on September 5, 2004
There are few cookbooks that are as universally useful as this one. While the subject matter (pasta sauces) is limited, the situations in which you can use these recipes is almost limitless. The book contains simple recipes that make me think that my mom was slacking when she fed us bottled sauce when I was a child. And you can find elegant recipes that use unusual ingredients in imaginative ways. Best of all, you'll love this book if you're a budget-constained novice (like my recent college-grad brother to whom I gave this book - many of the recipes are neither expensive nor difficult) or an accomplished cook, especially in Italian cooking, looking for new ways to prepare pasta. Regardless of your situation, you can find a good recipe in this book. Frankly, this book is indispensible if you want to cook interesting pasta. My copy is so stained from the many sauces that I've cooked that I have an extra "clean" copy that I'm saving for posterity.
I have cooked recipes from this book for my Italian colleagues who were universally impressed by the results. And, quite honestly, I'm not sure if my wife would have married me if I hadn't delved into this book. The first time that I cooked "Spicy mixed peppers with basil and parmesan" was an unqualified success.
This book contains over 100 great recipes for pasta sauces, but if you want suggestions for some specific ones (the type for which you'd bend a corner of a page if you were to give the book as a gift) try (page numbers refer to the hardback version):
1) Chopped broccoli puree with garlic (pg. 65)
2) Blanched broccoli with spicy black olive vinaigrette (pg. 67)
3) Aglio e olio (a great garlic and olive oil recipe) (pg. 148)
4) Pasta alla puttanesca (pg. 290)
5) Pasta arrabbiata (pg. 296)
Sauces to impress
1) Golden Cauiflower in Spicy Tomato Sauce (pg. 101)
2) Sauteed endive with bell peppers, shallots and white wine (pg. 124)
3) Carmelized vidalia onions with black olives and rosemary (pg. 152)
4) Steamed green beans with double mushroom sauce (pg. 164)
5) Spicy mixed peppers with basil and parmesan (pg. 234)
6) Roasted red pepper sauce (pg. 238)
7) Roasted new potatoes with herbs, garlic and balsamic vinegar (pg. 248)
8) Spinach in tomato sauce with shallots and carrots (pg. 263)
9) Slow-cooked zucchini with tomato sauce (pg. 312)
Of course, almost anything else from the book is worth trying as well. These are just some recipes to start. Overall, this book is fantastic. I use it at least twice a week, and the inspiration that it has provided is even more pervasive. Grazie, Jack Bishop!
on November 15, 2001
every recipe i've tried so far (at least 25 percent) is a winner.
every recipe is for four servings from one lb. of pasta, extremely convenient and very easy to reduce by half for a couple
another great feature is the layout, by main vegetable ingredient which makes it easy to use according to what's seasonal.
i was a chef for 10 yrs. & have been a vegetarian for 12 yrs. now and have never gotten this much use out of a cookbook before
This is one of the very best cookbooks I have ever used! Out of 75+ cookbooks I own, this one gets used repeatedly. The sauces are delicious, and for the most part, very easy to prepare. The recipes are so simple to follow that I prepare most of the sauces from memory now, and it should take only 2 or 3 preparations before you can do these sauces by heart. With a few exceptions, the ingredients are all pretty commonplace. There is almost nothing in your garden that cannot be used in one of these sauces.
This is just a great cookbook in all respects!
on April 4, 2002
Every recipe that we've tried from this book has been a success -- simple, fast and tasty dinners. The organization, by primary ingredient, is outstanding. We can select a recipe by whatever we have on hand, whatever is in season or whatever is on sale. Most recipies have only a few ingredients and none more exotic than fresh basil or shallots. Seasonings are limited also -- mostly just salt and black pepper with the occasional crushed red pepper. Preparation time is rarely more than 30 to 45 minutes. Start heating the water at the same time that you start to prepare the sauce and generally both the pasta and the sauce will be ready at the same time.
As other reviewers have suggested, we use less pasta than the one pound called for in each recipe.
I'd like to add that I appreciate the imagination that Mr. Bishop demonstrates in creating pasta sauces based on ingredients I wouldn't have thought of, like greens or beets, and the way that he has combined them so wonderfully in each of these recipes.
on August 14, 2000
This Recipe book is one of the best in my collect of cookbooks. It is such an easy to use book. What I love about this book, is that each chapter is about a vegetable. So if I have alot of eggplant and want to know what to do with it, all I have to do is go to that chapter. Excellent book Great gift
on November 15, 2001
This book is GREAT! It is organized by vegetable. So, in the summer, when you have more fennel (or broccoli, or radiccio, or whatever) than you know what to do with, pick up this book. Also, the ingredient lists are short, so you won't be running to the store looking for some obscure ingredient. And, finally, everything can be made from prep to table, in about 30 minutes.
on June 22, 2000
I love pasta and eat a lot of it, but I was beginning to feel like I just couldn't face any more tomatoes. Fortunately, this book shows you how to use other vegetables in making healthy, tasty pasta sauces. Most of the vegetables in the recipes are ones that are readily available, and the sauces I've tried are very simple to make and absolutely delicious.
on September 12, 1999
In my collection of nearly 100 cookbooks, this is the one I reach for when I get home from work and want a satisfying, simple, healthy dinner. The recipes are easy to follow, require normal groceries, and produce tasty dishes in about an hour.
on August 11, 2001
I love this cookbook! Before buying this book I had hit a slump with pasta - just couldn't take the same old sauces and even the spur of the moment sauses I'd make up based on what I had on hand were getting a bit old. This cookbook has such a wide variety and because it is organized by vegeatble you can easily find a recipe that fits what you're looking for. I'm a fan on dandelion greens (from my italian grandmother's influence) and there's even a recipe in here for Dandelion Greens with lemon oil and toasted pine nuts. I'm going to try that out as soon as I see dandelions in the grocery store again. Actually I must say, the whole chapter on greens is pretty interesting (and tasty) I had never thought of pairing them up with pasta before. I love this book! Its really fun and the recipes are good.
on June 10, 2007
Outstanding book!! Simple and approachable. The most used cookbook in kitchen...Some recipes can be combined to add dimension and complexity. (Of course, as an omnivore, all recipes can be improved with a little pancetta, prosciutto or sausage, not to mention a splash of wine). Huge fan of Jack Bishop!
ps. why buy paperback? Esp. when the hardbacks are nicer and more durable...as well as cheaper!!