. In every region, the food experts at America’s Test Kitchen bring it all home, with foolproof recipes for standout dishes as well as hidden gems: Piedmontese braised beef in lustrous red wine sauce, crispy-custardy chickpea flour farinata pancakes from Genoa (achieved without the specialty pan and wood-burning oven), and hand-formed rustic malloreddus pasta of Sardinia that is a breeze to make.

About the Authors/Recipe Developers:

AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN: The recipes in this book have been tested, written, and edited by the test cooks, editors, and cookware specialists at America’s Test Kitchen, a 15,000-square-foot kitchen located in Boston’s Seaport District. It is the home of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and Cook’s Country magazine, the public television shows America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen, and the online America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School.

JULIA DELLA CROCE is one of America’s foremost authorities on Italian food. She is the author of more than 13 cooking and travel books. She has also conducted cultural and culinary tours to Italy. Her work has appeared in many publications including the New York TimesFood & Wine, and the Washington Post. She has been broadcast on countless radio and national television shows, including on the Food Network. She lives in New York City.

EUGENIA BONE is a nationally known food journalist and author. She has written for SaveurFood & WineGourmetMartha Stewart Living, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. She is the author of five books. Her work has been anthologized in Best Food WritingSaveurCooks, and The Food & Wine Cookbook. Bone has lectured widely and judged food and wine competitions, and she frequently appears on national television and radio. She lives in New York City.

My Opinion:

I cannot begin to describe what a joy this book was for me. The trip to Italy the hubby I took was one of the most magical vacations we took. It was a country I had long wanted to visit as I had studied art history in college and was passionate about Michelangelo. In addition to the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel and the other historical sites in Rome then the beautiful trip to Florence for the astounding glory of that city there was also some of the best food we had ever eaten.

Tasting Italy brought back so many memories of that trip and whetted my appetite for further explorations of the country. The book is broken down by region and takes the reader on a culinary tour through each one by showcasing what that area is famous for then sharing recipes you can make at home. Since this is a book from National Geographic it is full of absolutely stunning photos of the beauty that Italy has to offer.

I so enjoyed reading the history behind some of my favorite Italian treats and in seeing the recipes recalled the meals we ate while on our trip. The best meal of my life is still a roast chicken I had at this teeny, tiny restaurant in Rome. I don’t think it sat more than 10 people and it was the most delicious chicken I have ever eaten. I have tried more times than I can count to replicate that dish and I have come close but I have not matched it. Other dishes we enjoyed are represented in the book and just seeing them there brought smiles to my face.

This book is just an all around delight. From the photos to the anecdotes to the recipes it’s as close to a trip to Italy as you can get in the pages of a book. If you have been it will remind you of the joy of the trip. If you have not been it will ignite your desires and perhaps spark a trip. If nothing else you will be able to cook your way around the country and at least enjoy the glory of Italy that way. The recipes are representative of all the different areas of the country and run the gamut from soups, appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts. Since they were written by America’s Test Kitchen you can feel comfortable that they will work for you in your home kitchen. I have never had an ATK recipe go south on me.

So, if you can’t go to Italy by plane buy this book you can imagine yourself there until you can actually get there. With all of the recipes you will be able to appreciate the bounty that Italy has to offer and learn about the country along the way.



Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, recipe, Tasting Italy, AD

Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup

When we came back from our trip to Italy a version of this soup was one of the first things I made to remind me of our vacation. It’s very easy to make and it is a great way to use up stale bread and excess tomatoes. The recipe calls for canned tomatoes but I used fresh as I had them and it works just fine.

Serves 6

  • 6 oz rustic Italian bread, crusts removed, cut into 1″ pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving if desired
  • 1 red onion, chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped (I used fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, recipe, Tasting Italy, AD

  • Preheat oven to 225°
  • Put the bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes until it is dried. Stir the pieces halfway through. Set aside

Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, recipe, Tasting Italy, AD

  • Add the oil to heavy bottomed stock pot and heat over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook for about five minutes until softened and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute more

Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, recipe, Tasting Italy, AD

  • Add the chicken broth and the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes to soften the tomatoes

Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, recipe, Tasting Italy, AD

  • Toss in the bread cubes, pressing down so they are submerged. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the bread is softened.
  • Remove the heat and whisk the soup to break up the bread and thicken the soup. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the basil

Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, recipe, Tasting Italy, AD

  • Serve with the Parmesan sprinkled on top and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired

How Was the Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup?

This soup is really good. As I mentioned it was one of the first recipes I made after we came back from Italy. It’s a marvelous way to use up old bread and trust me, you don’t feel like you are eating soggy bread when you have this soup. It’s a delicious, rich wonderful dish.

There are so many others I can’t wait to revisit and to try for the first time. There is good eating ahead thanks to Tasting Italy!

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03/20/2024 04:27 pm GMT

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