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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She knows her onions - and everything else
If you're thinking about buying this book, just buy it. I can't say enough good things about it. Since my husband purchased it a few years ago, we've made several dishes from it and each one has been great. It contains a very generous number of recipes, so it's incredibly good value. It has all the old Italian classics - including the last word in ragù - plus...
Published 18 months ago by LittleChaffinch

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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not always easy to measure out
I would agree with most other reviewers as to the scope of this magnum opus. My main quibble is with her choice of measurements. Many ingredients are given as tablespoons. This may be fine for liquids, or fine solids like flour, but are these level or rounded or what? However for chopped celery? grated Parmesan? The quantity involved here could vary enormously. It would...
Published on 9 Nov 2011 by Actinia


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She knows her onions - and everything else, 3 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hardcover)
If you're thinking about buying this book, just buy it. I can't say enough good things about it. Since my husband purchased it a few years ago, we've made several dishes from it and each one has been great. It contains a very generous number of recipes, so it's incredibly good value. It has all the old Italian classics - including the last word in ragù - plus lots of lesser-known (but nevertheless delicious) Italian dishes, such as the intriguing stuffed spaghetti frittata. It has antipasti, meat, fish, pasta, bread, pizza, vegetables, risottos, soups, sauces, salads, desserts - basically everything your little heart (and tummy) could possibly desire. It's also full of invaluable advice about equipment, produce and technique.

Signora Hazan (I'd feel a bit disrespectful calling her Marcella, even though that's how she's always been fondly referred to in this house - but don't tell her!) has an instructive, authoritative tone, and she certainly doesn't stand for any nonsense. The key thing for me is that she explains why you should or should not do things in a certain way. Like all great teachers, she wants to take the mystery out of it for you; she wants you to get it right. I'm not a very knowledgeable or experienced cook (to give you an idea, before I got this book I used to make bolognese with, among other horrors*, a stock cube) but I find this book easy to follow and I'm never disappointed with the results. It's not that the recipes are easy in themselves (some are, some aren't) - it's more that she explains things so well that you really can't go wrong. So you feel safe attempting things that are quite ambitious.

I find this book refreshing because it's all about the food. Mrs H succeeds in letting you in on the culinary secrets of the ultimate Italian mamma, without ever resorting to smugly showing off expensive marble work-surfaces or pretending to host a dinner party for a bunch of conveniently photogenic hipsters. (She's 90 - she's way too cool for that sort of nonsense.) This is definitely not one of those cookbooks filled with glossy, high-resolution images interspersed with a few lightweight recipes - so if you buy cookbooks to look at the pictures, this probably isn't the book for you. In fact, there are no photos in it at all. The writing style is very descriptive but, where necessary, there are also hand-drawn illustrations to guide you.

We have bought this book for three other people we know, which I think is a pretty good recommendation in itself.

And last weekend I cooked dinner for my brother and his wife, using recipes from this book. Afterwards, my sister-in-law (herself an excellent cook) said to me, "it's funny - I've known you all these years and I never knew you were such a great cook". I just followed the recipes, the credit is due in its entirety to Marcella - I mean, Mrs Hazan!

*if you must know, other things I have in the past put in my 'bolognese' include: mushrooms, tomato purée, garlic, red wine, peppers, brown sauce, various dried herbs - the more being the merrier, Worcestershire sauce, gravy granules (no, I don't know why either...) and kidney beans. Probably sometimes all at once. Somewhat surprisingly, the end result was always quite tasty (probably because it contained so many different flavour enhancers) but whatever it was it wasn't bolognese. Sorry Mrs H...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so far, so good, 11 May 2013
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Not used it extensively but I will say it's the first book that has had a carbonara recipe that really, really worked. Done a couple of other recipes from it, all rock solid as far as the instructions go and very, very tasty.
Does help I'm in Italy at the mo. using Italian produce, makes such a difference.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly essential cookbook, 22 Mar 2013
By 
Katharina (Doylestown, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hardcover)
I absolutely love this cookbook, it is traditional italian cooking at its best. Most of my cookbooks stay on the shelf but this gets used all the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic, 12 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hardcover)
I paid the full price for this in a high street bookshop and don't begrudge a penny of the expenditure. The recipes are deceptively simple - no esoteric ingredients, most will be in the fridge already, or easily obtained - and they don't take too long to cook. I have already cooked a lot of the dishes and in every case they have been absolutely delicious. Marcella describes how to make fillets from chicken breasts and points out that they can be used in many of the veal recipes. The pasta sauces are a refreshing change from the normal and remind us that vegetables, rather than just tomatoes, can be cooked down to a fabulous coating for pasta. Her recipes using courgettes made me hope for a glut in the veg patch!
For me, the lack of photographs is a delight as I prefer words and drawings, rather than photos of the chef and their friends/family, or stylized food photography.
If you aren't sure about this book because it seems too plain, I would urge you to copy out a recipe and cook it before deciding whether to send it back, as the proof really is in the eating! Personally I expect to be cooking from this book forever and it has joined the ranks of my Jane Grigson and Elizabeth David books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Italian Cookery Bible, 11 Nov 2013
By 
Alison Towers - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This is the one must have Italian Cook book. I have had it in hardback for a while now, and it is getting very dogeared and mucky, covered in various ingredients that got transferred off my hands in use, so I now have it on Kindle, and can display pages in huge print on my laptop I can see clear across the kitchen now. It explains all the basic of Italian cookery and has the standard recipes you need. You're in the hands of the master when working with this tome, and if you love Italian food, then you just can't be without this book on your shelves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Italian Food, 31 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hardcover)
The only Italian cookbook you will ever need. Forget the TV celebrity chefs, this is the real deal. Marcella Hazan's Bolognese sauce takes hours of slow cooking, is easy to make and is as authentic as it gets. I tripled the recipe and froze it in portions. Good stuff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab book, 19 Dec 2012
My auntie who is married to an Italian recommended this book to me and said it was one of the best books she has. I now know why! She said all the recipes she has done have never failed her. The bolognese is the best I've ever done and she has lots of information regarding all of the essentials for cooking. No pictures but this is not needed as the instructions are so good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice addition to my Italian cookbook collection., 11 July 2014
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Another "must have", which I think is higher rated in the US than elsewhere. It is indeed very comprehensive and the recipes taste very nice. But I do have one complaint: all the dishes have been translated into American terms such as x pasta with y sauce. Can I have the Italian names, please? I understand at the time when this book was first published, not many Americans know much about authentic Italian cooking. But it is a bit annoying when you are trying to search more about a dish but do not have the Italian name to reference to. Just like "silver spoon", this book is more recipe-oriented. To know more about the Italian food culture, Claudia Roden and Elizabeth David's books are better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 13 May 2014
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A well- written and informative overview of modern Italian cooking, making the most of good ingredients. Helping me to up the game!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful Italian Cookery bock., 10 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hardcover)
We dined with friends on a meal cooked using a recipy
from this book. It was excellent.

We bought this, our own copy of this book for use in our kitchen.

We are delighted with it..
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The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan (Hardcover - 3 Jun 2011)
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