28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Taught me to cook Italian. Taught me to cook, period.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hardcover)
This book is wonderful. The recipes are easy to follow and never fail. Marcella is very opinionated about ingredients and you know, she's probably right: canned tomatoes from italy are better than canned tomatoes from America. They are better than anything but the sweetest ripest off the vine plum tomatoes you can only get a few weeks a year by growing your own. Her recipes aren't full of gimmicks, and short cuts that sacrifice flavor. They are often labor intensive or require more than twenty minutes of cooking time. But they work and are often an absolute revelation in taste. As someone else mentioned, the tomato/butter and onion sauce is to die for good and unbelievably simple.
The best thing is the way success with these recipes has built my confidence. You can start off with a simple pasta sauce and work toward making your own pasta, pizza and other more complicated recipes. After success at making homemade gnocci with a simple sauce, I was inspired to move on. I have used ingredients I never would have touched in the past (anchovies??, Chestnuts??? and prosciutto??) and have gotten over my worry that if it took longer than 20 minutes to make that it wasn't worth the hassle. Good food is worth the hassle. And also there's the fact that so many of her recipes use staple ingredients that after you're familiar with the Essentials of Italian Cooking, you will always have around.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn to cook, but is unsure of where to begin. I would also highly recommend this book for gardeners since so many of the recipes are built around seasonal veggies like zucchini, tomato, eggplant, basil and greens you'll never again give your surplus zukes to the neighbors!