The Art of Pasta
By Lucio Galletto and David Dale
Grub Street, £25
The clue to this book lies in its title. It is beautifully designed, illustrated and photographed. It is as much a work of art as a book of pasta ideas, something to enjoy looking at and owning as much as using in the kitchen.
Incredibly, I found this a distraction. I don't really care for coffee table books and really require any book that is going to remain on the shelf rather than travel to the charity shop to produce at least one, maybe even two usable recipes for the restaurant menu, alternatively to give some insight or explanation of cooking techniques that I hadn't previously grasped. Rarely is the objective inspiration through artwork or subtle lighting.
There is also a fine introductory section on making pasta with detailed sections on rolling and stretching the dough, cutting it into shapes and styles we all know, like farfalle and cannelloni, and, of course, how best to actually cook the stuff.
This is actually what makes the book worth having, along with the well written section on basic sauces. There are a couple of tomato sauces and pestos, then the ragus, from classic Bolognese to a particularly fine Sicilian meat sauce that uses veal, pork and fennel sausage, mortadella and hard boiled eggs, as well as the usual suspects of basil, wine and tomato.
Interestingly, there is a section on dried pasta. I prefer dried to fresh for many dishes. It has texture and depth that the fresh rarely manages, so I was pleased to spot a trenette and pesto combination with potato and green beans that worked well when I tried it and a fascinating linguine with orange pesto and aubergine.
So there you have it - ignore the art and use the content.
By Shaun Hill, chef-proprietor, the Walnut Tree, Llanddewi Skirrid, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
If you like this, you might like these:
â- Gastronomy of Italyâ¨Anna del Conte
â- 100 Great Pasta Dishesâ¨Ann and Franco Taruschio
â- Made in Italy: Food and Storiesâ¨Giorgio Locatelli and Dan Lepard