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Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

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Title: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: MarcellaHazan <>Publisher: AlfredA.Knopf


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Title: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: MarcellaHazan <>Publisher: AlfredA.Knopf

30 review for Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Paschen

    My favorite when it comes to Italian food. I love Marcella, though my Italian friend Christiana says Marcella and her adorable husband are "trailer court Italian." We actually own TWO copies of this book, the nice newer copy you pick up to leaf through, and a tattered older copy that I learned Italian cooking from. It has a permanent rip for the risotto recipe, the polenta recipe, the braised carrot with parmesean recipe and something else. Oh yeah, the braised leeks. Ah-MAHZ-ing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maru Kun

    Time to tackle one of those eternal verities: to choose good, or to choose evil; is it nature, or nurture; hang to the left, or to the right? Can a cookbook be treated as read based on completion of a statistically significant sample of the recipes or do I have to go over every page of the damn thing? Having majored in chemistry, I long fancied myself as a talented cook. My family did not agree, with my wife often bitterly complaining about the state of the laboratory after the experi Time to tackle one of those eternal verities: to choose good, or to choose evil; is it nature, or nurture; hang to the left, or to the right? Can a cookbook be treated as read based on completion of a statistically significant sample of the recipes or do I have to go over every page of the damn thing? Having majored in chemistry, I long fancied myself as a talented cook. My family did not agree, with my wife often bitterly complaining about the state of the laboratory after the experiment was complete. So my white coat was hung up for a decade or more. But, after realizing that the food industry cares as much about my health as the finance industry cares about my savings, I decided to start cooking again. This time I changed my approach, sticking to two rules: keep it simple – no glossy pictures or overly fussy recipes that always go wrong; choose a country and specialize in its cuisine. This second rule has enhanced the whole experience. I get to appreciate food in a cultural context, understand regional variation and be better able to master techniques and approaches common to multiple dishes. I choose two cuisines, Turkish and Italian. And it worked! In fact this approach worked so well I am now expected to cook every Saturday, which is not quite the outcome I wanted but at least I get to eat what I like. My Italian cooking was only a success because, with the help of goodreads.com, I could select a cookbook as excellent as this. I cannot praise this book too highly. Every recipe has come out decently and some brilliantly. Most of the recipes are simple but there are enough more challenging ones to add variety. Another great help was a blog written by a group of people who have cooked every recipe in the book and posted the results. Marcella Hazan often added comments to the blog. I won’t be cooking every recipe, but that’s mainly because it is impossible to get some of the ingredients in Japan (kidneys for example - where do they all go?) But I have done enough to know that this book deserves its five stars. Marcella Hazan passed away in 2013 at the age of eighty-nine. Thanks you Ms. Hazan. I now look forward to eating my own dinners. What more can I say than that.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    I've never used this reviewer's cliche before, but if I could give it ten stars, I would. If you think your pasta sauces are good, make hers and stand astounded. If you think you have a handle on making pasta, pizza, gnocchi, soups et cetera, let her school you. If you want to eat really, really well every night, then work your way through this cookbook. This is widely considered to be the definitive Italian cookbook, by a woman considered to be the Julia Child of I've never used this reviewer's cliche before, but if I could give it ten stars, I would. If you think your pasta sauces are good, make hers and stand astounded. If you think you have a handle on making pasta, pizza, gnocchi, soups et cetera, let her school you. If you want to eat really, really well every night, then work your way through this cookbook. This is widely considered to be the definitive Italian cookbook, by a woman considered to be the Julia Child of Italian cooking. You will learn, you will laugh, you will have "a-ha!" moments galore, you will immediately seek out her other cookbooks. Above all, you will cook and eat. And it will be glorious. She is opinionated, but her opinions happen to be right. For example, it is widely known that she believes "salad dressing" to be an act--a ritual, even--rather than an object: using coarse salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and nothing else. Using her method, our family craves salads like never before, and we're absolutely and for all times done with buying any salad sauce from a bottle. Not that she's mean about it--not at all. Her "tellin'-it-like-it-should-be"-ness reminds me a lot of my Granny. It's truth-telling in a loving, knowing, grandmotherly way. Oh, please--get this book and cook.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    O mia cara Marcella! Thanks to her I will never eat bottled tomato sauce again! I have used this cookbook on a near daily basis since I received it as a gift two months ago. I have made and frozen almost all of her tomato-based sauces and I cannot imagine ever opening another jar of Prego in my life. Chicken cacciatora, pan-broiled steaks with tomatoes and olives, spaghetti alla carbonara... So many favorite dishes, so few days of the week.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jules

