Veneto – Valeria Necchio – Review, recipe and giveaway

Veneto: Recipes from an Italian Country Kitchen by Valeria Necchio is the debut cookbook from the voice behind the beautiful blog, Life Love Food.

Valeria grew up in the “Venetian countryside, in a village with nothing going on for it, not even a beautiful landscape. The only good thing about it was the food.” Food, however, didn’t become an integral part of her life until the age of 22 when she decided to switch her course of study and enrolled at the University of Gastronomic Sciences. It was here that she met her husband, Jesse (from the middle of nowhere Illinois – just like myself). The pair now live in London and travel the world taking striking photographs, eating lovely food and enjoying life.

In this beautiful first offering, Valeria shares the food and flavors at the heart of the Veneto region in North Eastern Italy. This book includes charming recipes that capture the spirit of that beautiful and often unexplored region, and the author’s memories of the people and places that make this title so special.

Picturesque landscapes of the Italian countryside, rows of vibrant homes with laundry adorning the lines strung from window to window on the canal, and a peek inside an Italian pastry case are just a few of the stunning lifestyle photographs that fill this book. Of course, we also have the good fortune of Valeria’s food – such as Sweet & Sour Braised Baby Onions, Polenta Raisin Biscuits, Chicken in Red Sauce and countless others for us to create at home for a taste of the Italian country kitchen. I made the fresh egg tagliatelle pasta and have plans for many more dishes – my photo can be found on the recipe link.

Valeria will be in Australia next month at the Abergavenny Food Festival  – see our calendar for more information.

Special thanks to Faber & Faber for sharing a recipe today with us and for sponsoring three copies of this book for our members in the US and UK. Be sure to scroll down and enter our giveaway below.


Ricotta Pudding Cake
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Ricotta* might not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing the food of Veneto. And yet, it has been part of the culinary heritage of the region for decades, featuring in all sorts of dishes, from gnocchi to cakes.

Venetians call ricotta puina. Flipping through old recipe books written in dialect, I stumbled upon a few recipes or torta de puina – a cake made with little more than flour, ricotta and eggs. The idea intrigued me and triggered many trials (and many errors). I settled on a cake in which ricotta and eggs are the main ingredients, and give way to a temptingly tender number that sits somewhere between a crustless cheesecake and a flan. Orange blossom water is my elected aromatic element – in small amounts, it imparts the most pleasant floweriness.

I love this cake for many reasons: for its simplicity, mostly, but also for its ability to welcome a few variations. Grappa-soaked raisins, candied citrus peel or roughly chopped dark chocolate all make nice additions. As for toppings, a dollop of orange-blossom whipped cream or a berry coulis are both fabulous ideas (as are flowers!).

  • Unsalted butter, for the tin
  • 100g | 1 cup ground almonds, plus more for the tin
  • 300g | 10½oz fresh ricotta, drained
  • 5 eggs
  • 120g | heaped 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 30ml | 2 tablespoons orange blossom water

Preheat the oven to 150°C | 300°F | gas mark 2 and liberally butter a 23cm | 9-inch springform cake tin or equivalent bundt, pudding or brioche mould. Dust the inside of the tin with ground almonds.

Press the drained ricotta through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl to ‘rice’ it. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the icing sugar until airy, light and pale yellow. Add the ground almonds, ricotta and orange blossom water and fold through gently to incorporate.

Pour the batter into the tin. Set it on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 1½ hours, or until swollen and golden on top and cooked through (insert a skewer in the middle to check; the exact time will depend on the depth of the mould/tin you are using).

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Once at room temperature, carefully unmould onto a plate. Slice and serve.

The publisher, Faber & Faber, is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and UK. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on October 3rd, 2017. 


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  • DarcyVaughn  on  August 30, 2017

    Mackerel & pickled onion crostini (Crostini con sgombro e cipolline)

  • sarahawker  on  August 30, 2017

    Radicchio & Italian sausage lasagne (Lasagne al radicchio e salsiccia)

  • Shelley.b  on  August 30, 2017

    Fried grey shrimp

  • PeggyB  on  August 30, 2017

    Ricotta Pudding Cake. I looked through the index and saw lots of yummy looking things, but the recipe you featured I'm really excited about!

