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The Geometry of Pasta Hardcover – September 15, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
“Really delicious, authentic pasta recipes”—Jamie Oliver
“Walks the line between functional cookbook and coffee-table eye candy.”—Food & Wine
“An instant classic.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The Geometry of Pasta is like no other cookbook you’ve ever seen. Mangia, mangia!”—Christian Science Monitor
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Top Customer Reviews
Part history-of-pasta and part cookbook, it begins with an overview of pastas (southern Italian peasants' plain semolina to wealthy northerners' incorporation of egg and different starches) and tomato sauces (also varying from light to rich), and the concept of matching the delicacy/sturdiness of a pasta to that of a sauce. And then comes that geometry -- the actual pairings of those shapes and sauces via a 270-page alphabetic encyclopedia of dozens and dozens of pasta shapes, including:
* A short history of each pasta (referencing climate, culture and politics/economics), for example that intricate pastas were made "when housewives had to fill long winter evenings," and the delicate and haughty pastas of the Renaissance, which "specialist nuns would make in their convents";
* A b/w graphic of its shape (see page samples near the book's cover image, above);
* In some cases, recipes for making that shape of pasta at home;
* In all cases, recipes for sauces/fillings suited to that shape;
* Suggestions for other sauces (an Index makes it easy to locate sauce recipes).
I'd expected this book to be glossy and slightly oversized, so was surprised to find it the size and construction of a hardcover novel. While that doesn't sound like a book to be taken into the kitchen and later wiped down, you'll want to do so -- it contains recipes for every level of cook, from quick sauces with a few common ingredients, to sauces involving a dozen ingredients and progressive steps that are mini-tutorials in cooking technique.Read more ›
I tested several of the recipes and for the most part, were wonderful and delicious. I still wonder why recipes like the medium tomato sauce, which clearly the author is not a fan of, were included in the book. Yet it is that honesty and casual approach to the writing I enjoyed immensely.
Although the book may appear clinical, I assure you, it is not. There is personality throughout. I for one will treasure my copy. I have been looking for a book on pasta dishes that range from the simple to the complex. It has the beautiful simple pasta recipe you associate with genius of Italian cooking, yet there are also recipes that use oxtail and rabbit for the more adventurous and bold cook. Either way, there is a lot for everyone to explore and enjoy.
There is no need for the slick photos most cookbooks are using these days. I think it's very easy to just pick the type of pasta you want, and then there are several recipes for the sauces that will go perfectly with them. Or the other way around. Its design is, likewise, simple and cool-looking. It makes me feel like I look like a serious cook, when I'm really only an amateur.
It is an interesting book in that you always expect these full-color photos of mouthwatering food and here you get all black-and-white and all drawings. Not good or bad, just different.
The recipes are mostly fairly simple but sound great. They give a basic guidance and history on pasta shapes.
My two complaints, through, are 1) the drawings were hard to figure out because they were trying to show you the pasta shape from a couple of angles. I just couldn't figure it out. I did not find it helpful in the least. Here's where a simple drawing the pasta would have helped. If you are not familiar at all with these shapes, it could be a real challenge.
And 2) the authors didn't explain a few basics upfront about pasta shape usage like ridged pasta is created to catch more of the sauce, pasta with curve and cups were created to catch ragu-type sauces (catching the meat, veggies, etc) and why Italian cooks tend to like linguine more than spaghetti for their dishes that call for long pasta (like pesto) because wider pasta has more space for the sauce to cling to (versus the roundness of spaghetti).
A good but not great cookbook.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a fun gift. We packaged it with all different kinds of pasta that had recipes in the book.Published 2 months ago by Anne Marie
The product is okay, not as new as i thought i could be, there is still a show of used mark on the bookPublished 2 months ago by jackie
Beautiful book, such a clever take on a standard recipe-style book. Well done.Published 5 months ago by JN
The best part of this book is the cover. Completely worthless interior. Absolutely nothing to do with geometry. WTF?Published 6 months ago by Paul Tucker