    Marcella is the cranky Julia Child, but she does know her Italian cooking and with her husband who writes/translates into english her books teaches you the basics of Italian cooking. Her pesto and Bolognese recipes are amazing and staples in our house. You have to put up with her snottiness (which just cracks me up), but it's worth it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kira

    I love this cookbook! At the time I bought it, I was living in London with an italian man who was homesick and dreaming of mama's cooking back in Venice. I felt like the author, Signora Hazan, was my own private teacher and my live-in guinea pig definitely approved of the risotto (one of my first endeavors). And don't think it's all just pasta and starches! There are lots of recipes for soups that are easy and satisfying as meals, as well as frittate (like quiche), more than 150 pages I love this cookbook! At the time I bought it, I was living in London with an italian man who was homesick and dreaming of mama's cooking back in Venice. I felt like the author, Signora Hazan, was my own private teacher and my live-in guinea pig definitely approved of the risotto (one of my first endeavors). And don't think it's all just pasta and starches! There are lots of recipes for soups that are easy and satisfying as meals, as well as frittate (like quiche), more than 150 pages on meats, then vegetable dishes, breads, salads and desserts. This is not tasteless, non-fat italian food that you can have on the table in 20 minutes or less. If that's what you're after, forget Marcella and go buy a jar of Prego. If however, you want to learn how to make the real deal, are willing to buy good quality ingredients and take the time to do it right, this is the cookbook for you. Unlike most cookbooks I own, almost every recipe I've tried has turned out heavenly, and she really teaches you how to cook, and how to vary the recipes. I have a reputation as being a good cook of italian food and most of my friends think it's because I know a lot of italians, but really it's because of this book (though I have to credit my Aunt Milena for teaching me how to cook lasagna the real way :^). I also have another of her cookbooks "Marcella Cucina" which is more about different recipes and less about fundamentals of italian cooking. Stick to this book for a great starting place for basics of sauces, meats, equipment and how to shop for the various ingredients. My recommendation is to begin here and move onto Marcella Cucina after you've learned some of the techniques. Buon Appetito!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I'm a not-very-good cook who would love to be a great chef. Hazan's cookbook was recommended by a friend who is a fantastic cook, and it was absolutely illuminating. About 30 pages in, I thought "man, I'm doing everything wrong!" And you will feel like that as you read this book. She has very exacting standards, and she is very peculiar about ingredients - only fresh, whole cloves of garlic that you chop yourself, never the stuff in a jar, etc. But by faithfully following her recipes to the lett I'm a not-very-good cook who would love to be a great chef. Hazan's cookbook was recommended by a friend who is a fantastic cook, and it was absolutely illuminating. About 30 pages in, I thought "man, I'm doing everything wrong!" And you will feel like that as you read this book. She has very exacting standards, and she is very peculiar about ingredients - only fresh, whole cloves of garlic that you chop yourself, never the stuff in a jar, etc. But by faithfully following her recipes to the letter I have managed to make some really tasty stuff, and learn a lot about flavor, food, and kitchen techniques in the process. This will be one cookbook that I definitely buy!

