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Jan 28, 2007 08:38 AM

Best Marcella Hazan cookbook?

I'm a newcomer to the Marcella Hazan enthusiasts. But once I made her simple tomato sauce (which I found on CH), I was totally hooked! Which of her cookbooks would you suggest I buy? There are several, so I wanted some expert advice first. Thanks!

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  1. I have Classic Italian Cooking, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (this one is a compendium of her first two books, Classic Italian and More Classic Italian) and Marcella Cucina, and although I love them all, the one I use most often and find the most comprehensive is Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. The first two books, Classic Italian Cooking and More Classic Italian Cooking are out of print, but I would go with those two (you can probably find them cheap on Ebay) or Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, if you want to buy it new. These books are the equivalent to, say, Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and, IMHO, indispensible in any cookbook library.

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    1. re: DanaB

      I absolutely agree - Essentials is my go-to of all of Marcella's books.

    2. I seem to be in a minority around here, but my two favorites are "Cucina" and "Says". Some complain that the recipes are warmed over from her earlier books, but I personally feel that her instructions became more clear with each book. I also love "Italian Kitchen" and use it frequently too. The first two books, to me, were to teach America basic Italian cooking and the recipes are glorious in their simplicity. In the later books, she calls for some items that were probably very difficult for American cooks to get in the 70's or 80's, but are quite common even in supermarkets in large cities today. I can get pancetta at any supermarket in Los Angeles. It's not the best Pancetta, but it's not bad.

      At any rate, if you are new to Marcella, my personal recommendation would be "Says" or "Cucina". But trust me, you'll want them all. :-) I bought the first two books and "Italian Kitchen" on Ebay and they were quite reasonable.

      Good luck!

      1. Funny, I was just pondering this same question this weekend. I did a search on the boards on Saturday, and you might find this discussion interesting, Classic and More Classic vs. Essentials: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/32564... Barnes and Noble has a great deal on Marcella's Italian Kitchen right now: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/book... Even if you decide to get a different one, you could still get that one too! I bought it recently in the bargain book section, and I know a lot of people had said they don't like it as well, but after sitting down with it three nights in a row, I've found lots of things I want to try. I've got a $100 B&N gift certificate, so I've been agonizing over what I want to get!

        1. You might find some at your library before you invest in a book. My local one carries a few. I just checked out Marcella Says. It's good but I'd rather have one with more basic recipes.

          1. I am insanely addicted to Essentials, and the simple tomato sauce was one of the first two recipes that got me hooked. The other was her roast chicken recipe, which I love so much that I published an iPod version of it (you can get to it from here: http://www.mogopop.com/channel/2)! Have fun with Marcella, whichever route you go.