Berkeley chef and author Jessica Theroux spent a year in Italy, cooking and talking with a dozen Italian grandmothers and taking photographs of the countryside, the food and the people.

The author will sign copies of her memoir/cookbook, “Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany to Sicily,” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12,  at Bram in Sonoma. The cookware store, which carries handmade clay pots from around the world, is located on the west side of the plaza at 493 First  Street West (bramcookware.com) .   

Theroux’s   cookbook boasts a foreword by Alice Waters and more than 100 recipes, illustrated by  Theroux’s own photographs.  Here is a recipe from the book:

“Ustica was the first place that I saw the spiky green cauliflower commonly known as Romanesco,” she writes. “Marguerita and her mother roasted it for me for lunch one day, shaving slices of Maria’s ricotta salata (a pressed and salted ricotta) over the top. I like to add saffron to this dish, and also currants; adding the currants midway through cooking lends the dish an unexpected, welcome crispness.”

Roasted Green Cauliflower with Saffron, Currants and Ricotta Salata

2 generous pinches of saffron threads, about  ¼ teaspoon

5 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds Romanesco or regular cauliflower

1/3 teaspoon salt

Pinch of crumbled peperoncino (Tuscan peppers)

¼  cup currants

¼ cup almonds, coarsely chopped

½ lemon

2 ounces ricotta salata, shaved

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a baking dish large enough to roast the cauliflower in a single layer.

Toast the saffron in a skillet over medium-low heat just until it becomes crumbly and aromatic. Crush in a mortar and mix with olive oil.

Trim the cauliflower of its stem and any leaves, then cut it lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Toss the cauliflower with the saffron oil, salt and peperoncino and lay it in a single layer in the roasting pan. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked through and begins to brown at its edges. Remove the pan from the oven and add the currants and almonds. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is nicely caramelized and the almonds are tosted.

Serve either hot or at room temperature. Add a squeeze of lemon and salt to taste. Garnish with generous shavings of ricotta salata.