  8. 4 out of 5

    christina white

    This book is what I consider one of the three essential reference texts for anyone who is serious about the culinary arts. I have learned almost everything I know about Italian food from this book...and I'm still learning from it after ten years! I brought this book with me the year I lived in Milan and tried to cook my way through it...it was impossible since it is such a tome. Fabulous recipes which are easy to execute thanks to brilliantly clear instructions. A prodigy of James Beard, you can This book is what I consider one of the three essential reference texts for anyone who is serious about the culinary arts. I have learned almost everything I know about Italian food from this book...and I'm still learning from it after ten years! I brought this book with me the year I lived in Milan and tried to cook my way through it...it was impossible since it is such a tome. Fabulous recipes which are easy to execute thanks to brilliantly clear instructions. A prodigy of James Beard, you can't go wrong with Marcella.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Miller

    This is a wonderful and classic cookbook. My mother has used it for years and gave me a copy some years ago and I go to it often. For pasta dishes, meat dishes, salads. There are some extraordinary dishes in this book that you have most likely not had before and will cherish for all your years as a cook and food lover. A great book for a beginner or an expert cook or anyone in between. One for the ages of your kitchen.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Lagow

    No one ever finishes a cookbook—I just got tired of being asked to update my progress! Up front, I want to list the only fault of this otherwise must-have cookbook—the index. It’s terrible. Period. Better to go to the main sections and look around. However I can say this about Marcella Hazan’s book: the first three sections of the book are dedicated to the basics of Italian cooking and are by themselves worth the price (expensive) of the book. The first one is Understanding No one ever finishes a cookbook—I just got tired of being asked to update my progress! Up front, I want to list the only fault of this otherwise must-have cookbook—the index. It’s terrible. Period. Better to go to the main sections and look around. However I can say this about Marcella Hazan’s book: the first three sections of the book are dedicated to the basics of Italian cooking and are by themselves worth the price (expensive) of the book. The first one is Understanding Italian Cooking, which explains regional differences—why, for example, olive oil replaces butter from region to region, why the seafood dishes of Naples and Venice are as different as their dialects, how Bologna’s cuisine is so opposite that of Florence. As someone who lives in Sicily, I can assure you that focaccia made in Ragusa is distinctly different from that of Modica, 7 miles or so away, and seafood in Catania is not the same as seafood in Trapani, on the other side of the island. Her second section dwells on the fundamentals: battuto (which explains the fundamental herb base), soffritto (sauteeing), and insaporire (the process of adding vegetables and other main ingredients to the soffritto). I bought this book a year or so ago and discovered that for nearly 60 years I’ve been putting together my pasta and sauce incorrectly, not to mention the horrors I’ve been committing with garlic! The final section is on components, headed off by the best way to clean anchovies and cook them. How to choose the correct ingredients. In many cases, what are the correct ingredients, and how to handle them. I find it ironic from time to time that,since she was writing for an American audience, she recommends substitutes for the original Italian ingredients that are handled different ways from the original. Of course, I can only get the (much superior) originals and often have to figure out how to adapt. Then there is the go-to section, the recipes, taken from all over Italy. There are too many for me to refer to so I will only mention a few of my favorites. Grilled shrimp, cannocchie style. This is the only real reason to own a grill. Shrimp prepare and eaten Venezia-style. I made the last year for New Year’s, using 20 large shrimp. These are prepared with shells on, marinated, and then grilled—you eat them burrowing into the shell. Paradise! No other word. My eyes still glaze over and I still drift into reverie whenever i think about those marvelous shrimp. The there’s eggplant patties, crespelle, bruschette, so many others—including risotto bianco. I’ll finish up with a typical Italian-American clash of cultures. I really learned how to make risotto from Hazan’s book, although my friend Consuelo who lives in Milan tried to teach me a year before. Risotto is simple and utterly delicious—provided you use the correct ingredients, particularly rice. Every corner store sells arborio rice, no problem. I had made risotto bianco before, loved it. But I wanted to experiment, make it with integral rice—which you can find with some effort. I loved the original but typically American I was interested in upgrading the nutritive vale and just generally seeing what would happen. What happened was a total disaster. Arborio rice is a very special rice that has been adapted over the millennia for risotto. I won’t tell you the details, too humiliating. But I compounded the error by remarking to Consuelo in Milan that I had done so. My god, you would think I had just committed mass murder. Actually, that probably would have been better since Italians understand crimes of passion. But tamper with tradition in COOKING? We communicate basically by email and since there is a forty year difference between us, consuelo is normally friendly but always respectful. Not this time. I received a three paragraph message that demanded to know if I had lost my mind, needed emergency hospitalization, planning on bringing down the Italian government and so on. Did I realize the foolishness of my actions? And on and on. I figured that if I left her alone for a month she would calm down. But the next day, I told my closest friend here, who drives me around, about what happened thinking he’d get a giggle from Consuelo’s reaction. To my astonishment, he turned so pale that he alarmed me, stopped the car, and demanded to know what if anything I was thinking and how could I do such a(he stopped short of the word stupid) ridiculous and foolish act, not to mention betrayal of tradition. Riccardo is 47, treats me the way he does his mother (enormous respect, tolerates my funny little American ways of independent thinking, self-deprecating jokes) and is one of the funniest people I have ever met. Not that day. Nor days afterwards. It’s over a year later and I STILL get snide remarks and little jabs over my complete loss of control and common sense. I mean, c’mon , Riccardo, even on my birthday? Lesson: whatever you do, don’t mess with tradition! Follow the recipe!! Tell no one!!! Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn crucial basics of Italian cooking and get a fine sample of regional recipes.

