The Pasta Book is the 4th book in the Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube collection of books, and features Jamie’s mentor and friend Gennaro Contaldo. It includes 50 pasta recipes, and Gennaro mentions that pasta is eaten at least once a day in Italy. We usually eat pasta for our main course at lunch time when we are in Italy, but for Italians, pasta is the first course of a long meal. The book is divided into seasons as Gennaro believes that cooking benefits from following this philosophy (quoted). In Southern Italy, where Gennaro is from, pasta is made with flour and water. I make my pasta with flour and eggs and since trying his recipes, I am also using semolina.
The Pasta Book starts with my top tips which includes information on which pasta flour to use (Tipo 00), how to roll pasta and how to cook it. The useful equipment list includes a pasta machine, a butter pat and a pastry brush. The recipes start with basics and covers pasta dough (p16), oven-baked tomato sauce (p23) and classic spaghetti carbonara (p28). Spring recipes include vegetable ragù with penne (p38), ricotta, lemon & mint calurzones (p42) and courgette flowers, prawns & lemon with linguine (p50). I made the calurzones and noted that Gennaro pasta machine thinnest setting is number 1. The shapes took some practice but were fun to do and the pasta was excellent.
For summer there is Parma ham & red pepper with taglierini (p64), vegetable cappellacci (p66) and seafood spaghetti baked ‘al cartoccio’ (p68). As we were mid season when I started the review, I also made the cappellacci. I found these very easy to shape and will have to come up with my own recipe soon to share with you.
In autumn my favourite wild mushroom tagliatelle (p84) features as well as game ravioli (p86) and sausage & broccoli spaghetti (p96). Ending with winter, the comfort dish of baked cannelloni (p106) looks amazing. A big bowlful of the classic pasta & fagioli (p110) will feature in my kitchen, together with tortellini ‘in brodo’ with leftover roast meat (p114).
Gennaro says grazie mille to his stylist Jodene Jordan, and it is well deserved. Every recipe has a photograph and each one makes the dish in The Pasta Book look scrummy.
What I blogged April 13: