Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Hand- made Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto

Marc Vetri, with David Joachim. Ten Speed, $29.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-6077-4607-2
“Pasta has always been one of the most difficult things to teach young cooks,” writes restaurateur and author Marc Vetri (Rustic Italian Food, Il Viaggio De Vetri) in the introduction to this master course on pasta production, “but it shouldn’t be.” Over the course of the book’s 200-plus pages, Vetri and coauthor David Joachim explain the particulars of pasta and how to get it right. Beginning with a technical explanation of how different flours affect the end result, the duo move on to basic pasta dough (including pictures), which acts as a foundation for the dishes that follow. Readers may be surprised at the simplicity of both the dough and the dishes themselves. Despite elaborate names—corzetti with red bell pepper crema, fazzoletti with crab and burrata—they’re quite easy to make. Even more advanced techniques, such as making ravioli, flavored pastas, and gnocchi, are patiently explained in detail. If it all seems a bit complicated (stuffed pappardelle with foie gras terrine and onion marmalade), readers will be relieved to see how simple risotto can be. Vetri demystifies risotto in particular, noting that constant stirring isn’t necessary (particularly when using the right rice) to produce a winner like the saffon-tinged risotto alla Milanese. This might not be the best book for beginners, but home cooks that are serious about their Italian dishes will want to give this a look. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/2014
Release date: 03/17/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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