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Sauces & Shapes

Sauces & Shapes
Pasta the Italian Way
by Oretta Zanini De Vita and Maureen B. Fant

W.W. Norton & Co., 2013

While there are plenty of pasta cookbooks available with recipes for spaghetti, linguine, or rigatoni, few offer as much guidance for handmade pastas in the home kitchen. This one explains how to make not just tagliatelle, but strozzapreti, garganelli, trofie, fusilli and dozens more.
Sauces & Shapes

The book includes recipes for about a hundred traditional sauces and soups derived from home kitchens throughout Italy and suggests matches for both homemade and store-bought pasta shapes. There's also a healthy serving of advice for cooking, serving and eating pasta.

Sagne e lenticchie (Lentils and noodles)

For the soup:

1 pound (450 grams) lentils, washed and picked over
1 bay leaf
at least 1 1/2 level teaspoons salt (kosher)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups (550 grams) tomato puree
1 small piece dried chile

Before serving:

8 ounces (225 grams) or less pasta
2 tablespoons, or more, best-quality extra virgin olive oil for finishing

Put the lentils in a 4-quart (4-liter) pot, preferably terracotta, with 6 cups (1.5 liters) water and the bay leaf. Add 1 level teaspoon salt, bring to a boil, then cook, covered, over low heat until tender. The cooling time can range from 20 minutes (for the best-quality tiny Italian lentils) to about 45 minutes, so keep your eye on them and check often. They should be tender but not mushy.

Keep a supply of boiling hot lightly salted water available on the stove and add it by the ladleful in the unlikely event your lentils begin to look dry. You can also use the water to make the soup more liquid.

Put the oil in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Sauté gently over low heat until transparent, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree, the chile, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is visibly reduced and the oil comes to the surface. Add this sauce to the lentils. You should have about 8 cups total. Taste for salt.

When you are ready to continue, heat the lentils gently (if they are not already hot), add 2 cups (400 milliliters) lightly salted hot water, stir in the pasta, cover the pot, and cook over low heat until the pasta is al dente, which may be very quick.

Discard the bay leaf, stir in the oil, and let the soup rest for a few minutes before serving. It is also excellent served at room temperature.
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