cover image How to Cook Italian

How to Cook Italian

Giuliano Hazan, . . Scribner, $30 (433pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-4436-7

When Marcella Hazan, Giuliano Hazan's mother and the woman credited with introducing Americans to authentic Italian cooking, published her first cookbook in 1973, Americans had little access to good olive oil and real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Times certainly have changed, and this work reflects that in a section on ingredients that calls for items such as bottarga and imported San Marzano tomatoes. But Giuliano's recipes don't differ much from his mother's or those found in the many other general Italian cookbooks, and that's the flaw in this completely competent, utterly unsurprising primer. It's perfect for absolute Italian beginners still looking for recipes for Pasta e Fagioli and Spaghetti with Clams. Hazan, who lives in Florida, works hard to translate Italian dishes for the American marketplace, and he does a particularly good job in his chapter on fish and seafood main courses, suggesting numerous possible species for use in dishes like Red Snapper with Mussels, and Baked Cod with Tomatoes and Red Onions. A chapter on rice includes 15 different risotto recipes, but its most valuable asset is the step-by-step general instructions for making risotto. Such technique sections, especially the one on making pasta by hand, are useful, but just not hefty enough to make this volume indispensable. Photos. Agent, David Black. (Dec.)