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The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles: A Cookbook

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How do you boil pasta? How much water and salt do you need? Should you add oil to the water? How well should you drain it? (Turn to page viii for the answers.)

One part cooking course, one part kitchen reference, and one part foolproof recipes, The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles tells the story of flour and water like no other book on the market. Extensively covering the basics of pasta and noodles, this thoroughly researched and taste-tested guide is dedicated to the home cook who needs practical advice on everything from penne to pad thai. The experts at Cook's Illustrated present their knowledge and techniques in a hands-on way so that each and every step of the cooking process can be understood and easily executed. The authors leave room for interpretation and taste, of course, but you will not walk away from this book without knowing which olive oil to buy, why egg pastas tend to complement cream sauces, or how to mince garlic.

The book is arranged in four sections, exploring first dried semolina pasta, then fresh Italian-style pasta, Mediterranean pasta and European dumplings, and finally, Asian noodles. There are thirteen chapters devoted to sauces alone, and recipes are included with the type of pasta with which they work best -- from the simplest to the complex, but all within reach of the home cook. As a bonus, the book includes excellent photographs of the various pasta and noodle shapes, and impeccable illustrations clearly depict each step of key techniques. Special sections are devoted to such specific topics as "Are Electric Pasta Machines Worth the Money?" and "A Guide to Popular Cheeses."

"Cook's has always been the definitive word on any subject it tackles," says The Post and Courier, and The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles will serve as the definitive reference volume for pasta lovers.

496 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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Cook's Illustrated

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5 stars
50 (31%)
4 stars
69 (43%)
3 stars
30 (18%)
2 stars
7 (4%)
1 star
2 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly.
37 reviews
September 29, 2011
This is by far the most complete and informative cookbook I've ever seen on pasta. Not only is there a wealth of information on how to make your own noodles, but there are lots of recipes for ravioli fillings and sauces, which I was very interested in. I skipped the sections regarding Asian noodles and meat dishes but found everything else immensely inspiring. Adding it to my Amazon wishlist. Definitely worth the interlibrary loan.
Profile Image for Stuart.
59 reviews1 follower
February 18, 2011
Whether you are a novice or veteran, this book will give you a lot more than just recipes. It discusses pasta types, what type of pasta goes with what type of sauce, how to make those sauces, and how to present them.

An essential reference for anyone who likes pasta or noodles.
1,403 reviews
December 4, 2019
great compendium on noodles and many types of noodles. Some of it is a bit repetitive and could have been handled via variations. On the other hand you have a lot of noodle recipes all in one place with good to great breakouts on techniques, flavors, and products.
Profile Image for Pam Joslin.
234 reviews
September 24, 2018
Lovely recipes, lovely gift from my daughter, great tips and descriptions, photos and everything! I love this pasta book and will use it over and over and over!!!
Profile Image for Beth.
130 reviews14 followers
April 1, 2008
I can't say this is the ONLY pasta cookbook you'll ever need, but you'd certainly get by just fine on a desert island if it were all you had. (Well, you'd also need a good campfire and some pots and maybe a fishing rod ...) Anyway, don't miss the smoked salmon in cream sauce (Julianna's favorite); crumbly sausage with tomato (my favorite); the basic alfredo (Alexa's favorite, of course); and the clam sauces, both red (David) and white (me again). I honestly don't think I've ever had a white clam sauce in a restaurant that tops this recipe.
Profile Image for Randy.
112 reviews
March 18, 2011
My pasta maker is in transit.... looking forward to making a big mess in the kitchen.

Making a few messes, and not yet proficient. That is, the pasta I'm making is not that much better than store bought.

Will keep on trying though.

This book has some good ideas for simple sauces and toppings to go with my spaghettis and fettucinis. And maybe I'll try some of the more elegant types later...

Still, this will not be the most-turned-to cookbook in my library.

It's OK... not the best Italian cookbook I've every had, but functional enough.
Profile Image for Danielle.
338 reviews9 followers
January 3, 2010
My sister gave me this book for Christmas to go with my new pasta roller attachment. I made a egg pasta, ravioli filling and sauce out of this so far and they were all excellent. Definitely recommended.
Profile Image for Dianna.
1,858 reviews32 followers
May 25, 2010
Huge book on pasta, with recipes for everything from how to make fresh pasta to what to do with ramen noodles. Chapters on many different sorts of sauces and toppings. I wish there were more ramen recipes! The fresh egg pasta is excellent.
5 reviews
January 5, 2019
Truthfully we have only really made one recipe from this cookbook - but its one we make a lot so I am rating it highly just on that basis.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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