Essentials of Italian Cooking – Cookbook Review

I am finally back at our Seattle Cooking Club! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the group (not intentionally) but life happened and I got busy. I was super excited that the ladies chose Marcella Hazan’s, Essentials of Italian Cooking for this round, because I love Italian food. :) We’ve done a few other Italian cookbooks so it will be interesting to hear how the others felt this one compared.



  • No photos.
  • She gained points by the way she describes making salad. She makes the mundane activity of chopping sound enjoyable.
  • Super educational. Who knew “Marinara” means sailor style.
  • I really wanted to make pizza after seeing the recipes. All the recipes called for a pizza stone (which I unfortunately do not have) so I was out of luck. Maybe I’ll ask for one for my birthday. :)
  • My friend Kelli tried the famous Tomato Sauce and said it was a HIT. I must try it.


First up was the Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Chicken. This wasn’t too bad…but I’ve made better roasted chicken. It was just kind of blah, nothing to write home about. From the looks of the reviews, I should have tried the Roast Chicken with Two Lemons. With the chicken I made the La Grand Insalata Mista. I will NOT make this again. It required quite a bit of rinsing, soaking, squeezing, and chopping. I get that it’s a salad and you gotta do at least two of the four…but this was extraneous. I think the kicker was the onions. It was way too much and it over powered the entire flavor the salad. Plus it gave me a stomach ache, AND really bad breath. No bueno.

For our cookbook club this Sunday afternoon, we had quite the spread. I made the A Farm Wife’s Fresh Pear Tart and the Crema—Italian Custard Creme. Both were pretty easy to make, and were delicious!

The other items on the menu were Lentil Soup, Lentil Soup with Pasta, Bacon, and Garlic, Margherita Pizza, Meatballs, and Layered Crespelle with Tomato, Prosciutto, and Cheese.




The ladies really liked it quite a bit. Despite my salad mishap, I think it has some fairly easy recipes that are rich, and full of flavor! A keeper!