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Ingredienti: Marcella's Guide to the Market    by Marcella Hazan & Victor Hazan order for
by Marcella Hazan
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

This handy, little, no-nonsense guide to how to select the freshest and best ingredients will become a much appreciated and used guide for anyone who loves cooking. In short chapters, Marcella Hazan shares the decades of expertise she has amassed preparing delicious and nourishing Italian cuisine for family and friends.

When she died in 2013, Hazan left behind a handwritten manuscript that her husband edited and fashioned into this final volume, that not only explains how to select the best fresh ingredients but also how to locate the signature Italian products that will bring the authentic flavor of Italy to one's table.

The reader will discover useful tips on how to choose the best fresh artichokes, spinach, beans, and eggplant as well as a host of other vegetables, plus what types of pasta, extra virgin olive oil, and other packaged goods are worth purchasing.

If you are seeking information on pancetta, guanciale, prosciutto, tomato paste or anchovies, capers, chilis and herbs this is the resource you'll want to consult.

'Looking for ingredients should be more deliberate than dropping them into your basket and checking them off a shopping list,' writes Hazan in her book's introduction. 'Think of this book as a collection of portraits. Each wants to be a description of character. Become familiar with them, establish a connection, and allow them to guide you to making food that you enjoy and will be pleased to share.'

Given how the book is constructed around a series of short chapters illustrated with drawings of the vegetables discussed, the best way of tackling this volume is perhaps to nibble away at it. You can consume it in large portions, depending on your mood, but it is more fun to enjoy a few chapters and then set it aside with the promise of a future visit where you can further sample what Hazan has to offer.

Not only will this extend the pleasure of reading about these ingredients but you can focus on specific veggies or products you may be searching for, for a particular meal.

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