For the last 15 years, I was under the impression that Italian cooking and diabetes were mutually exclusive terms. I’ve avoided Italian restaurants and can’t remember the last time I cooked an Italian dish at home. Once a year, when I visit my New York friend (hint: maiden name Zegarelli), I fall off the wagon. It’s totally worth it.
So imagine my surprise (awe, actually) when I caught a glimpse of author and chef Amy Riolo’s latest book, The Italian Diabetes Cookbook (American Diabetes Association, 315 pages, $18.95 paperback).
Subtitled Delicious and Healthful Dishes from Venice to Sicily and Beyond, this book carries a hefty promise. And it delivers. Author Riolo disabuses us of the notion that traditionally tasty Italian fare is off-limits for people with diabetes. Like anything else, it’s the choice of ingredients and knowing what to do with them. I was, 0-for-2, but not anymore.
My first foray into the collection of more than 150 recipes in this book is going to be spaghetti squash pasta with shrimp, tomatoes and basil. My goal will be to get it to look anything like the picture in the book. (Warning: Do NOT look at the pictures if you’re hungry!) I can’t decide what will be next – the mixed grilled vegetables (verdure miste alla griglia) or the herb-roasted turkey (tacchino al forno). They all sound so delicious in Italian.
An added plus to all these recipes is the nutritional and exchange information, neither of which will ruin your meal. Also invaluable are definitions, explanations, measurements and all sorts of menu suggestions essential for novices like me. In addition, readers are treated to a little Italian Living Tradition tidbit as well as a wine recommendation for each entree.