homemade pasta dough

Cookbook Review: Tuscany

Tuscany by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi

At the heart of every Tuscan, there is a pride for their region and an incredible sense of responsibility and love for their surroundings. From the minute they look out of their windows in the morning to the last nightcap at the bar, Tuscans, like most Italians, are immersed in food.

In Tuscany, Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi take readers on a culinary journey through a Tuscan day. The rhythm of life pace that Tuscans cook is slow and calm. Breakfasts are considered, lunch often eaten at home with family, and weekend dinners a feast.

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Book Review: Pasta by Hand

It never occurred to me that I could make pasta the old-fashioned way—by hand. I mean, who does that? I always thought that task was relegated to old-world Nonna’s. And let’s be honest, Italian cooking is intimidating. For me, it’s fraught with peril. My fear of bungling a centuries-old cuisine is very real.

Along comes Pasta by Hand: A collection of Italy’s regional and hand shaped pasta. The fact that no special equipment or ingredients are needed to form pasta shapes chips away at my list of excuses. The book contains more than 65 recipes for homemade pasta dough and easy instructions on how to shape it into small orbs, cups, twists, shells, noodles, and dumplings.

Ms. Louis has spent what seems like infinite hours of research and travel schooling herself on the humble dumpling, or what Italians call gnocchi. The book begins with a section on ‘The Basics.’ Exactly what I need. The pages outline the specific ingredients, tools, and techniques that will help craft dumplings, as well as a list of 12 tips for making great gnocchi. For example, ‘Tip #4’ instructs us to pay special attention to the mixing and cooking directions for each recipe. The mixing method for each dumpling dough will be different, to achieve the correct texture. Not all dumplings are meant to be tender and light.

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