  11. 4 out of 5

    G.G.

    If you only have room for one Italian cookbook on your shelves, this is it! Beautifully written, wonderfully opinionated, as the title says: essential.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    You won't find a better cookbook about classic Italian cooking than this one. It covers everything you need to know---pasta, pizzas, soups, risotto---and Marcella Hazan exuberantly shares not only her recipes but also her thoughts and opinions about the ways others do Italian cooking.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    Probably one of the most comprehensive Italian cookbooks I've come across to date. While I did borrow this from my local library, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking seems an indispensable cookbook for just plain good, beautiful, delicious Italian food. The book is filled with countless authentic recipes from Italy's many diverse regions, ranging in difficulty, but none that seem undoable for most home chefs. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. The recipes generally do not require unusual, hard Probably one of the most comprehensive Italian cookbooks I've come across to date. While I did borrow this from my local library, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking seems an indispensable cookbook for just plain good, beautiful, delicious Italian food. The book is filled with countless authentic recipes from Italy's many diverse regions, ranging in difficulty, but none that seem undoable for most home chefs. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. The recipes generally do not require unusual, hard to find or overly expensive ingredients (which I always find a plus). Each recipe I made--and it was only a handful--were delicious and not too time consuming. While there are no photographs of the dishes, which I am willing to forgive and forget in this case, there are probably over 600 amazing recipes, folks! 600+ glorious delicious-ness-es (dishes so good I made up an adjective for them) ready to be made and delivered to your stomach. If you're looking for an Italian cookbook, just one, a bible of sorts, to last you probably for-ev-er, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Evan Hansen

