Book Review: Cooking with Nonna by: Rossella Rago

Books Cookbooks Recipes
Cooking with Nonna

When I was a kid I often dreamed of being from a big family. When my mind conjures an image of this I often think of Italians. It’s not uncommon for Italian families to be centered around food and family. You grow up with plenty of cousins, aunts and uncles, and of course grandparents. These are the types of families where you learn to cook while holding on to Nonna’s apron. Alas, I grew up in a small but loving family. I had no grandparents nearby to impart any life lessons on me and no Nonna to teach me to cook. All that aside, Cooking with Nonna can give you all of the lessons an Italian grandmother would, without actually having one.

Rossella Rago was on the right track when she decided to make an Italian cookbook filled with recipes from a bunch of Nonnas. I mean, if you can’t trust a grandmother to give you good food, who can you trust? Cooking with Nonna easily offers over 100 recipes from appetizers to cookies and desserts. You’ll learn to make everything from pasta (of course) to beautiful Italian desserts.

Before you get started on the recipes, there is a section that explains the kinds of cooking tools you might need. Around here, you also get some recipes on pasta doughs, which will definitely come in handy later in the book! I haven’t tried all the recipes, but I would love to try most of them. Usually, I find that I will attempt less than half of the recipes in any cookbook. I think I will end up trying over half of them, because there is something authentically homey about the idea of cooking the food that is passed down by these women in a way that they would have cooked for their families.

The photos of the various recipes are all beautiful to look at and make the idea of cooking those dishes more desirable. The instructions are all easy to follow or seem easy enough, as I have not tried many of them yet. In terms of knowledge of Italian food, Cooking with Nonna is a good starter. Even though these highly experienced cooks are giving out the recipes, they are delivered in a way that is accessible to someone that has never made fresh pasta before.

The recipes are reason enough to buy this cookbook. That said, the thing I think I most enjoy are the stories and comments by the Nonnas that helped bring this book to fruition. The stories of these incredible women, many who immigrated to America in hopes of finding a better life, are history. They offer the kind of stories that you want to pass down through your family. They are the kind of stories that should be recorded and remembered. Luckily, Cooking with Nonna does that and offers some tasty recipes, too.

Is Cooking with Nonna Recommended?

I really enjoyed Cooking with Nonna. The pictures are beautiful, the recipes are informative and easy to follow, and the Nonnas are nothing short of charming. When you put it all together you end up with a wonderful addition to any cookbook library. If you’re interested in Italian cooking and want to get as authentic as possible, this is the book you should add to your library!

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Cooking with Nonna









  • Good recipes
  • Authentic
  • Stories from Nonna are great
  • Artwork is good


  • Might be pricey for some
Ashtyn Law is a freelance writer living in Ohio. Focusing on film, she spends much of her days watching and analyzing film and television and also writing screenplays.

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