Skip to main content

Book Review: The Glorious Pasta of Italy

 

We have a tenant staying with us in our home this year. He knows I love to cook and so he procured a copy of Domenica Marchetti’s The Glorious Pasta of Italy for me as a Christmas present at the close of last year. I have very high standards when it comes to Italian cookbooks, having long ago fallen head over heels for the legendary work of Marcella Hazan and her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking which sets the standard for Italian cookery. So while I accepted Marchetti’s book gracefully, I  remained skeptical.

Thumbing through the book it’s obvious that it’s well planned. The chapters are thoughtfully arranged, with the first devoted to the basics of pasta enjoyment – the necessary equipment, a encyclopedic listing of pasta types, common pasta dough recipes, and the most essential of sauces such as fresh tomato. Subsequent chapters address pasta soups, pasta with sauce, stuffed pastas, baked pastas, quick pasta entrees, classic pasta recipes, over the top pasta “showstoppers”, and pasta based desserts. Marchetti’s book doesn’t seek to replace Hazan’s masterpiece so much as to expand upon it, focusing exclusively on pasta and incorporating modern techniques and witty commentary.

For my first foray into cooking from The Glorious Pasta of Italy I set about making Fettuccine in Bianco with White Asparagus, Asiago, and Cream. I’m really quite adverse to Asiago cheese so I substituted a delicious Italian aged cheese I picked up at the San Francisco Farmer’s Market recently, and I had trouble getting my hands on white asparagus and so substituted green, but otherwise made the dish as the recipe dictated. It was heavenly! Just heavenly! My husband and our tenant (his rent covers room and board, lucky fellow) spent the entirety of dinner that evening clinking their forks happily against their pasta bowls as they fed themselves, letting their free flowing grunts, mmms, and other expressions of ecstasy speak to their appreciation.

Next up was a pasta incorporating black pepper, parsley, and Parmigiano tossed with a traditional fresh Roma tomato sauce (Laura’s Black Pepper and Parsley ’Trnselle with Fresh Tomato Sauce). The sauce was so easy, especially since I own a handy food mill. I started with fresh tomatoes that were warmed and then run through the food mill to shed their skin and seeds and then cooked the resultant juice down to a rich, thick, and flavorful sauce with just the additions of garlic, olive oil, a dash of salt and fresh basil. No oregano or bay leaves or sugar was needed here! The fresh tomatoes were the stars of the evening and it was delicious. While everyone enjoyed the pasta, this time it was me who keep making the happy pleasure sounds. At least twice I exclaimed, “I am a kitchen goddess!”, and my guests happily agreed.

There are dozens and dozens more recipes to explore in Marchetti’s book and I can’t wait to try them all. I’m planning to make the Orecchiette with Creamy Broccoli Sauce next. Woe to the low carb dieters out there- this cookbook is sure to make them regret their carb free lifestyle.

As is obvious from my glowing praise, I think this cookbook is a winner. The only improvement I might suggest for the next edition is even more photography- one picture for every recipe is always appreciated.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Board Game Review: Hues and Cues

Last week we received Hues and Cues from The Op Games. We recently finished playing through Scooby-Doo Escape from the Haunted Mansion (a fantastic game in The Op Games catalogue designed by Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim, and Kami Mandell that you should absolutely pick up to play with your family) and wanted to give another game from the same publisher a go. I picked Hues and Cues because I’ve been pleasantly surprised by other “test whether our minds think the same way” games such as The Mind   and Wavelength. In Hues and Cues , players gather around a large central board comprised of 480 graduating colors of the rainbow surrounded by an x-y axis and scoring table. White and black (which are technically not colors) are conspicuously absent as are shades (mixtures of color + black; e.g., grey) and tints (mixtures of color + white; e.g., cream).  On each player’s turn, they draw a card with four colors and the x-y axis codes of those colors depicted and they select one. They are in the

Board Game Review: Lost Cities Roll & Write (A Comparison to the Original Lost Cities)

I really love the card game Lost Cities , designed by Reiner Knizia. When my husband Christopher and I were first getting to know each other, we used to meet up at Starbucks sometimes and play games. Lost Cities was one of our frequent picks. It’s a head to head, two player game in which both players are trying to outscore each other by laying down ascending runs of card suits on a small board between the two of them. There’s a theme laid over the mechanism (completing expeditions in the lost world) but it’s basically pasted on and so that is the last we will speak of it. So there we were, newly in love, eyeing each other across the table, smiling and flirting, and doing our best to beat one another at Lost Cities . It was awesome. And now, with the roll & write genre having made an impressive rebound a few years ago (let’s not forget the mechanism has actually been around since the 50s with Yatzee ), Knizia has ported his award winning game Lost Cities   into this format, releasi

Board Game Review: Brass Birmingham

Here’s a story of a lovely lady (spoiler: it’s me) and her pride and how it has led to the discovery of the single greatest board game I have ever played. It’s probably also a good primer for other reviewers on increasing your reach. At GenCon this year, I was perusing the wares of the various booths and my eyes caught a glimpse of two beautiful game boxes. Each had crisp metallic lettering with an old world feel and artwork that radiated European class. I made my way to the booth and waited patiently to speak to to the team manning it as there were many buyers lined up to purchase the games. I didn’t know anything about the games (Brass Birmingham and Brass Lancashire), or the publisher – Roxley Game Laboratory – but I knew I wanted to review one or both of the games. Almost every board game love story I star in in can be summed up this way: I am seduced by the artwork or theme and then I stay for the right mechanics. When the lead rep spoke with me, he gently rejected my request. He