Toscana Mia


168 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 1-55054-721-6
DDC 641.5945'5





Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


If you think Italian cooking is mostly pasta, then this new cookbook by
veteran restaurateur Umberto Menghi will set you straight. Menghi owns a
chain of restaurants in the Vancouver area, but despite his deep
Canadian roots his heart still belongs to the land where he was born,
the province of Tuscany in Italy.

The book begins with a short introduction about the Tuscany region and
Menghi’s attachment to its food. The chapters are organized by menu
course: “Antipasti,” “Soups,” “Salads,” “Vegetables,”
“Pasta,” “Rice,” “Polenta and Eggs,” “Fish and
Shellfish,” “Fowl, Meat and Wild Game,” and “Desserts.” Each
chapter contains recipes that are indigenous to the Tuscany region; some
of these include Warm Beans with Calamari, Mushroom Carpaccio, Stuffed
Chilies, Smoked Salmon Crostini, Deep-Fried Cauliflower, Fresh Tomato
and Bread Soup, Tuscan Minestrone, Tuscan Cabbage and Bean Soup,
Tyrrhenian Fish Soup, Grilled Beef with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan
Salad, Seaside Rice Salad, Artichoke in a Pot, Stuffed Zucchini—My
Mother’s Style, Mashed Potatoes Baked with Egg and Cheese, Stuffed
Roasted Red Peppers, Tagliolini with Arugula, Spaghetti from the Island
of Elba, Aunt Lalla’s Lasagna, Rice Frittata, Saffron Risotto with
Pumpkin, Cod Grilled with Garlic and Oil, Livornese Steamed Clams,
Breast of Duck Rapido, Wild Hare Stew, Veal Bundles with Aromatic Garden
Flavours, Drunken Wild Boar, Figs in Syrup, Mascarpone Mousse, and Quick
Sweet Chestnut Fritters.

Between the food chapters, Menghi includes short commentaries on
everything from the production of olive oil to the philosophy of the
Tuscan lifestyle. Scores of beautiful photographs of everyday life in
Tuscany help the reader understand Menghi’s love for his roots. There
is much here for even beginner cooks, because most of the recipes are
quite simple to make. This book would be a great resource for anyone
interested in turning out delicious and healthy Mediterranean-style


Menghi, Umberto., “Toscana Mia,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,