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100 Ways to Be Pasta: Perfect Pasta Recipes from Gangivecchio

100 Ways to Be Pasta: Perfect Pasta Recipes from Gangivecchio

by Wanda Tornabene, Carolynn Carreno (With), Giovanna Tornabene

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For us, pasta is more than just a food. It is part of our histories. It is a good friend, a member of the family. It is something we love . . . When Italians offer a plate of pasta to friends or strangers, we are opening the doors of our homes and welcoming them inside in the most generous way. It is in that spirit that my mamma and I, who have had the good fortune to


For us, pasta is more than just a food. It is part of our histories. It is a good friend, a member of the family. It is something we love . . . When Italians offer a plate of pasta to friends or strangers, we are opening the doors of our homes and welcoming them inside in the most generous way. It is in that spirit that my mamma and I, who have had the good fortune to be accompanied all our lives by this most versatile of foods, invite you through the tall, ancient wooden doors of Gangivecchio and offer up these recipes, these one hundred versions of the golden strands, the god, pasta, to you. So put the water on to boil. And buon appetito! —Giovanna Tornabene, from her Introduction

Welcome back to Gangivecchio, where Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene, two-time James Beard Award winners and beloved doyennes of the Italian kitchen, have served up another irresistible helping of charm, wit, and culinary wisdom from the kitchen of the thirteenth-century abbey they call home. This time around, the dynamic mother-daughter duo takes us back to Sicilian basics, in a recipe-filled compendium and heartfelt tribute to the “queen of the Italian table”—pasta.

In 100 Ways to Be Pasta the Tornabenes once again weave memoir and history together with the vivid flavors of local village life, bringing us a true taste of Sicilian culture and cuisine. They incorporate lessons from basic pasta-cooking techniques to secret tips from old masters, and include an extensive glossary of pasta vocabulary, a dictionary of pasta types, and of course a generous sprinkling of anecdotes and advice.

All of this serves as a delightful setting for the one hundred authentic, mouth-watering recipes, lovingly honed and perfected in the old abbey kitchen. From quick, easy basics, like spaghetti with garlic, oil, and hot pepper or farfalle with peas and prosciutto, to traditional pasta soups like minestrone, to more elaborate baked and stuffed pastas like Baked Orecchiette with Lamb Ragù and Melted Mozzarella or Baked Timbale of Anelletti with Veal and Vegetables, each recipe serves up a little piece of Sicily for your very own kitchen.

As informative and useful to the beginner as to the experienced Italian cook, 100 Ways to Be Pasta is a must-have and a treasure for any cookbook shelf.

Editorial Reviews

For thousands of years, home cooks have been proving the worth of pasta as a kitchen staple. In 100 Ways to Be Pasta, Sicilian restaurateurs Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene set out to prove that its versatility extends far beyond spaghetti and sauce combinations. Their inventive recipes include Ditaloni with Eggplant Balls, Potato, and Pancetta; Bucatini with Dried Figs; and Taglioni with Green Apple Pesto and Speck.
Publishers Weekly
Pasta's very simplicity can sometimes trip up cookbook authors. After all, how many recipes for spaghetti with tomato sauce does one need? Mother and daughter Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene easily skirt this issue with inventive dishes such as Tagliolini with Green Apple Pesto and Speck, and Ditaloni with Eggplant Balls, Potato, and Pancetta. To coauthor Carre o's credit, the voices of these two women, who run a restaurant in a 13th-century Sicilian abbey, remain genuine and convincing throughout. They demonstrate that cuisine can be inventive without involving backbreaking labor: in a recipe for Bucatini with Dried Figs, for example, they explain that they purchase dried figs rather than drying their own, "a boring and tedious task." In a charming sidebar, they describe the pasta they prepare for their dogs and cats twice a day. There's a distinct Sicilian flavor throughout, which means less of an emphasis on handmade egg pasta (Papa's Ricotta Ravioli with Simple Butter Sauce is one exception) and an homage to the classic Lampedusa novel The Leopard in the form of a timballo that mimics one served in a prince's home in the novel, as well as a version of Sicily's Famous Spaghetti with Eggplant and Ricotta Salata. Recipes are clearly written and divided into types, such as rich pasta, one-dish pasta, soup with pasta, etc. The Tornabenes' La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio (Knopf, 1996) and Sicilian Home Cooking (Knopf, 2001) were James Beard Award winners; this new addition looks like another potential champion. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Gangivecchio is the rustic country restaurant that the Tornabenes (mother and daughter) opened in their ancient Sicilian home almost 30 years ago. Despite its isolated location, it somewhat improbably gained an international following, and the authors have written two other cookbooks about this special place. Here, they write that for them, "pasta is a live thing." "More than just a food," daughter Giovanna says, "pasta is part of our histories." With freelancer Carre o (Once Upon a Tart), they have translated this history into written recipes, some familiar, many of them less so: Linguine with Scallions, Raisins, and Turmeric; Spaghetti with Sea Urchin; and Pappardelle with Asparagus, Walnuts, and Speck. While this book does not seem to have quite the same resonance as the earlier two, fans of Gangivecchio and the Tornabenes will be delighted to have this personal collection of their favorite pasta recipes. For most libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.51(w) x 8.53(h) x 0.88(d)

Read an Excerpt

Paolo's Pennette with Fresh Figs and PancettaPennette con Fichi e Pancetta di PaoloServes 6This is a recipe my brother invented, inspired from the fact that every day during the fall he walks out of his apartment at Gangivecchio to see the tons of fresh figs that have dropped off the two giant trees in the center of our courtyard. It's nice to serve this pasta with an additional whole fig, cut in quarters so that it opens like a flower with the contrast of the green peel and the red condimento.1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil1 medium white onion, finely chopped1/4 pound pancetta (or bacon), cut into 1/2-inch cubes2 pounds fresh figs, peeled and diced1/2 cup dry red wineSalt and freshly ground black pepper1 pound pennetteFreshly grated Parmesan cheese1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until is is hot but not smoking. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the pancetta and cook until the pancetta and the onions are golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the figs and the wine and simmer just to soften the figs, about 5 minutes; don't cook the figs so long that they fall apart completely. Season with salt and pepper to taste and turn off the heat. 2. Meanwhile, bring a big saucepan of water to boil. Stir in a small fistful of salt and the pennette and cook until it is tender. Reserve a cupful of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander.3. Quickly transfer the pasta to the pan with the figs and place over high heat. Add a splash of pasta water, stir gently to mix the condimento and pasta together, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, adding more pasta water if the pasta is dry or sticky. Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

Meet the Author

Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene have run their restaurant out of the thirteenth-century abbey Gangivecchio, in Sicily’s Madonie Mountains, since 1978. Both of their previous books, La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio and Sicilian Home Cooking, won the James Beard Award for Best Italian Cookbook. Wanda and Giovanna spend most of their time at Gangivecchio and also have a home in Palermo.

Carolynn Carreño is a freelance writer for magazines and a coauthor of Once Upon a Tart. Her work was selected for the anthology Best Food Writing 2002 and has been nominated for the James Beard Best Feature Writing award. She divides her time between New York City and Los Angeles.

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