cover image Father Orsini's Pasta Perfecta

Father Orsini's Pasta Perfecta

Joseph E. Orsini, Jospeh Orsini. Hearst Communications, $17.95 (159pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13520-1

A retired Catholic priest from New Jersey, Father Orsini (Father Orsini's Italian Kitchen) could be said to worship pasta. As he traveled through Italy after his retirement, he collected recipes for everything from a pasta pie with truffles to the rustic penne with ricotta, eggplant and walnuts, indigenous to the Reggio/Emilio region. The 80-plus recipes here are presented in four chapters, including details, such as denomination of origins and notes on appropriate wines. Orsini brings a deft touch to editing these old family recipes. Neither too formidable nor too plain, the dishes straddle the line between typical American pasta (sauce from a jar, noodles from a box) and some of the more elaborate presentations of other expert Italian chefs and cookbook authors. Organized by region, the recipes include short travel notes for those home cooks who dream of visiting Italy. Do not look for history or in-depth research: this slender book is meant to be used in the kitchen, not pored over as a text. (Feb.)