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Marcella Hazan


Basilgirl
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Supposedly, sadly, Marcella Hazan's last book. I just got my copy yesterday and haven't had time to sit down and read it cover to cover yet. Anybody out there made anything from it yet? I glanced at a butternut squash & parmesan thing that looked really good.

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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Not that all the earlier ones weren't personal, but this one is her MOST personal one. In it, she gets to be the curmudgeonly teacher, grumbling about all the misconceptions people have about "Italian" food, and then very clearly explaining why she thinks it should be done THIS WAY. :biggrin: And the recipes ARE new. I really want to make the carrot gnocchi, which she says were quite a surprise to her.

Full disclosure: I was lucky enough to work as a proofreader on this book. And when I got to meet her afterwards, I literally knelt at her feet and thanked her for teaching me so much. She was quite gracious even though I was a blithering idiot. :raz:

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There was a big feature on the new book in the August/September Saveur. Unfortunately I can't find the article on Saveur's website. The article contained several great-sounding recipes.

I made the Ragu di Vitello col Sughetto di Peperoni Rossi, Verdi e Gialli (Veal Pasta Sauce with Red, Green, and Yellow Peppers). It was really great, although I found her requirement that the peppers be peeled raw, with a vegetable peeler, to be easier said than done. It was well worth the effort.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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There was a big feature on the new book in the August/September Saveur...

Trivia note-they took her to The Olive Garden for lunch, and her comments about what America had done to Italian food are in the article. Some of them are priceless, as you might imagine, but there actually was a dish she liked. They also had a piece on her kitchen, it looks incredible (but small.)

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There was a big feature on the new book in the August/September Saveur.  Unfortunately I can't find the article on Saveur's website.  The article contained several great-sounding recipes.

I made the Ragu di Vitello col Sughetto di Peperoni Rossi, Verdi e Gialli (Veal Pasta Sauce with Red, Green, and Yellow Peppers).  It was really great, although I found her requirement that the peppers be peeled raw, with a vegetable peeler, to be easier said than done.  It was well worth the effort.

Try using a serrated vegetable peeler, such as the one from Messermeister or Oxo

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Trivia note-they took her to The Olive Garden for lunch, and her comments about what America had done to Italian food are in the article. Some of them are priceless, as you might imagine, but there actually was a dish she liked. They also had a piece on her kitchen, it looks incredible (but small.)

There was a thread on this here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=47486&hl=

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I made two dishes from the new book this week:

(1) The lamb shoulder fricassee "Marches" style (p.280). This was good homey fare. It would be bland but for the redeeming last step, in which the lamb is tossed with egg yolk and lemon juice. I could've used a serving suggestion to go with the lamb. I kept thinking "buttered noodles, buttered noodles!" But that was Julia talking inside my head. I went instead with rice and a vegetable. Boring.

(2) Tonight I made the risotto with butternut squash, leeks, and clams (p. 143). My wife and I gobbled it all up. Really good. I thought this dish was interesting coming from Marcella because it contained a number of accents-- the fresh marjoram, the green peppercorns tossed in at the end-- which I don't think the more severe Marcella of the Seventies would have included. Back then she would've just made one or two ingredients shine. But I have no complaints; the dish was great!

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I made the Ragu di Vitello col Sughetto di Peperoni Rossi, Verdi e Gialli (Veal Pasta Sauce with Red, Green, and Yellow Peppers).  It was really great, although I found her requirement that the peppers be peeled raw, with a vegetable peeler, to be easier said than done.  It was well worth the effort.

I made it too, and it was a succulent eye-opener-- one of those dishes about which I could say: "Hmmmmm. I've never tasted anything exactly like this." Yes, peeling those peppers was a drag, but I decided to give myself a break. The little bits of peel I'd missed detracted in no way from the results.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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  • 2 years later...

Just got this cookbook for Hanukkah and I couldn't find a thread on it, so I thought I'd start one for folks to discuss their favorite recipes and experiences cooking through this classic tome.

I started out last night with penne in tuna sauce with tomatoes. Utterly simple and delicious, although 12 ounces of imported tuna packed in olive oil cost a whopping $20. Minced garlic, olive oil and canned tomatoes simmered for 25 minutes or so, then stir in tuna, a pat of butter, and black pepper. Toss with pasta and a bit of chopped parsley.

Somehow, the butter and olive oil emulsify with the tomatoes to create a silky, creamy vehicle to bind the tuna with the pasta. Far greater than the sum of its parts.

