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The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Perhaps more than any other person, Marcella Hazan is responsible for bringing Italian cuisine into the homes of American cooks. We're not talking spaghetti and meatballs here--Hazan's cuisine...

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Italian is my favorite

All consuming

The greatest cookbook ever!

This is seriously the greatest cookbook I have ever bought. Every recipe is easy to make and extremely delicious. It is very authentic so some of the stuff is a challenge to find here in America but worth every penny.

My Favorite Cookbook

I regularly cook from about 10 cookbooks representing most of the great cuisines of the world, and this is my favorite book (perhaps tied with the essential The Joy of Cooking, aka Joy). Marcella's sensible if opinionated commentary provides much of the appeal, but it's the recipes that keep me coming back: they are simple, easy to follow, wholesome, and delicious. Sure, the Bolognese meat sauce takes 4 hours to make, but it's still simple. Rabbit braised in white wine, fried artichoke wedges, home-made pasta, a range of simple delicous antipasto, awesome parmesan-battered lamb chops, and several versions of scaloppini (and you can be sure she tells you how to slice it right!). Verdura (vegetables) are extensively covered with a series of improbably good, simple treatments: fennel becomes a sublime accompaniment, artichokes take center stage, green beans sparkle, and her take on potatoes is simple and great. Everything in this book is wonderful. This is her original, and it's the best.

Essential First Book on Italian Cooking. Highly Recommended

`Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking' is Marcella Hazan's fourth book, composed of an edited and updated amalgam of her first two books, both of which were on `classic Italian cooking'. As with all of Ms. Hazan's books except for her latest, `Marcella Says', my main regret is that I have not read them sooner. All, especially this volume, are every bit as good as the blurbs may lead you to believe. Some reviewers have compared this book to `The Joy of Cooking'. It is much more accurate to compare it to Julia Child's seminal `Mastering the Art of French Cooking' on several counts. First, like Child's book, Hazan's book is devoted exclusively to the techniques, ingredients, and recipes of a single major national cuisine. Second, unlike `The Joy of Cooking', it does not cover absolutely every kitchen technique and issue such as hygiene, nutrition, preserving, and obscure game meats. Third, the book is published and edited by the same people, Knopf and senior editor Judith Jones. This common publishing team means the two books have a very similar look. Both are illustrated by line drawings and both benefit from Knopf's traditional skill in designing the typeface and layout of books in general for easy reading. Fourth, Ms. Hazan arrived at cooking in almost exactly the same manner as Julia Child, in that they found themselves married to men who likes to eat well, and they did not know how to cook at the time. The 64-dollar question of course is whether this book is equal in quality to Child's book. I think there is little shame in saying that while Hazan's book stands head and shoulders over virtually every other book I have read and reviewed on Italian cuisine, it does not quite match Child et al on the latters' innovations in recipe writing, the great good humor of the writing, and the comprehensive treatment of virtually every aspect of French kitchen equipment and the `cuisine bourgeois' techniques. This book by Dr. Hazan (she has a Ph.D. in natural sciences and biology) is the exception which proves Tony Bourdain's observation in his excellent new cookbook which claims that cooking professionals are mostly just ordinary blokes who happen to have learned a skill which you the reader do not yet have. This applies as much to most cookbook authors as it does to most chefs. The thing that separates most good cookbook authors (witness Jamie Oliver) from their readers is their passion for the importance of good ingredients, careful observation of technique, and love of achieving a desirable result. Ms. Hazan is one of the very, very few writers who approach their subject as much with the rigor of an academic as with the passion of a good cook. Ms. Hazan's academic voice is much more anthropological and phenomenological than it is scientific a la Shirley Corriher. Ms. Hazan succeeds in distilling for us the essence of Italian savory cuisine based on the notions of battuto (an Italian trinity of lard, parsley, and onion, chopped fine), soffritto (bat