    "Cooking" in the United States has often become an exercise in precisely following instructions in glossy magazines that are more travelogues and guidebooks for the upper middle class than actually learning anything. I have been extremely pleased to find brief but high quality cultural explanations, multiple variations of dishes, and a focus on simplicity and authenticity in this compendium of Hazan's earlier cookbooks. It's broken down intuitively into various types of dishes and ingredients, a "Cooking" in the United States has often become an exercise in precisely following instructions in glossy magazines that are more travelogues and guidebooks for the upper middle class than actually learning anything. I have been extremely pleased to find brief but high quality cultural explanations, multiple variations of dishes, and a focus on simplicity and authenticity in this compendium of Hazan's earlier cookbooks. It's broken down intuitively into various types of dishes and ingredients, and the patterns in her recipes become quickly apparent, providing an excellent guide to the cuisine. I'm only part way through -- that is, I've skimmed the entire book and am literally reading each page now as though it were a novel -- but it has become crystal clear to me that this book is beyond compare, especially in the realm of Italian cooking. Everything I'm making this week is from this tome, and what little I've already toyed with has been excellent. Highly recommended!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    A brilliant work of comedy! That would be anytime Marcella waxes authoritarian about the exact timing for adding dried pasta to rapidly boiling water. ;) Well, this is your book if you want authentic, well-organized, and delicious instructions to prepare meals featuring lasagne, sauteed spinach, pesto, homemade pasta, or a shockingly simple sauce for spaghetti (recipe: heat olive oil. Add garlic - optionally, add as much hot red pepper as you can hack - cook for two minutes. Toss with A brilliant work of comedy! That would be anytime Marcella waxes authoritarian about the exact timing for adding dried pasta to rapidly boiling water. ;) Well, this is your book if you want authentic, well-organized, and delicious instructions to prepare meals featuring lasagne, sauteed spinach, pesto, homemade pasta, or a shockingly simple sauce for spaghetti (recipe: heat olive oil. Add garlic - optionally, add as much hot red pepper as you can hack - cook for two minutes. Toss with spaghetti and enjoy). From this book I prepared outstanding meals for guests: dishes that I hadn't tested beforehand; I made truly exceptional minestrone for 20; I tossed together fresh produce for yummy thrown-together tomato sauces, and produced Italian cuisine to try out for myself and my friends. It's one of those cookbooks where the recipes will turn out properly if you follow the steps, time after time (but you might spend all day stuffing cannelloni).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is the cookbook I probably use most often. Marcella's recipes, for as intimidating as they may sound (risotti, stuffed squid, spinach and ricotta gnocchi, carciofi alla romana, etc.) are all authentic, easy to follow, and turn out properly every single time. Furthermore, there's lots of great information about ingredients (and how to select the best and freshest), history and culture as relates to ingredients and dishes, and overall good, sound cooking common-sense. She is occasionally more This is the cookbook I probably use most often. Marcella's recipes, for as intimidating as they may sound (risotti, stuffed squid, spinach and ricotta gnocchi, carciofi alla romana, etc.) are all authentic, easy to follow, and turn out properly every single time. Furthermore, there's lots of great information about ingredients (and how to select the best and freshest), history and culture as relates to ingredients and dishes, and overall good, sound cooking common-sense. She is occasionally more of a purist than I am, but isn't that the kind of teacher you'd like to rebel against from time to time? I've made this chicken marsala recipe a thousand times, so that I've got it memorized, and people go bonkers for it every single time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lfrisch

    This book was recommended to me by a Chef when he was teaching me the art of making fresh pasta. It is easy to use with the recipes being very clear and basically spot on. I love that Marcella has also included additional notes at the end of the recipes giving clarification and "Do ahead" pointers. I started with the pasta recipes and now have moved into the main entrees. If you want a good starting point to produce results that will match a Chef, I suggest Drunk Roast Pork or make the Bolognese This book was recommended to me by a Chef when he was teaching me the art of making fresh pasta. It is easy to use with the recipes being very clear and basically spot on. I love that Marcella has also included additional notes at the end of the recipes giving clarification and "Do ahead" pointers. I started with the pasta recipes and now have moved into the main entrees. If you want a good starting point to produce results that will match a Chef, I suggest Drunk Roast Pork or make the Bolognese Meat Sauce to use in lasagna. Warning: these 2 recipes will take a good portion of the day to produce, but with the season changing to winter, it is the perfect time of year to heat up the kitchen.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rob Durante