Alongside the pasta, we had broccoli sauteed with garlic and parsley. All in all, a ridiculously quick, easy, and delicious weeknight dinner.

So, where to go from here? I know the ragu and the chicken with two lemons have been discussed at length; but what are some other gems in this book?

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Some of my pasta staples are from this book: the butter, onion and tomato sauce, the pea, bacon and ricotta sauce (use good ricotta, not the stuff from the grocery store-get it from an Italian deli, or the Whole Foods "spreadable" ricotta they have in their cheese dept. is fantastic here), and her carbonara (my favorite of any I've ever made). In fact, when I just want a fast weeknight dinner using ingredients I may already have at home, I turn to her pasta chapter before any other source. And her cream and butter sauce is great-of course this is easy to make with no recipe, but her proportions are just right.

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so many favorites! There is this unusual but delcious sweet polenta cake with figs, raisins and pinenuts. She says something like "very good with a dollop or 2 of whipped cream, but then, what isn't?" which was one of my favorite food quotes for years :biggrin:

the eggplant patties are fantastic.

there is this stew/braise of chicken and red cabbage.. perfect winter comfort food.

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Lucky you!

I have the two old volumes that became Essentials when revised a bit and combined. I will be uncharacteristically brief (for now) since Marcella is literally a venerable figure as far as I'm concerned.

Here's something to be a bit mischievous since I know there are many home cooks in The United States who are thrilled with their spiffy new (allegedly just) translated copies of The Sliver Spoon. You've got the MUCH better book. There's just one unmediated and opiniated voice behind the book. It's a good tool for learning and worth cooking your way through.

While your divine tuna was probably a large factor in the success of your dish, do know that Genova is a pretty decent, less costly, imported Italian-style tuna distributed by Chicken of the Sea (I think).

Please, do keep the reports coming!

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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• Red cabbage soup

N.B. Italian title refers to cavolo nero (Tuscan kale), now available in US. However, this version taught me how good red cabbage is. Cf. Chufi's note about a chicken dish w/ cabbage that is good for dinner guests on low-fat diets.

• Bean soup (cannellini) with parsley and garlic

• Chick-pea soup

• Bucatini all'Amatriciana

• Baked polenta with meat sauce (Ragu Bolognese)

• Spaghetti with smothered onions

• Penne with ricotta and spinach sauce

• Lasagne with artichokes

Classic Bolognese recipe with spinach dough is wonderful, too.

• Fettuccine with fried zucchini

• Baked striped bass and shellfish sealed in foil (Italian title refers to Branzino)

Magnificent for special occasion.

• Pan-roasted mackerel with rosemary and garlic

Never had eaten this assertively fishy fish before. Cooked it with a crowd including "vegetarians" who eat fish, and everyone raved. Spaghetti with tomato-anchovy sauce was perfect as a first course. All of Hazan's menu suggestions are a great feature of the book.

• Sea bass with braised fennel (Il Pesce coi Finocchi Freschi)

• Baked bluefish with potatoes, Genoese style

While I don't eat seafood as much as this list might imply, the fish recipes were truly revelatory when I bought the books in the early 1980s. This is my favorite and the source for something Mark Bittman publishes in H2CE.

• Ossobuco with risotto alla milanese

Another excellent dish for company when weather is cold and snowy.

• Braised pork chops with mushrooms

• Pan-roasted spareribs, Treviso style

• Pizza di Scarola—actually a pie and one of several really good escarole recipes

• Fried zucchini blossoms

• Red beet tops salad

Always serve this with the roasted beets. Excellent with focaccia.

• Romaine salad with Gorgonzola and toasted walnuts

• Fried Cauliflower in Parmesan batter

Yes, this vegetable is great even when it's not roasted.

Since I'm not a major fan of Italian desserts, I'm stopping with a list of vegetables. This is actually a selective list since these were among the first cookbooks I owned and I found them very useful when learning how to make more than Julia Child's peach tart and the family meatloaf.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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What a great gift!! We use it constantly and love everything we have tried so far! We will join in!

The only peeve I've developed with Italian cookbooks is that I wished they included a regional index!! This way I could know where a particular dish may have originated from if it isn't in the title or subtext and then I could use it more often in the Italy regional monthly cookoffs!

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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I'm looking for just one Marcella Hazan book to add to my already overflowing collection of cookbooks. I'm especially interested in recipes for soups, pasta (including filled), pasta sauces, risotto and breads. Which are your favorites?

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