Mastering Pasta

Mastering Pasta – Marc Vetri with David Joachim – Ten Speed Press – Published 17 March 2015



Opening with a brief tour of pasta-making in Italy, then moving on to the details of making pasta at home, Mastering Pasta explains exactly how to build doughs from scratch, craft a variety of pasta shapes, then pair them with the ideal sauces and condiments for spectacular finished dishes. This comprehensive guide from a recognized expert is packed with special features, including opinionated sidebars on frequently asked questions (Should pasta always be cooked al dente? To cheese or not to cheese?) as well as advanced preparation and storage notes. Covering all the pasta basics along with risotto, gnocchi, and crespelle, Vetri delves deep into food science and revels the secrets of the very best pasta. For cooks who want to take their pasta-making to the next level, this complete handbook is destined to become a must-have resource.

My thoughts

There is not much I love to eat more than pasta.

Making it is a little more daunting, however. But if you are thinking about taking that first scary step towards strands (or curls or twists or folds) of homemade pasta goodness or merely need some inspiration for your journey, then this is the book for you.

A short introduction outlines the author’s feelings about pasta, augmented with the first two chapters on Italian cuisine tradition and the basics of wheat, respectively. These chapters included possibly more information that I wanted to know but it is certainly interesting and there if you want it. I was keen to learn about how flour is described and what those words actually mean, something I’ve not fully grasped before.

 And then the serious business of pasta making begins.

 There is a chapter each on fresh pasta, baked sheet pasta, ravioli and stuffed pasta, extruded and dried pasta, flavoured pasta, hand-formed pasta, gnocchi and risotto. (Hungry yet?). Each chapter gives an introduction to the type of pasta, outlines ingredients and provides a basic dough recipe, with detailed instructions, equipment requirements and images of finished products and each step in the shaping processes. The basic dough recipes for each chapter are expanded upon to include various flavours, varieties and shapes. For example, by switching a few ingredients, the basic fresh pasta dough easily becomes egg yolk and bread flour dough or corzetti dough, and basic semolina dough can become red wine semolina dough or sweet pea semolina dough. Each chapter also includes a whole range of complete recipes. The recipes feel like they came straight from a professional kitchen – and range from the more familiar spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce to the downright scary pig’s foot ravioli with fennel pollen. But don’t worry, there are plenty of recipes that fit between that wide span to suit everyone’s taste buds.

Photographs are abundant in this book. They are beautiful, but also relevant. Lumps of golden dough, green tangles of floury strands and plump globes of gnocchi swimming in glistening sauce. The index and contents pages are truly extensive, which I love and make working through this book a breeze. I had serious carb cravings every time I flicked through this book. But don’t worry, there are plenty of recipes to fulfil all your pasta dreams. This is a pasta book that will supply you with endless inspiration. It is a book I am going to enjoy taking my time to work through, enjoying the basics and working my way up to the harder techniques and recipes.

The publisher provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

More information

Category: Non Fiction

 Genre: Cookbook.

 Themes: Cooking. Food. Pasta. Italian Cuisine.

Published: 17 March 2015 by Ten Speed Press

Format: Hardcover, ebook. 272 pages.

Author website: Marc Vetri

Find it on Goodreads

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