Cookbook review: Tortellini at Midnight by Emiko Davies

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By Ella Walker

The soul of the book centres around the idea of "reviving the recipes of past generations".

Here's what you need to know...

The book: Tortellini At Midnight by Emiko Davies

Who will love it? Anyone who wishes they had the courage to up-sticks and move to Italy, and anyone who bemoans the fact they don't have their own Italian grandmother dispensing culinary advice on demand. Also, if you like pasta (and who doesn't?) you're bound to find a dish or two in here to keep you happy.

What is it trying to get us cooking? The kinds of dishes generations and generations of Italians - specifically those in Taranto, Turin and Tuscany - have been feeding their families. So, things like stuffed mussels, orecchiette pasta with turnip tops, grilled sandwiches (chocolate, mozzarella), lasagne, beef scaloppine and meatballs.

How easy is it to use? It varies. There are long, convoluted, anecdotal recipes that'll take you an entire weekend to decipher and make, while others barely require instructions. It's a case of reading and finding your level.

The best recipe is... To be fair, the tortellini with meat sauce is understandably a solid choice, but it's the little custard and quince jam pies we can't get out of our heads.

The recipe we're most likely to post pictures of on Instagram is... The 'torta di Nonno Mario' - a wobbly, creamy layered cake, served at big gatherings and celebrations in Tuscany. A bit like a gateau, it's covered in icing and edged in crunchy flaked almonds.

The dish we're least likely to try is... The vitello tonnato. It might be an Italian classic, but roasted veal in a tuna sauce just doesn't sound all that appetising.

Overall rating: 7/10 - it's a little wordy, and where one recipe ends and the next begins isn't always entirely clear, but it's hearty, inviting and will make you hungry.

Woman's Way