September 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Use this thread for general discussion on our September 2006 Cookbook of the Month, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. You can chat about which recipes to choose, how you think the whole cookbook process is going, or any general comments about the book.
To post a review of any recipe, please select the appropriate thread below:
For appetizers and soups:
For pasta and other starches:
For seafood and meat:
For vegetables and salads:
For dessert and breads:
The Chowhound Team asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the originalauthor. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.
Happy cooking! I look forward to the discussion!
Admission of guilt: I really, really wanted to participate in this first cookbook, but alas, I don't think I'm going to get the Marcella cookbooks in in the month of September... just not enough time in the day! I have enjoyed reading along though, and I will be cooking from Marcella soon, just not in September! :-( (I feel so guilty!)
Okay hounds, let's get cooking . . . meat! I was looking forward to this project as a way to stretch my reach. I would welcome company in picking a more challenging project (I've done the veal scaloppine and chops) -- anyone care to join me in embarking on stewed pork? Other suggestions? I might try the Tuscan Meat Roll. One drawback to Marcella (though I am a big fan) is that she does not suggest what to serve with dishes. Ideas?
I want company in the kitchen!
well with every great idea there needs to be some tweaking, hopefully the chowhound staff will create a new space designated specifically for this project. . . . . Right now its not too messy if you bookmark all the threads from the get-go, but one board for each book would be a great idea, then each recipe can have its own thread. . . . .
Hopefully, after seeing how much excitement was surrounding this project, the chowhound staff will accomodate it and make it work
For anyone who has not used these books before, I would highly recommend reading the introductory stuff about ingredients etc., as well as the part about pairing pasta types/shapes to sauces and the menu suggestions in the back, which to me give a good sense of how Italians structure their meals.
I think that's an excellent suggestion. I'm sorry for all the confusion about the multiple threads. We didn't want to restrict everyone to one humungous thread, and at the same time, the chowhound team didn't want us to overwhelm the boards with a ton of different threads. The compromise was to set up five threads by (somewhat arbitrary) recipe type.
When I originally thought of doing this, I thought it would be nice if all the comments about one recipe would be on a single thread. Unfortunately, that would mean too many thread on this board. But maybe, if there's a lot of participation in this project, we might be granted our own board, and then we could re-think how to do this.
In the meantime, we're just seeing how things work out. Comments about the process really belong on this thread, so keep speaking up!
I have to say, my favorite part of the Classic book (don't know if/where this exists in Essentials), is at the beginning of the Desserts chapter. Marcella chastises the reader for even considering making a dessert, they're not typical of Italian meals, that the grand desserts one may associate with Italian meals are exclusive to special events. The ordinary family might have a piece of fruit, or a hard cookie with vin santo (I think that's it, I'm not much of a drinker, really). In the end, she grudgingly allows as how she will provide the reader with a few recipes
It's this moment in the book where her personality comes through so clearly (and, obviously, it's a personality I like). A cookbook's author almost always reveals their personality through the book; I suppose it's simply a matter of whether one likes the author. I love the Marcella personality that I read in Classic and More Classics.
In 5 minutes of googling, I have found a few recipes online for those of us without the books, and I'm sure more are out there.
Here is a site with several recipes grouped by season. Some of them are from Essentials, some from other cookbooks (scroll to the very bottom of the recipe to see cookbook info)
Not very Italian to split the pasta and soup!
Three dishes we've made a zillion times are the arugula and potato soup, the rice with mozzarella and basil (arborio recommendation is actually bad, you want a rice that boils well), and the chicken stuffed with two lemons.
Also the pasta with tuna sauce and stracotto al barolo, but after 25 years what I make bears no relation to the book.