  • AnnaZed  on  August 31, 2017

    I would make Polenta with wild mushrooms & Grana (Poenta e funghi) (page 39)

  • heyjude  on  August 31, 2017

    Rice and Pea Soup

  • ckbkcollector  on  August 31, 2017

    beans and pasta

  • cathydellinger  on  August 31, 2017

    Pollo en toccio

  • kmn4  on  August 31, 2017

    Deep-fried cod rissoles (Polpette di baccalà) – I fell in love with bacalhao in Portugal!

  • vickster  on  August 31, 2017

    Aubergine Stew

  • Rinshin  on  August 31, 2017

    fried sardines

  • lgroom  on  August 31, 2017

    Raddichio and Italian sausage lasagna.

  • bjamison01  on  August 31, 2017

    Straight to desert for me! Venetian-style doughnuts (Fritoe de carnevae)

  • lpatterson412  on  August 31, 2017

    I would make Linguine with clams and lemon! Sounds superb!

  • love2chow  on  August 31, 2017

    Baked peaches with mascarpone cream (Pesche al forno col mascarpone) (page 231) and the
    Accompaniments: Soft bitter almond biscuits (Amaretti morbidi)

  • ktwalla  on  August 31, 2017

    Barbecued Pork Ribs, Pancetta and Sausage with Rosemary.

  • ravensfan  on  August 31, 2017

    Polenta with wild mushrooms & Grana

  • HelenB  on  August 31, 2017

    I would like to start with the sautéed dandelion greens with pancetta. Thanks.

  • sipa  on  September 1, 2017

    Sautéed leafy greens with pine nuts & raisins

  • Siegal  on  September 1, 2017

    Fried marinated sardines sounds great

  • sgump  on  September 1, 2017

    The rice & pumpkin soup (risi e suca) sounds nice as we head into autumn!

  • chowfamily  on  September 1, 2017

    Black cuttlefish stew!

  • t.t  on  September 2, 2017

    Polenta raisin biscuits

  • tennyogirl  on  September 2, 2017

    Raddicio and Italian sausage lasagna

  • LaurenE  on  September 2, 2017

    Polenta with wild mushrooms & Grana

  • NancyLynn  on  September 2, 2017

    borlotti beans and pasta

  • soffner  on  September 3, 2017

    Bigoli with Duck Ragu. I actually saw this dish described in a book set in Venice and I've wanted to try it ever since.

  • bibliophile02  on  September 5, 2017

    Braised cabbage sounds amazing!

  • lhudson  on  September 5, 2017

    Prawn and Prosecco Risotto

  • motherofpearl81  on  September 7, 2017

    White asparagus & boiled eggs (Ovi e sparasi)

  • JenJoLa  on  September 7, 2017

    Fried marinated pumpkin with onion, pine nuts & raisins (Zucca in saor)

  • tarae1204  on  September 7, 2017

    Linguine with clams and lemon

  • mgjacqz  on  September 8, 2017

    I love the veneto and sweet & sour onions sound devine.

  • Dmartin997  on  September 8, 2017

    Small potato dumplings with basil pesto since I make and freeze lots of pesto

  • jim.windle  on  September 8, 2017

    Pan roasted rabbit

  • Foodycat  on  September 8, 2017

    It'd have to wait until my husband was away because he isn't a fan of polenta, but I love the sound of the polenta e funghi.

  • janhunter  on  September 8, 2017

    Chicken in red sauce (Pollo in tocio)

  • drjeff  on  September 8, 2017

    Bigoli with duck ragu

  • ejdunagan  on  September 8, 2017

    Bigoli with duck ragù (Bigoi col ragù de anara). We had this dish at a restaurant in Venice and it was wonderful. Can't wait to try to recreate it here at home.

  • bstewart  on  September 8, 2017

    The pumpkin gnocchi!

