Mitchell Beazley, £20

Ursula Ferrigno has explored her native Italy for her latest publication, a collection of recipes for fresh, gutsy family food from some of the country's finest trattorias.

The small, informal family-run restaurants and taverns dotted around Italy serve simple, seasonal dishes and the recipes here reflect that. Ferrigno is a well-respected writer of Italian cookery books and her passion, enthusiasm and knowledge for the food of her homeland shines through.

Ferrigno puts great emphasis on regionality, drawing on food from all areas of Italy including Verona (Grandmother Furiani's Radicchio Lasagne), Siena (Risotto with Pancetta Aggumicata, Buffalo Mozzarella and Savoy Cabbage) and even including the recipe for a Florentine Renaissance Chicken Salad which was served at a wedding in 1489.

There are plenty of delicious sounding (and looking, courtesy of wonderfully textured photos by Francesca Yorke) recipes which involve meat, fish and poultry alongside a selection of imaginative ways to cook vegetables. Pizza and pasta aren't forgotten either but there's not too much emphasis placed on these over-used and often abused staples of Italian restaurants. The final chapter - on cheeses, preserves, oils and broths - is almost worth skipping to read first, with recipes for Italian Chilli Oil nestling temptingly beside those for Home-made Ricotta Cheese and Green Tomato Preserve.

While this book will be particularly enjoyed by people who have travelled to Italy and enjoyed trattoria food for themselves - and Ferrigno mentions plenty of trattorias which would be well worth visiting - it won't stop even the least travelled of readers from drooling over the book.

Caroline Hennessy