I'll admit it. I love pasta. So I was pretty excited to get my hands on Mastering Pasta by Marc Vetri. The tagline is "The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto."
Well, okay then.
The book delivered everything I expected, and more. Along with the usual suspects - ravioli, spaghetti, and gnocchi - there are types of pasta that I never heard of before. Rotolo, for example, is filled and rolled like a jellyroll, and then sliced and baked. An egg yolk goes in the middle and it's baked just a little longer, until the egg is cooked but still runny. It sounds amazing, and the photos made me even more intrigued.
Another pasta starts with a batter that's cooked like a crepe and then cut and boiled. I never would have thought of it.
Or how about this: Gnocchi made with cabbage. Have you ever???
The cabbage gnocchi is on the short list for recipes I need to make, for sure. It might be the first one I make, actually. It's familiar and unusual at the same time.
And then we come to the risotto recipes. How about a tomato risotto? That sounds divine.
There are also more familiar pastas, like standard semolina pasta and egg pasta. There are instructions for making cut pastas, extruded pastas, filled pastas and formed pastas. Pretty much any kind of pasta you can imagine. The farfalle look like they'd be easy and impressive, while some of the other folded, formed, and filled pastas look like they'd take a bit more practice.
When it comes to filled pastas, there are these crazy things called Doppio Ravioli that are like double ravioli, filled side-by-side in long strips. That's cool to begin with, but these twinned ravioli are filled with two compatible fillings.
Wow. That would be impressive for dinner, right?
It's not just about the pasta dough, though. There are recipes for fillings and sauces as well, so each recipe is a complete dish. And then there are suggested pasta variations for most of them, so you know you can use penne instead of maltagliati with a particular sauce.
And did I mention flavored pasta? Yup, there are pastas with added herbs and flavorings, too, with helpful hints if you want to try your own flavors.
So, in short, this isn't just about how to cook pasta dishes. And it's not just about making noodles. It's a comprehensive book that'll get you making fresh pasta for dinner from start to finish.
Oh, but it gets better than that. Because of a glitch in the shipping system, I got not one, but two copies of the book, and the publisher doesn't want the extra back. So I'm giving my extra copy away. I will pay for priority mail shipping; I'm not responsible for mis-delivered mail or clumsy handling en route.