Molto Mangia

Discovering a new Italian region at home

Tuscany, Liguria, Campania: The Bay Area is enamored with regional Italian cuisine.

Until now, with today's release of the new book from Oakland's Rosetta Costantino, the region of Calabria was underrepresented. My Calabria, her authoritative tome written with another Bay Area writer, Janet Fletcher, has evened the scales–for the home kitchen, at least.

At nearly 400 pages, the book is swollen with information for the armchair traveler and the home cook alike.

Costantino weaves tales of Calabria's history into her own family's story, revealing her life as a child there and the Costantinos' eventual move to the Bay Area in the 1970s.

Of course, any cookbook turns on its recipes, and My Calabria is a comprehensive crash course in the flavors and techniques of the Calabrian kitchen.

Soups are studded with chickpeas and shrimp; bread is durable and versatile; pasta is swathed in a creamy sauce made from guanciale (cured pork jowl) and potato (click here to download the recipe); salt cod appears in multiple guises for Il Cenone, aka Christmas Eve Feast.

We've had the privilege of trying Costantino's superb food, cooked by the author herself.

Now, Italian-food fans like us can cook the same dishes in our own kitchen.