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Right off the bat, you'll notice the absolutely stunning photography by Michael Harlan Turkell. The Old World kitchen, rustic pottery, vibrant colors, and garden-ripe veggies will keep you turning the pages and planing your menus.
But, of course, as I always say, pretty is fine, but the recipes and information make a cookbook. As you can guess, the recipes in The Four Seasons of Pasta are indeed divided by season. Within each section you'll find many quick pasta dishes that are just right for weeknight dining. A few recipes, for example baked dishes and ravioli, will take more time, so you might want to save them for weekend meals.
Apparently there is no running out of recipe ideas in Italy because, as Jenkins and Jenkins tell us, it's a country where most people eat a pasta dish once or twice every single day. The rest of us have some catching up to do, and this cookbook will start us on our way.
The Four Seasons of Pasta is full of great tips on how to stock your kitchen, buy key ingredients, and make basic stocks. I also love the introductions to the recipes, which provide culinary advice as well as food history. The recipe directions are written in an informal style and easy to follow. I was happy to see that the Jenkinses call for canned tomatoes in the winter and dried pasta for most of the dishes.
There are recipes for all kinds of tastes here: heavy and light sauces, quick stovetop dishes, hearty ragus, pestos, and even seafood options. Meat-lovers, vegetarians, and everyone in between will find plenty of new favorites in this cookbook. Here are just four of many that have my name on them:
- Penne Rigate con Cavolfiore alla Sicilana, which has cauliflower, raisins, and white wine
- Lamb meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Elicoldali, which is warmly spiced with cumin and coriander in a tomato sauce
- Garganelli al Ortolano, which includes grilled eggplant, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes
- Zuppa di Pasta e Ceci, which is a chicken soup with greens and chickpeas
The recipes in The Four Seasons of Pasta by Nancy Harmon Jenkins and Sara Jenkins are comforting and traditional yet fit a modern lifestyle. The fresh, flavorful, and simple dishes in this cookbook are destined to become family favorites and will take the burden off the age-old question of What's for dinner?
Because I don't have a finished copy of the cookbook, I'm a little hesitant to share a recipe, in case there were changes. So instead, I'll direct you to Nancy Harmon Jenkins's website, where you can find more photos and some recipes.
NOTE: The photos in this post are from the cookbook and are included in the context of a review. All rights remain with the copyright holder, Michael Harlan Turkell.
Published by Penguin Random House / Avery, October 6, 2015
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)