It was just recently that I got Marcella Hazan's recipe for Tomato and Butter sauce. I can't believe how easy and delicious it is. Are there any gems in Patricia Well's Trattoria cookbook?
I love the Trattoria cookbook (and her Bistro cookbook, by the by). I recommend the Penne with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce and a pasta with lemon sauce recipe. I use the Spicy Pizza Sauce recipe as my pizza sauce, though she uses it with pasta--I love the technique of sauteing the garlic slivers in oil to sweeten it. I've had a lot of success with her bread recipes, as well. I use her basic bread dough for my pizza dough or the carta di musica flatbread.
The desserts are good, too, particularly the Fragrant Orange and Lemon Cake. I make that as my birthday cake every year.
I'm sure there are more good ones I'm forgetting, but these recipes alone made it worth the price for me.
The only recipe in there I wasn't crazy about was a white bean with sage one--just didn't have much flavour.
I totally agree about the fragrant orange/lemon cake. I make it for co-workers as well as birthdays.
Also agree (even more) about P.W.'s French Bistro Cookbook. I use that all the time. The daubes and the vinegar chicken dishes are great. The best dessert, imo, is the pear cake. Fabulous. I love these 2 books.
For a white bean recipe that is really really good, I recommend this one by Michael Chiarello. My wife and I have had great success with this dish by baking it until the beans have soaked up most of the oil and juices. We also really enjoyed it with some fresh rosemary added during the baking.
I have had great success with all the receipes I've made from this book. I especially like the tuna mousse and it's always a crowd pleaser - simple and incredibly delicious - especially in the summer.