    My goto Italian cookbook. This is the essence of Italian cooking simple recipes using great ingredients. The recipes are simple and logical. Italian does not have to have garlic and gravy like sauce to be Italian. American's often learned what Italian food was from emigrants from the south Italy that opened restaurants using red checkered table clothes. These neighborhood eatery's of the 60's and 70's often used too much garlic and served food of poor quality in my opinion. Hazan will broaden yo My goto Italian cookbook. This is the essence of Italian cooking simple recipes using great ingredients. The recipes are simple and logical. Italian does not have to have garlic and gravy like sauce to be Italian. American's often learned what Italian food was from emigrants from the south Italy that opened restaurants using red checkered table clothes. These neighborhood eatery's of the 60's and 70's often used too much garlic and served food of poor quality in my opinion. Hazan will broaden your horizons and ground you in food the way you will find in in Italy. True Italian is at the heart of slow cooking and farm to fork.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily Lindenberg

    This is truly the essentials of Italian cooking. Not only do you learn how to butterfly and chicken breast, stuff a squid and de-bone a leg of lamb, but her recipes are also basic, flavorful and the majority of them are easy to make with everyday ingredients you have in your pantry. Her bottom line is building flavor. If you take nothing except one lesson from this book, take her advise about being a patient cook and taking the time to build a strong base flavor with good olive oil, garlic, onio This is truly the essentials of Italian cooking. Not only do you learn how to butterfly and chicken breast, stuff a squid and de-bone a leg of lamb, but her recipes are also basic, flavorful and the majority of them are easy to make with everyday ingredients you have in your pantry. Her bottom line is building flavor. If you take nothing except one lesson from this book, take her advise about being a patient cook and taking the time to build a strong base flavor with good olive oil, garlic, onion, celery and carrots. If anyone wants to borrow this, i have it after my sister reccomended it to me. Thanks Rebecca.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    This book combines Hazan's first two books, the Classic Italian Cookbook and More Classic Italian Cooking. While the combined volume is convenient, something is lost. Specifically, in the original works, Hazan gave suggest accompaniments for each recipe. You pick a Primi course, for instance, and she suggests Secondis, and vice versa. This helps you to come up with a truly Italian meal, as two courses are characteristic there. I have found this to be very valuable, and it has been omitted from E This book combines Hazan's first two books, the Classic Italian Cookbook and More Classic Italian Cooking. While the combined volume is convenient, something is lost. Specifically, in the original works, Hazan gave suggest accompaniments for each recipe. You pick a Primi course, for instance, and she suggests Secondis, and vice versa. This helps you to come up with a truly Italian meal, as two courses are characteristic there. I have found this to be very valuable, and it has been omitted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Although her first two books are out of print, it's worth looking for them at used book stores and online, as they are more useful than the newer tome.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susanna - Censored by GoodReads

    We have cooked many recipes from this cookbook, and they have all turned out well. I almost think you could pick a recipe at random, and it would be good. I think we eat from this book at least once or twice a week.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    As a novice cook, this book has a wealth of knowledge for the uninitiated. Some parts I felt were rather hard to follow. I assume these are for the more advance cooking talents. Still a great and useful book to add to the shelves.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    I still look to this book for recipes of many classic dishes that I rarely make but should make more frequently.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ivy

    Marcela, where have you been my whole life? Obsessed!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    She's a wonderful traditionalist in many ways -- sometimes the recipes take on more steps than necessary, but she is -- was -- a taskmaster. And more than a few of us like that about her.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    One of the best cookbooks of all time!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gael Lundeen

    Absolutely essential. Amazing cooking methodologies. Don't miss the Ragu, Bolognese Style on page 127. Our book falls open to that page.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Best Italian Cookbook...Tastes Like You are There!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Minchilli

    A classic that all those interested in Italian cooking should have on their shelves. Like many others, this is the book that truly taught me the basics of Italian cooking.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael Mikowski

    I’ve owned this book for years. It is a go to when I’m in the mood for something really Italian. I particularly recommend a recipe for tomato sauce that includes nothing but tomatoes, onion, and butter. It can be miraculous! Hazan grew up in central Italy, Emilia Romagna, then lived for years in Venice, where her husband was from. She is more in the line of Julia Child then say Lidia Bastianich is.

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