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Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking [Hardcover]

Marcella Hazan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.00
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Book Description

Oct. 27 1992
Almost twenty years ago, with the publication of The Classic Italian Cook Book, followed by More Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella Hazan introduced Americans to a whole new world of Italian food. As Roy Andries de Groot wrote, “Marcella’s book is the most authentic guide to Italian food ever written in the U.S. Where other authors failed, Marcella has brilliantly succeeded in capturing (and conveying to the reader on every page) the feel, the aromatic scent, the subtle nuances of fresh country flavors and, above all, the easy uncomplication of Italian food prepared in the Italian style.”

Now a new generation is ready to master the art of Italian cooking, and their bible will be Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking—this new volume that combines the two books, updates and expanded throughout. Designed as a basic manual for cooks on every level—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.

Frequently Bought Together

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking + Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I: 50th Anniversary + Joy of Cooking
Price For All Three: CDN$ 79.62

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From Amazon

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 consists of polenta, risotto, squid braised with tomatoes and white wine, sautéed swiss chard with olive oil and garlic.... Twenty years ago, when Hazan first exploded into the American consciousness with The Classic Italian Cook Book and More Classic Italian Cooking, such recipes were revolutionary. With time, however, these classic dishes have become much-beloved family favorites.

Now a new generation is ready to be introduced to Marcella Hazan's way with food, and in Essentials of Italian Cooking Hazan combines her two earlier works into one update and expanded volume. In addition to the delicious collection of recipes, this book serves as a basic manual for cooks of every skill level. Recipes have been revised to reduce fat content, and a whole new chapter full of fundamental information about herbs, spices, and cheeses used in Italian kitchens--as well as details on how to select specific ingredients--has been added. New chapters, new recipes--who could ask for more than Essentials of Italian Cooking?

