Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan
The most important, consulted, and enjoyed Italian cookbook of all time, from the woman who introduced Americans to a whole new world of Italian food.
Essentials of Italian Cooking is a culinary bible for anyone looking to master the art of Italian cooking, bringing together Marcella Hazan’s most beloved books, The Classic Italian Cook Book and More Classic Italian Cooking, in a single volume, updated and expanded with new entries and 50 new recipes. Designed as a basic manual for cooks of all levels of expertise—from beginners to accomplished professionals—it offers both an accessible and comprehensive guide to techniques and ingredients and a collection of the most delicious recipes from the Italian repertoire. As home cooks who have used Marcella’s classic books for years (and whose copies are now splattered and worn) know, there is no one more gifted at teaching us just what we need to know about the taste and texture of a dish and how to achieve it, and there is no one more passionate and inspiring about authentic Italian food.
In the language of cookbooks, the word "classic" is bandied about nearly as frequently as the terms "low-fat" and "no-cholesterol." In this case, however, the estimable Hazan ( More Classic Italian Cooking ) does indeed contribute a classic to the ever-increasing literature of Italian cuisine. A revision and update of her two previous "classic" Italian cookbooks (with more than 35 completely new recipes), this one includes recipes not "in pursuit of novelty, but of taste." As Hazan puts it, the book "is meant to be used as a kitchen handbook . . . for cooks of every level . . . who want an accessible and comprehensive guide to the products, the techniques, and the dishes that constitute imperishable Italian cooking." From marinated carrot sticks to sweet-and-sour tuna steaks, Trapani style, to tortellini with fish stuffing and polenta shortcake with raisins, dried figs and pine nuts, the outstanding recipes--many of them poetically simple--are too numerous to do justice to in few words. Included is a spirited discussion of squid and the essentials of preparing fresh pasta, gnocchi (potato dumplings), authentic risotto, frittate and polenta dishes. While writing from Venice, her home for much of the year, Hazan never fails to consider the availability of ingredients in the U.S., and never assumes that all readers understand complex methods or exotic terminology. This volume is the perfect gift for a new homemaker, a seasoned chef and all lovers of good food. Illustrated.
October 27, 1992