Lasagna, ravioli, macaroni… Three books to get your hands dirty!

In France, pasta has long been associated with modest meals. They were first imported by emigrants from northern Italy fleeing poverty, then served as a garnish for meat and fish (a blasphemy for the Italians) and made the happiness of broke students. Fortunately, nowadays the pasta gained respectability.

Beautiful addresses putting it in the spotlight have been distinguished by Michelin (such as Il Carpaccio, nestled in the palace Le Royal Monceau, one star this year, in Paris). Famous French chefs have been won over: Thierry Marx has created a spectacular spaghetti of sweetbreads, Cyril Lignac launched Ischia in 2021, a new (Parisian) establishment where Italian pasta is queen (gnocchi al pesto, langoustine ravioli, anolini al limone, etc.). Today, specialized books are multiplying, and pasta can finally sneak in with dignity in the kitchens of neophytes.

The way of design

What if pasta were above all mini-works of art, sculptures of flour and water with clean lines? This iconoclastic work tackles the subject in a surprising way, focusing as much on the bottom (of the saucepan) as on the shape (of the pasta). There would be more than 300 different ones in Italy. Each can be connected to a region, a story, or even a legend. This beautiful book is signed by Jacob Kenedy, the English boss of an Italian institution in the heart of Soho, London, Bocca di Lupo. It is punctuated with effective black and white illustrations by London graphic designer Caz Hildebrand.

Pasta geometry indeed starts from a drawing of dough and its very complete description, to associate recipes with it, as well as the meats, fish, vegetables that suit it best. The first time you leaf through the book, you have fun discovering oddities: the caramelin the form of candies in foil, the Dischi Volanti (“flying discs”) in the shape of a saucer, or the cappellacci (“little hats”). The second time, we read with interest their very documented descriptions. And the third, we can’t resist the urge to embark on a recipe, even if it unfortunately remains almost impossible to obtain all the pasta without crossing the Alps (or going to London, to the restaurant of the author).

Pasta geometryby Jacob Kenedy (Marabout, 288 p., €19.90).

The Granny Course

In 2014, London-based cookbook author Vicky Bennison embarked on a somewhat “pazzo” (mad). She begins to travel around Italy to film and interview Italian grannies who cook pasta in the traditional way at home. Quickly, the videos of his “pasta grannies” are a hit, now boasting over 885,000 subscribers on YouTube. The initiative was noble (bringing back to the fore those who have provided daily cooking for decades rather than the great chefs), but his journey had another goal: to document the variety of Italian regional cuisines.

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