Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food, with Recipes

Missy Robbins and Talia Baiocchi. Ten Speed, $40 (416p) ISBN 978-1-984857-00-2
Waxing poetic about cooking by using the way dough feels in one’s hands and the sounds sauce makes in a pan instead of setting a timer, chef Robbins (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner... Life), of Brooklyn’s Lilia, presents a soulful guide to the art and craft of making pasta. “Italy is not one country but twenty,” she writes, “and pasta is best enjoyed as a way... to partake in that complexity.” Bringing that sentiment to the page with Baiocchi, editor-in-chief of Punch magazine, Robbins explores various types of dough and instructs on creating 45 different shapes, such as fettuccine, hand-shaped orecchiette, or bucatini pulled through a pasta maker. A section of Italian-American recipes features good old spaghetti and meatballs, as well as a grown-up baked ziti with aged provolone and caciocavallo. Having once driven across northern Italy, “part of the country that shape-shifts endlessly,” Robbins recalls the diversity of the area’s recipes in a wide-ranging chapter of “regional classics” that includes pasta with Abruzzese meatballs and lamb ragù, and a Sicilian pasta with tomato and almond pesto. Elsewhere, surprising ingredients and combinations, such as ricotta and Tuscan kale–filled cappelletti with fennel pollen turn up in a section of “modern classics” that successfully riff on traditional entrées. These hearty dishes are as filling as they are full of heart. Agent: Kari Stuart, ICM Partners. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/29/2021
Release date: 10/12/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
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