Pasta is amazing. You can make the most simple yet delicious dish with it or go all out and create a true masterpiece. From exotically filled ravioli to a simple spaghetti with little more than oil and pepper, the possibilities are almost endless.
Using your own imagination can get you quite far when making pasta dishes, but with the help of pasta recipes and Italian cookbooks, you can enlarge your knowledge on pasta. With so many different types of pasta shapes it can get quite daunting to know exactly what type of sauce fits best and with many different techniques making fresh pasta by hand, there is more than enough to learn on this subject.
This guide will help you pick the best pasta cookbooks to add to your collection. The guide features five different cookbooks that focus on pasta and the Italian cuisine.
Sauces and Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way Review
Where some cookbooks are perfect for quickly grabbing a delicious recipe, Sauces and Shapes by De Vita and Fant is quite different. While the book hosts over 150 different recipes for tasty pasta dishes, this isn’t the main focus of the book in my opinion.
The book will help you choose the right shapes of pasta for various sauces. You will learn the way shapes of pasta influence the way you experience the pasta and the sauce altogether, and this might be the one of the most valuable lessons this book presents to its readers.
Not only does the book show you the ideas that Italians have about cooking, but the philosophy of different ingredients will help you perfect your cooking; and not only in the Italian cuisine. The lessons learnt from this book can be used outside the Italian cuisine as well, and for many people this will change the way they look at cooking.
Most of the recipes that you will find in the book are quite simple and can be compared to so-called “peasant” dishes. This is one of the reasons that make this book such a treasure, as the book slowly shows you that even the simplest dishes and the right use of ingredients can help define a dish. It will help you conjure up delicious sauces with the simplest of ingredients, accompanied by various tips for those that want to use more “high-end” ingredients.
If you are looking for a book that does more than help you make delicious pasta dishes and want to dive into the true Italian cuisine, adding Sauces and Shapes to your library of cookbooks will help you achieve this.
While the book goes into some detail on how to make homemade pasta, this isn’t the perfect book if that is what you want to learn. However, if you are looking for a new mindset that you can employ in the kitchen, be kind to yourself and add this to your library.
For more information and the opinions of others, feel free to read more on Amazon.
Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Homemade Pasta Review
If you want to dive into the world of making homemade fresh pasta, this is your best pick when looking for the perfect book on pasta. This book isn’t just a simple guide to making fresh pasta, it is so much more.
The author, Marc Vetri, explains the world of pasta so clearly that one might almost deem the book scientific. However, reading the book clearly shows that there is no perfect way of preparing pasta and there isn’t one type of pasta flour that is perfect. He helps you understand the various ways that flour play a critical role in the taste of your pasta dishes. With the help of perfect step-by-step images of how to knead and mix, this book brings making fresh pasta many steps closer for newcomers.
Mastering Pasta starts at the very beginning of pasta; the history of pasta. This gives you a good look at the ways that Italians treat their cuisine and helps you understand the reasons why the Italian cuisine differs from so many others. Followed up by the first step of making pasta, the flour, it doesn’t just give you scientific insights about making fresh pasta, but also helps you expand your knowledge on flour in general.
The book hosts various classic recipes that can be deemed as classics that every pasta-beginner should know, Vetri shows enough recipes that will be welcomed by most Italian chefs. Accompanied by beautiful photographs of the dishes that will make your tastebuds tingle, Mastering Pasta is a pasta book that honors the Italian cuisine.
While Vetri shows such a high amount of expertise on pasta, it quickly becomes clear that experimenting with pasta and flour is one of the things he encourages the most. The book doesn’t show the one perfect pasta flour or technique, and that is what makes this book special.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of making fresh pasta, this is the best choice that you can make. Vetri starts at the very beginning and throughout the book he takes you to the end; applying your knowledge and helping you make the dishes that can be found in high end restaurants.
Mastering Pasta can be found on Amazon, together with multiple reviews that give you more insight on whether this book is the right pick for you.
Flour + Water = Pasta Review
Where some books on pasta slowly guide you through the basics, this book by chef Thomas McNaughton skips most of these steps and takes you on a trip through various high end recipes.
It quickly becomes clear that Flour + Water isn’t suited for those that want to learn the basics and steadily learn more. While the book features some basic recipes that every Italian nonna knows, the book is filled with recipes that you would find in expensive restaurants. Most of the recipes in Flour + Water aren’t meant for quickly whipping up a meal, but rather require attention and preparation.
Some might find the recipes in the book a little intimidating, but the precision that McNaughton describes the recipes step-by-step quickly reveal that careful reading will get you far. This is where Flour + Water is different from Vetri’s writing style: the recipes are very clear and there is little to no mentioning of experimenting with the dishes.
All the photographs that portrait McNaughton’s dishes are done beautifully, and it will help you when recreating the dish. The recipes in this book aren’t just about taste but about presentation as well. McNaughton’s background as a chef of the restaurant “flour + water” can clearly be found in the way the book explains the recipes.
The book goes into some detail about making fresh pasta and while the basics get explained quite well, it isn’t the focus of the book. The recipes in this book require time and are perfect for surprising friends and family with culinary pasta delights.
McNaughton’s “Flour + Water = Pasta” isn’t a book for everyone. If you are starting out your pasta adventure, this isn’t the perfect place to start. “Mastering Pasta” and “Pasta by Hand” might be a better start, definitely if you want to start making your own homemade pasta.
Not yet sure whether this book is the perfect pick for you? Read the reviews of all kinds of people, from chefs to home cook's here on Amazon.
Pasta by Hand Review
If you aren’t the proud owner of a pasta maker yet, this book will help you get the most out of making fresh homemade pasta. Pasta makers make the process of making pasta a lot easier, but you can’t do everything with them. Chef Jenn Louis guides you through the different types of pasta shapes that you can make by hand, with the help of simple tools such as forks, knives and your hands.
Chef Jenn Louis will guide you through various techniques that can be used to create all kinds of different shapes. The book doesn’t focus on the longer types of pasta out there, but mainly shows you the ways to make pasta dumplings such as orecchiette, cavatelli and tortellini. “Pasta by Hand” is very accessible as you barely need any equipment and that is also where a big part of its strength lies.
The book has a very low entry barrier as the subject-matter is very easy to comprehend and implement. Besides teaching you the basics of making pasta by hand, this book will help you be able to make pasta anywhere; be it at a friends’ place or when you are on holiday.
While you won’t learn how to make spaghetti, ravioli or extruded pasta in this book, you will learn to make pasta at its very basics - and with this knowledge you can easily expand your knowledge on pasta.
Should you buy this book? If you are just starting out with the craft that is homemade pasta, this is a great way to start your journey. If you more knowledgeable on the subject and wish to expand the ways that you can use pasta to make beautiful dishes than “Flour + Water = Pasta” might be a better pick.