I have just recently become a fan of Anna Del Conte and I have heard great reviews of this book. I bought this book second hand off Amazon as in Australia there would be no chance of finding this book in a second hand bookstore. Added to this, this book and many of Anna's books are out of print worldwide which I think is such a shame (this book needs to be available to everyone!)
I am so glad that I purchased this book. As stated by Nigella Lawson, Portrait of Pasta is "the book that actually changed the way the English thought about Italian cooking at a time when you could buy olive oil only in Soho or at Timothy White's, and the instrumental force in leading us beyond the land of spag bol, macaroni cheese and tinned ravioli",
There are loads of great pasta recipes in this book, as well as the detailed history of pasta!
As you can expect from Anna, the book is well organised and the recipes are just wonderful, are truely Italian and actually work(something that you expect to be a given when you spend $30 - $55 on a cookbook but is quite often not the case with cookery books these days!)
It starts with the basics - how to make your own fresh pasta the Italian way, how to cook pasta correctly, as well explaining the many different types of pasta (good for me as I am unfamilar with many of the more uncommon ones) and which pasta suits a particular type of sauce/meat etc.
Following this, there are many great recipes on sauces, recipes from the past, modern recipes (modern in 1976 at least!) and regional recipes. These are not your typical English/American/Australian/etc versions of 'Italian' pasta dishes either.
So if you see second hand copies of this book, do buy it as copies of any of Anna's books are not easy to come by!