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The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles Paperback – September 17, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Americans love pasta. But this doesn't mean we know about its many types, how best to serve it, or even how best to bring it from plate to mouth. Exploring these topics and more, The Cook's Illustrated Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles offers a comprehensive introduction to the world's pasta, from spaghetti, couscous, and spaetzle to ramen, udon, rice sticks, and more. Compiled from the pages of Cook's Illustrated, the magazine of culinary investigation, the book is a trove of illustrated step-by-step instructions (on rolling pasta dough, for example), hundreds of pasta and related recipes, tips on buying and storage, and other useful data. In chapters such as "Dried Semolina Pasta and Chinese Wheat Noodles," the book explores a particular pasta type and then provides useful supplementary information. Included, for example, are pasta-tasting results, a "gallery" of pasta shapes, and material on matching pasta shapes to sauces. Offered also are comprehensive saucing chapters that cover such pasta accompaniments as olive oil, butter, cheese, bread crumbs, canned and fresh tomatoes, and seafood, among many others. The recipes themselves are exhaustive and, as one might expect, models of accuracy and good taste. Included are the likes of Macaroni with Spinach and Gorgonzola, Lasagna with Shrimps and Scallops, Potato Gnocchi with Butter, Sage, and Parmesan Cheese, and Cellophane Noodle Salad with Charred Beef and Snow Peas. With master recipes for many of the basic pasta types and more than 300 illustrations, the book should enlighten pasta lovers while whetting their appetite for its many satisfactions. --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Hot on the heels of a James Beard Award for The Cook's Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry comes this encyclopedic guide to pasta and noodles. While not quite as inspired as the poultry book, this effort is nevertheless a most welcome entryAeven a daring one in these days when carbs are the bad boys of the food world. The recipes are for the most part simplicity itself and, although many of the dishes are familiar Italian classics, are varied enough to merit an enthusiastic response. Such fare as Linguine with Lemon-Dill Pesto and Penne with Ricotta Salata and Black Olives are suitable for side dishes. Fettuccine with Bolognese Sauce with Beef, Pancetta and Red Wine appealingly enriches an already flavorful sauce. There are 15 sauces made with raw tomatoes, eight with cooked fresh tomatoes and 16 with canned tomatoes. Macaroni and Pinto Bean Soup with Mussels and Rosemary is certain to please, and undertaking a variety of fresh pasta with or without eggs is less intimidating when guided by the team's customary step-by-step methods. The book truly distinguishes itself with its attention to foods not always found in pasta roundups, such as crespelle (the Italian version of the French crepe) and spatzle. Even better are recipes for Chinese wheat noodles (Stir-Fried Chinese Noodles with Chicken in Szechwan Chile Sauce), Japanese wheat noodles (Ramen Noodles with Roast Pork and Spinach), Asian rice noodles (Rice Paper Spring Rolls with Rice Noodles and Shrimp) and cellophane noodles (Cellophane Noodle Salad with Charred Beef and Snow Peas). These are splendid additions to any pasta repertoire. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; Reprint edition (September 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 060980930X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609809303
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Derek on October 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Much like the other bad reviews of this book (I didn't read the reviews close enough BEFORE buying), this book has very little information on making pasta.

The book focuses on the Italian noodles and associated sauces. I bought the book thinking "The Complete Book of Pasta and Sauces" with chapter titles of "Couscous", "Chinese Wheat Noodles", "Japanese Wheat Noodles", "Rice Noodles", "Cellophane Noodles", and "Soba Noodles" would describe how to make them. It does not. It only tells you how to take store bought versions and combine with a sauce.

The book focuses on sauces, and pairing pasta with the sauces.
Here is the basic list of pasta in the book:
'Chapter 3: Fresh Egg Pasta (and variations):
Spinach Pasta, Fresh Herb Pasta, Buckwheat Pasta, Whole Wheat Pasta, Corn Pasta, Beet Pasta, Saffron Pasta, Tomato Pasta, Black Pepper Pasta
' Chapter 4: Fresh Pasta without Eggs:
Fresh Semolina Pasta, Fresh Whole Wheat Pasta
' Chapter 22 & 23 : Miscellaneous Baked Fresh Pasta Dishes:
Crespelle, Canneloni, Ravioli (i.e. fresh egg pasta wrapped around something)
' Chapter 24: Gnocchi
' Chapter 25: Spätzle

I have enjoyed many other Cooks Illustrated books, but the title and description for this particular book is incorrect. If you are looking for pasta sauces, this book may be OK. If you (like me) are looking to make pasta other than egg pasta, this book is horrible. Even on the back cover, it claims "Step-by-step, easy-to-follow instruction on making fresh pasta and noodles, including gnocchi and couscous". The only 'recipe' I could find in the book for making couscous was to buy a premade-box of couscous and put into boiling water. This is not 'making couscous'.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles' by the Editors of `Cooks Illustrated' Magazine is one of those books whose outstanding value is obvious almost immediately upon opening to the Table of Contents. This was surprising to me, as this is not the case with most other `Cooks Illustrated' books. There is just something about the meeting of this subject with the classic `Cooks Illustrated' approach to things which comes up a winner.

The first positive impression is the excellent organization of the chapters into different types of pastas, noodles, and sauces for same. While there are many excellent books about on pasta dishes, most especially `The Top100 Best Pasta Sauces' by Diane Seed and just about any book by Marcella Hazan, Lidia Bastianich, or Ruth Rodgers and Rose Gray of London's River Café, this `Cooks Illustrated' volume organizes our thinking about the sauces to make us all much better at improvising our own pasta sauces. It divides pasta sauces into:

Olive Oil based sauces, both cooked and uncooked.

Pesto and other pureed sauces.

Butter and Cheese sauces, such as spaghetti alla Carbonara

Cream Sauces, such as Fettuccine Alfredo

Sauces with Bread Crumbs

Cooked Sauces with Fresh Tomatoes

Canned Tomato Sauces, such as Pasta Puttanesca and Vodka Cream sauce

Sauces with Vegetables, such as `cabbage and noodles' and `pasta Primavera'

Sauces with Beans and Lentils

Sauces with Meat, such as the classic Bolognese sauce

Sauces with Seafood, such as clam and other shellfish sauces.
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By A Customer on August 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid cook and, while I no longer subscribe to "Cooks Illustrated" magazine, I respect editor Christopher Kimball and his expert "Cook's Illustrated" kitchen crew and have had good luck, more or less, with their recipes which, if followed exactly, are virtually foolproof. I also never fail to learn something from their informative kitchen commentary. All in all, Kimball's recipes and advice are beneficial to both novice and experienced cooks.
That having been I have to point out that taste is, of course, subjective. For instance, I've found, from trying a number of Kimball's recipes, that he is a salt-a-holic. I prefer to cook with little or no salt, as I find the taste harsh and unpleasant, and if I followed Kimbell's recipes exactly I'd be drowning in the stuff. I prefer pepper and tend to double or triple the often meager amounts Kimbell calls for in his recipes (usually he calls for four or fives times more salt than pepper, and I almost reverse that ratio). But, if your taste is the same as Kimball's when it comes to a particular food, his well-researched and thoroughly-tested recipes will be amazing!
I must also warn cooks that Kimball's cookbooks are books not necessarily made for cooking (odd, isn't it?). They are standard-bound hardcover editions that rarely lie flat (the latest, "The Best Recipe," is a little better than the others) and the index is dreadful--a fairly major gripe when you consider how important an index is to a cookbook when, say, you quickly want to find a recipe for "Chicken Soup" and you can't even decipher where the "Cs" start!
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