Introducing Tortellini at Midnight

Tortellini-book-by-Tania-IMG_1190Tortellini-book-by-Tania-IMG_1183TaM Garden - Lauren Bamford

I’ve shown you the behind the scenes and you may have seen some of the recipes, like Nonna Anna’s polpette and the love story behind them, or this comforting rice pudding but here I would finally like to properly introduce you to Tortellini at Midnight.

It’s a cookbook with a family story woven throughout it that follows the ancestors of my husband Marco’s family from Taranto in Puglia to Turin in Piemonte and finally to Tuscany. It’s not just a recipe book of our family recipes, though, it’s full of traditional regional recipes and mostly they are recipes for making for sharing with your family or loved ones.

I wanted to share this story because I feel like the movement of the family from one place to another is something that many can relate to. Even though we may uproot ourselves and go to new places, family recipes are what keep us connected to our past, our roots, our family members. We simply like to cook and eat the food that reminds us of the people who cared for us.  That’s the reason why on the table of my Tuscan mother in law you can find family dishes that come direct from Puglia, like those polpette (even though she has never even been to Puglia!). I love that and wanted to explore more the dishes that run through the family yet come from different regions.

The book is divided into three chapters, the three places and regions that the family come from: Taranto in Puglia, Turin in Piedmont and Tuscany. They happen to be my three favourite food regions in Italy too, so there was that. Throughout, I tell the stories of the dishes and the ingredients that influence those cuisines and that appeared on the table the most, whether it’s red and yellow peppers, mussels, the many ways with boiled beef or tortellini served at midnight.

The front of the book has a beautiful foreword by Tessa Kiros, a friend and mentor, whose cookbooks were the among the first I fell in love with. In the back of the book I’ve also listed some of the menus that were most common on my in-laws’ table for the holidays (deep fried artichokes for Easter, baked apples for All Saints Day and tortellini for the new year, for example) and written about the cookbooks that inspired me throughout the research of the book.

TaM TortelliniWithSugo c Lauren BamfordTaM-PastaConSalsaDoppia1-c-Lauren-Bamford-webTAM Emiko Lauren BamfordTaM-Agnolotti-5-c-Lauren-Bamford-webTaM-Mussells-c-Lauren-Bamford-webTAM Spumone 1 c Laurne Bamford small

These beautiful photographs from the book shared here were styled by Deb Kaloper and photographed by Lauren Bamford at the lovely B&B of my friend Irene Berni and her family, Valdirose, just outside of Florence (more on that on this blog post). The first two photographs are by Tania Timkova of EaTravel.

I hope you enjoy reading it and cooking from it and hopefully it inspires you to collect the stories and recipes from your own family favourites. I love seeing what people have been cooking, if you use instagram and care to, tag #tortelliniatmidnight.

Here are a few lovely things people have had to say about the book:

“Emiko Davies has that wonderful gift of making you want to rush straight into the kitchen. But perhaps not quite straight: I want to linger cosily with the book, with its beautiful pages of recipes and stories from her Italian family. Tortellini at Midnight is infused with warmth: a love letter to Italian home cooking.” — Nigella Lawson (and she’s shared the recipe for ziti al forno from the book)

“Hours have past and for a little while I felt like I was in Italy—it is truly stunning, the recipes familiar but unique, the stories, you can see are from the heart.” — Danielle Alvarez, head chef, Fred’s (Sydney)

‘You had me at Mozzarella in Carrozza! Tortellini at Midnight is an intimate and nostalgic journey into rural Italian home cooking. Its stunning photography of both food and locations will instantly make you ache to be there amongst it all, sampling panzerotti from a pugliese street vendor or devouring bowls of miniature agnolotti del al plin. As always, Emiko’s writing is engaging and personal, peppered with knowledge, humour and boundless love for Italy. If you have set your number to one Italian cookbook only to buy this year, make it THIS book.” — Silvia Colloca, cookbook writer and TV host

“I love this book. Full to overflowing with beautiful stories and insane amounts of great regional dishes: the food that is the heart and soul of Italian life.” — Margot Henderson, chef and co-owner, Rochelle Canteen (London)



  1. Val says:


    • Christine Beveridge says:

      I have to agree with the reviews above. It’s a stunning book, with delicious recipes, gorgeous photos, and absolutely enthralling stories. I love it! Thanks, Emiko.

  2. n j garrett says:

    Love Tortelli!! Had some in Piacenza the last time we visited and they make it with tails on them!
    Learning from pages like yours just make the food taste even better and we had a tour last year with Angelo of Food n Wine tours in Parma ( and we ended up eating this ricotta and spaniche tipo!! Great article. Complimenti!! Nick

Leave A Comment