There isn’t a one-to-one crossover between the Italian dishes served at San Francisco standout SPQR and the recipes its principals, owner/wine director Shelley Lindgren and executive chef Matthew Accarrino, dish out in SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine (Ten Speed Press, $35). The spirit is much the same, but the authors tackle a much wider range of Italian food and drink than their restaurant’s menu and wine list offer, excellent as each of them are.
Their book functions as a culinary travelogue of central and Northern Italy, visiting eight regions in all. Lindgren starts each chapter with a detailed look at each area’s grape-growing and wine-making practices. Then Accarrino provides recipes that use the region’s specialties and traditions as springboards for his personal interpretations, amplifying them with California sensibilities and precise techniques.
This may not be a restaurant-driven cookbook per se. But its recipes and wine advice are still valuable to a professional audience. Readers get an in-depth look at a broad swath of Italian cuisine much different from that served at Lindgren’s first restaurant, A16, or SPQR. Those two feature food and wine from the southern and south-central part of Italy, respectively.
If you want to sharpen your wine-buying skills and find some excellent earthy-yet-sophisticated dishes to put on your menu, you’ve found your source.