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Marcella Says...: Italian Cooking Wisdom from the Legendary Teacher's Master Classes, with 120 of Her Irresistible New Recipes Hardcover – October 5, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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  • Marcella Says...: Italian Cooking Wisdom from the Legendary Teacher's Master Classes, with 120 of Her Irresistible New Recipes
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"I cook for flavor," says Italian cooking authority Marcella Hazan in Marcella Says..., a gathering of her culinary wisdom with 120 recipes. "Like truth, [flavor] needs no embellishment." Fans of Hazan's marvelous cookbooks, including Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and Marcella Cucina, will recognize in this declaration her credo--that food is best when it tastes fully of itself. To help readers achieve this result, Marcella Says... includes a "master-class" chapter that culls a lifetime of Hazan's cooking smarts, presented in the likes of "When Is it Done" (cook vegetables all the way to tenderness, she advises); "How to Cook a Pasta Sauce" (use a saucepan for long-simmering sauces, a skillet for the rapid reduction fresh sauces require); and "Herbs, Garlic, Spices, Salt, and the Pursuit of Flavor" (herbs and condiments never compensate for undersalting).

These explorations are the heart of the book, but Hazan also supplies typically attractive, easily accomplished recipes, such as Rapini and Butternut Squash Soup, Spaghetti "Rotolo" with Zucchini and Bacon, Fish Fillets Marinated and Baked with Lemon and Thyme, and Bread Pudding with Chocolate and Apples--all written with her characteristic attention to detail. Her formulas also offer asides to help readers with technical and other matters. And, of course, there is Hazan's voice, her writerly acumen. This isn't icing on the cake, but a matter of making what is understood by the author best understood by her readers. Recipes aside, Hazan's graceful thoroughness is why her cookbooks are so beloved--and so often consulted--by cooks of all caliber. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Hazan, the woman credited with teaching Americans that there's more to Italian cooking than spaghetti and meatballs, models her sixth book on her renowned cooking courses. Thus, as readers progress through this work, they'll feel Hazan's censorious presence as they wonder, for example, if they can skip blanching and proceed directly to sautéing rapini, but they'll learn a lot if they can overlook her occasionally blunt manner ("The unbalanced use of garlic is the single greatest cause of failure in would-be Italian cooking"). Hazan gives loads of practical instructions and dozens of fantastic recipes concentrating on insaporire, the act of developing "the flavor of a single or several ingredients." Indeed, insaporire is the focus of many lessons, whether it's making the perfect Italian broth—subtler than stock, yet elegant and versatile—or matching pasta shapes to sauces. Nearly the first hundred pages consist of information-packed paragraphs deriving from Hazan's classes, where she haughtily but knowingly details techniques and ingredients. Next come the recipes, a tasty array of antipasti, pasta sauces, homemade pasta, fish, meat and vegetables. Throughout, readers will find useful notes—"Marcella Says"—in which the famous teacher gives hands-on advice.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (October 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066209676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066209678
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have one Italian cookbook or a hundred, you still need this book!

It belongs to an elite class of cookbooks which explain how and why techniques we have seen on dozens of `Molto Mario' and `Naked Chef' and `Ciao Italia' shows for years, and explains them in terms which are easy to understand, practical to apply to new recipes, and make it easier to successfully improvise in cooking.

Marcella Hazan has long been the first among the leading writer / educators of general Italian cuisine such as Lydia Bastianich and Giuliano Bugialli plus the great regional specialists such as Lynn Rosetto Kaspar and baking specialists such as Carole Field. And, she has been doing it for close to 30 years, long before the current crop of excellent advocates of genuine regional Italian cooking.

This legion of writers have produced mountains of books on the cooking of great Italian restaurants, whole mountain ranges of books on cooking from the various regions of Italy, both individually and collectively, and whole libraries of great books on Italian influenced cuisine from transplanted Italiophiles such as Jamie Oliver and Rose Gray and Ruth Rodgers. And yet, very few of these books have explained much of Italian cooking with an analytical eye honed by decades of practice. The only book on cooking which comes close to this enormously revealing work is Paul Bertolli's book `Cooking by Hand'. And, even this excellent book suffers in comparison in that it overlays common sense techniques with the obsessions of a professional chef which a home cook will typically find much to extreme to embrace with an equal vigor.

This, Ms.
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Format: Hardcover
I pre-ordered this book based on how much I enjoyed two of her other books, not only to cook from, but to read cover to cover like a novel. I have cooked several recipes from it already to great acclaim from my discriminating family. I am about half way through reading it and can't wait to get back to it...so this will be a short review. Bravo, Marcella! The recipes are well written, but not over-explained, clear without being too wordy. Be prepared to find some really interesting food ideas for making often. This book will have pride of place in my kitchen. My only regret is that it would have been nice to have some photos of the food included, not just line drawings.
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Marcella Says ... is the closest most home cooks will ever come to having Marcella Hazan by your side in the kitchen.

Her talent is in providing you the tips and insights -- in plain English -- how and why good Italian cooking can taste its best -- and these are techniques that can be applied to almost any type of cooking.

If you enjoy cookbook authors who have a conversational style of writing, but tell you the essentials of bringing out the flavor of ingredients that you can buy in your grocery store -- then Marcella Says is the book for you!
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I made the puree of fava beans with rapini. The recipe said simmer 1 lb rapini in 4c water. I think she meant 4 quarts. Same night, lamb shanks with savoy cabbage. "Cook the shanks about one hour or until meat falling off bones" and "serve immediately". (paraphrasing). The braising took over two hours, and tasted better the next day. When I make it again (and I will), I'll cook it a day ahead and reheat.

On the other hand, both were excellent and excellent together. I'm just going to trust my instincts about off-sounding details.
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This Summer, for my family I made Marcella's recipe for Sicilian Pesto from this book. I followed the recipe to the letter, and my family was blown away. It was so delicious, so nuanced, and surprising (you think, pesto, I know pesto. well guess again). Can't wait to try more of these recipes and have everyone think I'm a genius.
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This is a great book that explains the fundamentals of pasta making sauce making and cooking great Italian food. I also own The Silver Spoon, The Talisman Italian Cookbook by Boni, The Classic Italian Cook Book by Hazan, but Marcella Says is by far my favorite. This should be the first Italian cookbook you buy.
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This is much more than a cookbook, it is a description of how one becomes an incredible cook. I've found the best way to learn about a dish is to cook it with someone who cooks it well. What you learn is why you do things even more than how you do things. I learned a VERY valuable lesson from my mother-in-law, never add water to soup unless you use water you have just boiled for about 3 minutes, because if you add unboiling water the soup gets that watered down taste. Not so with the boiling water (something about the boiling takes the air out of the water?) why it actually works is less important. This is the kind of things you learn from this cookbook.
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I studied cooking with Marcella in Venice in 1991. What I learned from her forever changed how I approached Italian food and cooking in general. While it contains recipes, this book is more about her/her philosophy/and thoughts on cooking. Very well-written. It is a book which "contains" recipes, this book gives you more of a flavor of Marcella's opinions and tips re: cooking. When she died, I wanted to add "Marcella says..." to the other books of hers I already own.
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