One of my top five cookbooks

Essentials gets the most use of any cookbook in my kitchen, second only to Joy of Cooking. I absolutely love it. I started cooking from it as a fairly new cook - every recipe is easy with very good instructions. Essentials is a real Italian cookbook so you wil not find Italian-American recipes loaded with cheese and tons of sauce (not that those aren't good). The book is over 600 pages and crammed full of recipes from all of Italy's regions (no food pictures). Virtually every recipe has notes for ahead-of-time prep and all the pasta sauce recipes list a recommended pasta. My husband loves Marcella Hazan b/c she doesn't try to be fancy. If a dried pasta is best with a sauce she will recommend it. If canned broth can be used, she will make a note of it. There is a great chapter in the back of the book called "At Table". She discusses how Italians eat (how the courses work) and has a large variety of suggested menus.My favorite cookbook reviews list the recipes people have made from it. It gives me ideas of dishes to try and a better idea of what the cookbook will be like. Since I have made over 30 recipes from this book I can't list them all, but here are some of our favorites: Minestrone alla Romagnola - the best, thickest vegetable soup I have ever had and unlike any minestrone I have had at a restaurant. Tomato Sauce with Porcini Mushrooms; Smothered Onion Sauce; Scallop Sauce with Olive Oil, Garlic and Hot Pepper; and Gorgonzola Sauce are all incredible on pasta. Don't forget the Pesto! Her recipe is the best. On to risotto's.... the Parmesan Cheese; Porcini Mushroom; and Sausage risotto's are great. The Baked Crespelle with Spinach, Prosciutto and Parmesan is a yummy Sunday night dinner. The Stuffed Spaghetti Frittata with Tomato, Mozzarella and Ham is my husband's new favorite Saturday breakfast. We have made the Grilled Shrimp Skewers at least 20 times - it goes great with pasta and pesto sauce. Chicken Fricassee with Porcini Mushrooms, White Wine and Tomatoes; Tuscan Meat Roll with White Wine and Porcini Mushrooms; Braised Pork Chops with Two Wines are all good winter cooking. If you want to wow your friends with a minimal amount of work try the Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Cream and Porcini Mushrooms (I had a pound of dried porcini so I tried every recipe that called for it). I could keep going, but at this point just typing the recipes has made me hungry. I promise - you can't go wrong with this book. Hmmm, maybe I'll make the minestrone tonight!

Buy this book

This is an incredible book. I have read it from cover to cover, and even lugged it on vacation to read (yes, I am a bit obsessive). Everything that I have tried so far has been wonderful. Marcella's recipes are very approachable, and, best of all, they work! I am not Italian, nor have I ever been to Italy, so I can not speak to it's authenticity as Italian cuisine, but I can speak to the fact that this is wonderful food. She does insist on high quality ingredients, with which I am in total agreement, but I wish that she had included name brand names and resources in this updated edition. I have yet to be able to find anchovies in salt--even on the internet! The tomato and butter sauce is now my favorite pasta sauce, the veal marsala is delicious, and the cream and butter sauce is also wonderful. She goes into incredible detail about making pasta, as well as pairing fresh and factory products with the appropriate sauce. I would highly recommend reading the first part of the book before diving into the recipes, because she discusses several cooking techniques, as well as how to determine quality in your ingredients. If you love simple, wonderful food, you will not be disappointed with Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Marcella Hazan's best: the one I reach for first.

I have always considered myself an Italian cook, although myrange is considerably broader, but this book changed my whole out lookto Italian cookery. I have collected most of Marcella's books, including the latest, but this is the one I reach for first. The section on Italian style grilled vegetables has become a summer favorite and has literally changed the way I plan a vegetable garden. It alone was worth the cost of the book. The osso bucca is to die for, and in my veal poor region it has withstood the substitution of lamb shanks. Every fall I put up a years's supply of the oven dried plum tomatoes in oil and the hot peppers in oil. I was asked for recipes of these dishes so often, I bought a half dozen of the paperback version of this book to distribute to my children and friends. I am invited out to dinner now by friends who have prepared one of these classic dishes (Chicken al Diavolo, for example) and even forgotten where they got the book. I am saddened to see it is out of print, because I could use a few more copies for friends who can't be trusted to know how to boil pasta ascuitta but are embarking on "Mediterranean diets". Joseph Chiaravalloti
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