Eataly, All About Pasta, A Complete Guide with Recipes by Natalie Danford and Francesco Sapienza, Rizzoli 2018, 176 pages $25.00
Life is a combination of magic and pasta.
And there’s nothing magic about making pasta. Once you’ve learned a few techniques that work for your pots and your kitchen, you can make delicious pasta from almost anything.
But why not become a pasta conjurer and master the techniques of twisting agnolotti into little rings, fluffing delicate noodles into nests, and pinching a plate-sized raviolo?
And why not learn from Eataly–the experts in all edibles Italian? This book records regional differences and catalogs the shapes and sauces of Pasta Secca, Pasta Fresca, and Pasta Ripieni–dried, fresh, and stuffed pastas.
Pasta Secca is made of nothing more than semolina wheat flour and water. It is “a modernized pasta” first made in the Neapolitan town of Gragnano in 1842. Its extruded shapes are versatile, convenient, satisfying, and inexpensive. Pasta Secca recipes start with the iconic Spaghetti al Pomodoro, but turn the page to learn the secrets of flavor–olives, sea salt, bottarga, anchovies, dried tomato, and the modern equivalent of ancient garum, colatura. Add these to your pantry for simple but brilliant dishes.
Photos of Pasta Fresca and Ripieni will guide you to a translucent dough that drapes like linen and can be pinched into pansotti, cappelletti, ravioli, agnolotti, and mezzelune. recipes will have you serving them simply in broth or with lush and nuanced fillings of meat, vegetables, and cheese.
Each chapter introduces shapes and styles, then pairs them in classic recipes like Pasta alla Norma, Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, and cheesy Ravioli Magri. The recipes then move on to intriguingly unfamiliar dishes like Couscous alla Trapana, and Vincigrassi, and beet stuffed Casunziei.
Throughout the book, sidebars add to your expertise on topics including pesto, “final touch” flavorings, unique vegetables like nettles and wild asparagus, the textures and flavors of different flours and grains.
It’s like having a Nonna who can share the way she always done things to get her perfect results. And with a Nonna’s efficiency, the book sweeps aside those stupid stereotypes like adding oil to the water, throwing cooked pasta at the wall, and serving it in a soupy sauce. Please, don’t break the pasta to fit it in the pot! Just follow these simple techniques and your palate for a perfect pasta.