  • choppergirl  on  September 8, 2017

    Frittata with wild herbs

  • sequoia55  on  September 8, 2017

    Polenta raisin biscuits

  • Patriciaevans22  on  September 9, 2017

    Bigoli with duck ragù

  • ngardy  on  September 9, 2017

    wild hop risotto sounds very good!

  • dna  on  September 9, 2017

    polenta almond tart

  • chimpbob  on  September 9, 2017

    Ricotta pudding cake

  • PennyG  on  September 9, 2017

    I always like variations on Rice Salad!

  • princesspops  on  September 9, 2017

    Green fig vanilla jam

  • fiarose  on  September 9, 2017

    mm, frittata with wild herbs, braised eel, chargrilled eel, cuttlefish with peas, aubergine stew, tomatoes with garlic and basil, mashed potatoes with rosemary and garlic, scallop gratin with almonds and orange, razor clams with garlic and parsley, spring vegetable soup, poached mackarel with aromatics, stuffed squid, polenta olive oil cake with rosemary and lemon, pickled vegetable medley…i don't even usually love italian food, but this is beautiful!

  • jwbackhouse  on  September 10, 2017

    Mackerel and pickled onion crostini

  • RickPearson54  on  September 10, 2017

    Aubergine Stew

  • fbrunetti  on  September 10, 2017

    Fried marinated sardines with onions

  • ndaga45  on  September 10, 2017

    the rabbit ragu!

  • Karla123  on  September 10, 2017

    Raspberries with rosé wine sounds like a divine way to finish a meal.

  • HungryJamie  on  September 11, 2017

    Meatballs in tomato sauce (Polpette al sugo) – who doesn't love meatballs!

  • MattFr  on  September 11, 2017

    Grilled polenta with lardo

  • skipeterson  on  September 11, 2017

    Almond polenta shortbread tart (Sbrisolona)

  • LizyB  on  September 13, 2017

    Braised cabbage

  • kitchenclimbers  on  September 14, 2017

    rabbit ragu

  • milgwimper  on  September 14, 2017

    Fried sardines, and maybe this for dessert Baked peaches with mascarpone cream

  • ladybrooke  on  September 15, 2017

    Frittata with wild herbs (Fritaja de erbe)

  • Titch  on  September 16, 2017

    I would try Fried grey shrimp first as it sounds delicious

  • Julia  on  September 17, 2017

    Rice and Pea Soup.

  • silversand  on  September 23, 2017

    Sautéed leafy greens with pine nuts & raisins (Coste, spinaci e catalogna con pinoli e uvetta)

  • davisesq212  on  September 26, 2017

    I probably would try the rice and pumpkin soup. It would make a great sou for thanksgiving as well.

  • Scotsman61  on  September 27, 2017

    Ricotta Pudding Cake The recipe above makes it look and sound fantastic

  • scarletclark  on  September 28, 2017

    I actually got this book out of the library to try – and I am blown away by the recipes and the writing. It's not often I come across a new recipe book that actual feels new and not just a rehash of what's gone before (which Iis now why I get them out of the library before I purchase as I've wasted so much money on dreaful books). It's beautifully illustrated with sumptuous photos and rich meaningful writing. I now want to visit the countryside of Veneto! I would love to win to keep this book – the first recipe I tried was risi e bisi: delightful. 🙂

  • maryrat  on  September 28, 2017

    Polenta raisin biscuits – they sound really good, and a different way to use polenta

  • rennots  on  September 28, 2017

    Chicken in red sauce

  • chasteph  on  September 29, 2017

    Polenta raisin biscuits. Yum!

  • rachael_mc  on  September 30, 2017

    pan roasted rabbit

  • orchidlady01  on  October 1, 2017

    Chunky vegetable & bean soup (Minestrone)

  • jifar  on  October 1, 2017

    Chicken liver risotto

  • Leebot  on  October 1, 2017

    Ricotta pudding cake (Torta morbida alla ricotta)

  • lapsapchung  on  October 2, 2017

    There are several Borlotti beans recipes I like the look of – I'd try Creamed Borlotti beans first

  • LAWG  on  October 2, 2017

    Pan-Roasted Rabbit seems like a nice dish for fall. But I've earmarked others 😉

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