Mietta’s Italian Family Recipes

Mietta O'Donnell

Mietta's Italian Family Recipes
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Mietta’s Italian Family Recipes

Mietta O'Donnell

Mietta’s Italian Family Recipes presents over 185 recipes, covering antipasto, soups, risotto, pasta, fish, meat, pizza and desserts. Together they demonstrate the ways in which original Italian recipes can be re-interpreted to suit modern Australian life, ingredients and equipment. This new edition includes forewords by Mietta’s sister, Patricia O'Donnell, and by her partner, Tony Knox, as well as a publisher’s note and a selection of new photographs.

‘I remember the Sunday nights with jazz and the memorable singing of Peaches la Crème, and the energy that Tony and Mietta displayed in their dancing. The hospitality at such evenings was the stuff of legend.’ Stepanie Alexander

‘In the early eighties Mietta’s was the home of good food and culture. There you could spend hours meeting people, arguing, listening to writers or music, eating and drinking. For Mietta and her partner, Tony Knox, ideas were central, and together we created the event 'Readings at Mietta’s’, inviting writers to read and talk about their works. Mietta treated them like very special guests; for the writers it was a unique and affirming experience. I have many wonderful memories of Mietta, and Mietta’s Family Recipes is a wonderful reflection of her ideas and philosophies about food and life.‘ Mark Rubbo

'The social history is fascinating, the kitchen wisdom beyond praise, and Mietta’s family snaps are a delight.’ Peter Robb


Welcome to Melbourne, where we pride ourselves on having the very best café and food landscape in Australia. We have this landscape because there are certain families and undeniable creative identities that years ago fostered a culture so rich and welcoming that we, as a city, have not dared to look back. Mietta O’Donnell and her family and friends represent such culinary trailblazers.

O’Donnell’s grandparents established a restaurant, Mario’s, when they first arrived here from Italy, which they ran for 30 years. Influenced by their entertainment flair, in 1974 Mietta, along with her partner Tony Knox, opened up the restaurant Mietta’s in North Fitzroy. And so it began: a Melbournian tradition of sharing and rejoicing. This beautifully presented cookbook is homage to such wondrous times and provides a concise, pleasing collection of recipes for classic Italian food. There are recipes for every antipasto dish you can imagine, recipes for pizzas and broths, for game and fish and for desserts.

Mietta’s Italian Family Recipes is also a history book. It is the tale of the people and places in our city. Each section has an introduction by Mietta musing on the importance of music, art, or theatre, and the people whose talents delighted her. The recipes in each section are simple, generous and achievable. However, don’t buy this book just for the recipes. Buy this book because you are proud to be a Melbournian and you want to know more about many of the people who have contributed to making this city the cultural heart of Australia. Buy this book because you believe in living well, together.

Chris Gordon is the Events Manager for Readings.

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