Thirty Minute Pasta: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes – Cookbook Review

Note from Chef Gwen: The multi-talented Linda Avery delivers another solid cookbook review for Pen & Fork. I have Giuliano Hazan’s The Classic Pasta Cookbook on my shelf, and just ordered this one.

Thirty Minute Pasta: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes

by Giuliano Hazan

Facts: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009, hardcover, 176 pages, $27.50 (or Amazon at $18.15)


Photos: About one out of four recipes have finished dish photos

Recipes: 100

Give to: Busy people who aren’t worried about carbs, Italophiles and beginning cooks (Hazan is an award-winning teacher)

Reviewed by Linda Avery:

Pete Wells, New York Times Dining Editor, writes a column in the Sunday NYT magazine section, usually sharing cooking adventures with his five year-old son Dexter.

Dexter is amazingly curious about food and inventive. It’s charming, real, and along with Dexter, I usually learn something.

In an article titled The Boiling Point (December, 2009) Wells quotes from Edouard de Pomiane’s (1875-1964) French Cooking in Ten Minutes: Adapting to the Rhythm of Modern Life

“The first thing you must do when you get home before you take off your coat is go to the kitchen and light the stove. . . . “Next, fill a pot large enough to hold a quart of water. Put it on the fire, cover it and bring it to a boil. What’s the water for? I don’t know, but it’s bound to be good for something, whether in preparing your meal or just making coffee.”

I found it curious because I never gave thought to anyone needing a time-saver in the 1930’s.

But the reference immediately came to mind when I saw Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta book.

Why? Because each recipe begins with “fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat…”

Hazan is the consummate educator. In 2007, he was named Cooking Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and is the author of four cookbooks (not to mention he is the son of prolific Italian cookbook author, TV cooking teacher Marcella Hazan).

Considering Giuliano Hazan’s educational background, it’s not surprising his newest book opens with a glossary of pastas, giving a translation of the name (cavatappi means corkscrew) and suggesting the type of sauce it is best suited for (“their twisted shape wraps itself around chunky vegetable sauces.”)

I patted myself on the back a couple pages later when a quick inventory showed I had everything he suggested for a pasta pantry. Maybe you do, too.

His recipes include soups with pasta, seafood, vegetarian and meat pasta dishes, but unfortunately no pasta salads (does standing in front of the refrigerator’s door eating leftover pasta qualify as a salad?)

I decided to test the Fettucine with a Savory Veal Sauce for a couple reasons. I couldn’t imagine a savory veal sauce being ready in 30 minutes, and, I’ve never seen green olives incorporated into pasta – it may be a Sicilian practice but my nonna is rolling in her grave watching me do this. (My family came from Le Marche on the Adriatic coast).

The tasty recipe came together in the allotted time. I used a quality Italian brand of canned plum tomatoes since I didn’t have great fresh tomatoes.

The green olives are key – they add the necessary kick and balance to the recipe since there is no addition of cheese.

Photo copyright by Joseph DiLeo

From Thirty Minute Pasta: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes by Giuliano Hazan

Fettuccine with a Savory Veal Sauce

Fettuccine al Sugo di Vitello Saporito

Veal is quite mild and goes very well with green olives, which give it a little kick. I usually cook veal with butter, but olive oil is better suited to olives, so I make this sauce with olive oil but add a little butter at the end when I toss it with the pasta. Half a bouillon cube adds depth of flavor.

Serves 4

1/2 medium yellow onion
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fresh tomatoes
3/4 pound ground veal
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 large beef bouillon cube
8 large Sicilian-style green olives
10 ounces dried egg fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter

1. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.

2. Peel the onion and finely chop it. Put the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet, add the chopped onion, and place it over medium heat. Sauté until the onion turns a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.

3. While the onion is sautéing, peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes.

4. When the onion is ready, add the ground veal, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the veal is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the white wine and let it bubble for about 1 minute to evaporate the alcohol. Add the tomatoes and bouillon cube, lower the heat to medium, and continue cooking until most of the liquid the tomatoes release has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes.

5. While the tomatoes are cooking, slice the flesh of the olives away from the pits and coarsely chop it.

6. When the tomatoes are ready, add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the fettuccine, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente.

7. Add the olives to the sauce and continue cooking over medium heat until the pasta is ready. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the butter, and serve at once.

Recipe © 2009 by Giuliano Hazan

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