From Publishers Weekly

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. 40,000 first printing; Home Style Book Club main selection, BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Essential Italian Cookbook Dec 29 2003
Marcella Hazan is to Italian what Julia Child is to French: The person who introduced American cooks to a cuisine, and in so doing changed how we ate. This book is essential: both essential to anyone who wants to cook authentic Italian, and essentially Marcella.
This book has many virtues. It's very thorough -- a comprehensive survey of the various courses and food groups. There are dedicated chapters for pasta and risotto, for example, where many books treat those together. And in addition to the obvious meats, such as veal, lamb, beef, pork, etc., she also tackles subjects such as rabbit and variety meats. (Use Amazon's "Look inside" feature to see the table of contents.)
Another virtue is the trouble she takes to explain ingredients, be they classic italian ingredients or simply the italian perspective on something. After reading through the Fundamentals chapter, you'll never shop for italian-style ingredients quite the same way ever again. In short, very accessible paragraphs, she goes through the history, regional origins, and uses for the major herbs, cheeses, meats, etc. She covers what to look for when buying an ingredient -- what's fresh, what packaging makes for the best product.
The recipies are very workable and give generally excellent results. The techniques are accessible to anyone who can saute on a stovetop -- anyone who's beyond the stage of rank beginner. The instructions are very clear and strike the right balance, with enough information to give clarity without drowning the reader in detail. (There are few things more infuriating than standing over a cookbook, dripping spoon in hand, reading through War and Peace to figure out what to do next.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best cookbooks ever June 3 2004
I have been using this cookbook for more than 10 years. Marcella Hazan writes about food and cooking with absolute authority, and the results are always delicious. I don't just refer to this book when I want to cook "Italian food." I'll often use it for ideas when it's close to dinner time and I'm not sure what to do with a bunch of broccoli, or a fish filet.
The book is also beautifully made and printed. You can't go wrong with this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Essential Italian Cookbook March 8 2009
I have used this book for many years and it tells you everything you want to know about preparing your favorite Italian dish. The ingredients are suitable for a North American market, the instructions are clear, and Marcella offers much useful comment and information as well. It really is the "Classic Italian Cookbook"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Italian, Bar None May 8 2004
By A Customer
This is the best Italian cookbook out there, bar none, and one of the very best cookbooks written. The instructions are straightforward and detailed - sometimes maddeningly detailed. The results are superior from the ver first recipe - a person with no experience in the kitchen at all will know exactly what to do.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "Joy of Cooking" of Italian Cuisine Oct. 5 2003
The very first recipe I tried out of this book was a great success. My ten-year-old daughter, her friend, and I followed one of the recipes for making homemade linguini (flat spaghetti), by rolling out the dough, cutting it into strips, and boiling it in water! Then we ate it with tomato sauce, and it was a GREAT SUCCESS!
This book is very comprehensive. It could be called the "Joy of Cooking," of Italian Cuisine, having chapters on just about every possible type of Italian food. Directions are given for making EVERYTHING from SCRATCH, the traditional, Italian way. So buy this book if you are a GOURMET cook, who enjoys spending hours in the kitchen-it is NOT for the busy housewife who has to get a quick dinner on the table. Completely separate chapters include Fundamentals, Appetizers, Soups, Pasta, Risotto, Gnocchi, Crespelle, Polenta, Frittate, Fish and Shellfish, Chicken-Squab-Duck-Rabbit, Veal, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Variety Meats, Salads, Desserts, Focaccia-Pizza-Bread-Other Special Doughs, and At the Table.
So far, my family has enjoyed every recipe we have tried.
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By A Customer
This book is wonderful. The recipes are easy to follow and never fail. Marcella is very opinionated about ingredients and you know, she's probably right: canned tomatoes from italy are better than canned tomatoes from America. They are better than anything but the sweetest ripest off the vine plum tomatoes you can only get a few weeks a year by growing your own. Her recipes aren't full of gimmicks, and short cuts that sacrifice flavor. They are often labor intensive or require more than twenty minutes of cooking time. But they work and are often an absolute revelation in taste. As someone else mentioned, the tomato/butter and onion sauce is to die for good and unbelievably simple.
The best thing is the way success with these recipes has built my confidence. You can start off with a simple pasta sauce and work toward making your own pasta, pizza and other more complicated recipes. After success at making homemade gnocci with a simple sauce, I was inspired to move on. I have used ingredients I never would have touched in the past (anchovies??, Chestnuts??? and prosciutto??) and have gotten over my worry that if it took longer than 20 minutes to make that it wasn't worth the hassle. Good food is worth the hassle. And also there's the fact that so many of her recipes use staple ingredients that after you're familiar with the Essentials of Italian Cooking, you will always have around.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn to cook, but is unsure of where to begin. I would also highly recommend this book for gardeners since so many of the recipes are built around seasonal veggies like zucchini, tomato, eggplant, basil and greens you'll never again give your surplus zukes to the neighbors!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Italian recipe book
Best Italian recipe book ever! Interesting to read, great explanations, and delicious recipes! The positive reviews on this book were right. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Josee J Nadeau
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wonderful book!!
Published 1 month ago by Real Health
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very pleased with used copy recieved,the only good cook book is a used one!
Published 3 months ago by William Donald Menzies
5.0 out of 5 stars Compare to Italian recipes on the Internet
When cuisine of one country or culture travels to another country like America, it is often by necessity changed. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Julian W. Canzoneri
3.0 out of 5 stars Essentials of classic Italian
Lots of information on Italian foods, spices, etc. so it is a good source for someone wanting to learn about Italian food. The recipes are fairly simple and easy to follow. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Shannon Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars The basics
I picked up this book after reading Bill Buford's "Heat" in an attempt to go deep with Italian cooking; I'm glad I did. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Commoneone16
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, Surprising
They call it essential for a reason. I have had this book for about 6 months and have tried close to a dozen recipes from it. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Aara Macauley
5.0 out of 5 stars Best cookbook I own
Recipes are authentic and quite simple. Instructions are thorough and first part of book is very informative. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Zib
5.0 out of 5 stars My go to for Italian
I have owned this book for a little over a year. In that time it has become my reference for classic Italian cuisine. Clear and straight forward recipes. Read more
Published 18 months ago by bookweasel
5.0 out of 5 stars you do not need another italian cookbook!
This is the first cookbook that I have read cover to cover...the first +40 pages are worth the price of the book! And the Introduction forms the bases for the recepies that follow. Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2011 by frank
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