Enrico Alliata, the Duke of Salaparuta (1879-1946), was a utopian gourmand and winemaker who espoused a vegetarian lifestyle and a raw foods diet at a time when the very notion was unheard of. He worked for decades to systematically re-imagine classic Italian dishes without meat. The result, first published in 1930, is a timeless reference work, with dishes that are surprising, inventive, and often decadent.
Early chapters like “Appetizers and Salads” include recipes for inventive vegetarian sandwiches and crostini, as well as refreshing salads (and even a recipe for simple homemade ricotta cheese). “Broths and Purees” includes rich and flavorful vegetable broths, hearty purees, and pasta in broth, like vegetarian ‘Agnollotti’ in broth filled with parmesan and walnuts.
The “First Courses, Pasta Dishes and Timballi” chapter is a comprehensive collection of authentic Italian recipes for gnocchi, risotto, polenta, ravioli, from Risotto ‘alla Milanese’ with saffron, nutmeg, and parmesan to Sicilian Style Gnocchi, with fried eggplant and tomato sauce. “Luncheon Dishes, Vegetables, Legumes and Side Dishes” features preparations for eggplant and artichokes, and is a great go-to for quick side dishes and lighter vegetarian meals. His main dishes chapters include a variety of casseroles and soufflés, and the Duke even has several preparations for mock meats, such as vegetarian “Foie Gras Mousse” made with ricotta cheese and black truffles.
Much more than a recipe book, The Duke’s Table is a major re-discovery and a fascinating look into the philosophy of a food revolutionary who was truly before his time.