Breaking Bread in L'Aquila

We’ll freely admit it—we’re suckers for a good cookbook. But do not let our predilection for
highlighting customer cookbooks affect your judgment about this month’s featured book.
Breaking Bread in L’Aquila by Maria Filice is an unequivocal joy. Not only does Filice welcome
you into her private world with open arms, she makes you feel as if you can cook a multi-course
Italian (dishes primarily from the Abruzzo region) dinner every single night of the week. And
that’s because you can with her masterful, yet simple instruction.

This cookbook is more than a compilation of delicious recipes; it’s a true labor of love. From her
introduction we learn that Filice's late husband, Paul, introduced her to his home country
L’Aquila, and taught her the techniques of cooking in the region’s local style. By combining her
lessons on creating a tasteful meal with a natural love of entertaining, Filice is able to create a
manual that allows a reader to master the art of breaking bread like a true Italian.

After a heartfelt introduction in which she bares a personal short story of love, loss, and
dedication, Filice follows with “How to use Breaking Bread in L’Aquila”, a primer on Italian
meal courses that is especially useful to one who is a novice at European-style entertaining.
Don’t know your Contorni from your Primi Piatti? Fear not, it’s plainly discussed.

Equally valuable is the “Wines of Abruzzo” overview that is so much more than “pair a red with
steak.” Filice takes great care to ensure that we also understand the tradition of wine in the
Abruzzo region. “The red wines of Abruzzo are distinctive. The Montepulciano grape is the
base for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, the top red wine of the region. In fact, Montepulciano’s
roots can be traced to L’Aquila’s Peligna Valley, as far back as the eighteenth century.” Filice
delivers both an appreciation, and a discussion starter to use with your guests.

She is clearly passionate about connecting with her reader and developing a shared relationship
in the kitchen. And while we were certainly allured by her easygoing nature, we needed to find
out if the enticing recipes—complete with a gorgeous, full-color photograph for each dish, which
is both attractive and helpful—were as satisfying as the writing. We chose to go right for the red
sauce and try Spaghetti al Pomodoro. In the brief conversation that accompanies each recipe
Filice suggests using any heavy pasta for the dish, so we used a gemelli instead of the traditional
spaghetti noodles. With only seven ingredients, we were delighted at the ease of preparation.

But the clincher? The dish is utterly exquisite.

What more can we say? If you’re looking for a touching story that spans generations, a guide to
impressive and relaxed hosting, or a cookbook with authentic Abruzzo recipes, you have a
combination of all three in this single volume. We can’t recommend it highly enough, and look
forward to Filice's next book in the Breaking Bread series.

To learn more about Breaking Bread in L'Aquila by Maria Filice visit her on the web at