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Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking Hardcover – Oct 27 1992

4.8 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
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  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I: 50th Anniversary
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  • Joy of Cooking
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (Oct. 27 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039458404X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394584041
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 4.3 x 24.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best of the best Italian cookbook I've ever owned. It's the kind of the book that the recipes are really authentic and the outcome is really delicious, which, according to my experience, is extremely rare nowadays. I've had it for more than 4 years and have tried many recipes on it. As far as I can remember, only two recipes disappoints me (and I'm a really difficult person when it comes to food). I also bought many other Italian cookbooks, with many mouth-watering pictures but most of the time, the outcome following those books are mediocre and do not worth the effort.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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. There are no pictures which is a problem.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book for those who are not shy about cooking from scratch. The recipes are positively brilliant and easy to follow. That said, it is not for the faint of heart...there is a lot of prep for fresh vegetables, fresh meats and all other manner of fresh ingredients. But the effort is more than worth the time and energy required. My husband & I entered a "food coma" after stuffing ourselves with the pizza recipes in this book...it was the first recipe I tried after my sister recommended the book to me...her family may never ever again go to a restaurant for dinner now that my sister has discovered this book. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the recipes found in this cook book. Bravo and bon appetite !
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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. Although some of the dishes are labour intensive, most are surprisingly simple. I can't tell you how many sauces I have made where I've looked at the very short ingredient list and the very simple instructions and though "there's no way this is going to taste like anything" only to be blown away by the final product. This is mindful, minimalist cooking with an emphasis on quality ingredients and maximizing flavour. This would be a particularly good beginner's cookbook, as it is friendly, with lots of explanation and great results, but it would be an inspiration to more advanced cooks as well.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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