Monday, November 4, 2013


Ever thought about the rather casual way Americans may treat pasta and its sauces?   So often we boil spaghetti, top it with a tomato sauce seasoned with garlic, sprinkle on Parmesan  and call it Italian spaghetti.  Truth be told there’s zero resemblance between this dish and authentic Italian cuisine.  Thanks to Oretta Zanini De Vita and Maureen B. Fant here are recipes not only authoritative but accessible.  The authors reveal how Italian cooks choose the pasta shape and the most taste-tempting,  interesting sauce to go with it.  Some 150 recipes are included with wine suggestions following each recipe.

Born and raised in Bologna De Vita learned the art of pasta-making as a child at a convent school.  Well respected as an Italian culinary historian, she has penned more than forty books on Italian food and its traditions.  She currently lives in Rome.

A native of New York Maureen B. Fant is a writer and translator who moved to Rome in 1979 to pursue her interest in classical archaeology.  Today she lectures on the food of Rome and ancient Rome and writes primarily about Italian food.  So grateful to both of them!

The recipes which come from all over the Italian peninsula and islands are arranged by ingredients rather than by regions as in so many other books.   Sauces & Shapes is specifically designed for North American home cooks who will be delighted to discover the myriad choices beyond spaghetti and lasagna.  A glossary of pasta shapes and other terms is included as well as a list of online sources for ingredients.

Sauces & Shapes is complete in every way from detailed easy-to-follow recipes with do-ahead notes when pertinent to mouth-watering full page illustrations.  It would be inaccurate to refer to this book as just a cookbook while it is that but so much more - Sauces & Shapes is also  rich with history, tradition and love.


- Gail Cooke

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