Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

By Marcella Hazan

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Recommended by

Michele Cranston

Food stylist and magazine food editor

In an era when Italian food can be purchased in any supermarket aisle tinned, frozen or dried, this hefty book, filled with so much information, reminds us of what real Italian cooking is all about. Simple delicate sauces, perfectly cooked pasta, richly flavoured vegetables and a chapter on traditional baking that leaves you reminiscing about noisy Italian cafe's and bars lined with little glasses of Grappa and strong espresso's.

Debora Robertson

Food writer and editor

I reach for this book all of the time. Clear, authoritative recipes, written in Hazan's sometimes slightly bristling style - she can make Elizabeth David seem positively cuddly - but I make her simple tomato sauce (tomatoes, onion, butter and salt) and bolognaise all of the time, and cook pasta with 4 litres of water and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt per 450g of pasta as per her very strict instructions.

Lucy Malouf

Food writer and editor

Hazan’s recipes are masterpieces of no-nonsense precision, they are utterly authentic and have no truck with trendiness. This is a classic and comprehensive collection, sourced from all regions of Italy. For me it’s the definitive work.

Jane Middleton

Editor and writer

Forget about other Italian cookbooks – this is the only one you need, as her gently authoritative tone makes clear. You could cook from this book every day without ever getting bored.

Julia Platt Leonard

Writer and Food Consultant

This is the book I turn to when I want to find out how to make the perfect risotto or pasta. She gives you all the information you need to make complex dishes doable. A real gift.

Makiko Itoh

Blogger of Just Hungry and Just Bento

The one Italian cuisine book you really need. It's not as enjoyable to read as Julia Child's Master The Art of French Cooking, but it truly gets the job done.

Diana Henry

Award-winning food writer and author. Columnist at The Sunday Telegraph

It’s hard to choose one Italian book – so many have been written – but Hazan is the queen. The recipes simply work. Nothing extraneous, no nonsense.

John Becker

Food publisher

Marcella is simply the authority on Italian cooking. This is always the first book we turn to when we have a question about authentic Italian food.

Valeria Necchio

Cookbook author

The starting point for anyone interested in learning more about Italian cooking, from one of the most influential food writing voices of all times.

Jennifer Armentrout

Editor-in-Chief, Fine Cooking Magazine

Marcella Hazan is to Italian cooking what Julia Child is to French cooking. Her deceptively simple looking recipes are so vibrantly flavorful.

Jon Bonné


Indispensible, enough said. I once cooked with Marcella for two days straight, and everything I learned with her in person is captured here.

Maria Elia


Such a hero of mine,an amazing 'encylopedia' that I refer to often, again, it's the stories that make it so special too!

Letitia Clark

Food writer

My go-to book for Italian recipes: the depth of detail is extraordinary and I trust her as I would my own Nonna.

Jenny Chandler

Food writer

My complete bible during 7 years working as a private yacht chef for a Milanese family. Everything works.

Jason Goodwin

Author and historian

The title says it all: the world’s favourite food, logically and even lyrically explained.

Peter Gordon


One of the first books I bought when I moved to the UK in 1989 and it's still great.

Francis Percival

Food Editor, The World of Fine Wine and co-founder and convenor of the London Gastronomy Seminars

Every Anglo-Saxon's introduction to Italian cooking. Still a go-to reference work.

Rita Erlich

Food writer

This is the compendium edition, bring together three wonderful books.

Liz Williams

Founder of SoFAB

Techniques that make Italian cooking doable in the home kitchen.

Lilian (Chinese Grandma)

Blogger, Chinese Grandma

Straightforward, authentic and eternal.

Myrna & Lou Donato

Bookstore owners

Authentic Italian cooking at its best.

Melissa McCart

Food writer and restaurant critic

It's my Italian cooking go-to.

Beth Lee


Like being in her kitchen ...

Thom Eagle

Chef and writer


Jayne Cohen

Cookbook author and food journalist

Lizzie Mabbott

Author of 'Chinatown Kitchen' and Hollow Legs

Christine McFadden

Food writer, cookbook author and cookery teacher

Candy Argondizza

ICC's Vice President of Culinary and Pastry Arts

Darina Allen

Owner and Founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School

Robert McCullough

Publisher of Appetite

Barbara-Jo McIntosh

Author and food professional

Nadia Arumugam

Food writer

Barbara Santich

Author and food scholar

Bruce Palling


Martin Boetz

Cooks Co-op

Georgia Freedman

Writer and food scholar

Kevin Gould

Professional Food Lover

Julie Gibbs

Publishing Director – Illustrated Books, Penguin Random House Australia

Stephanie Alexander

Food writer, former restaurateur, food educator

Chantal Coady

Founder of Rococo Chocolates

Celia Sack

Proprietress of Omnivore Books

Andrew McConnell

Executive Chef and Owner

David Joachim

Food writer

Pascale Beale

Owner and Founder of Pascale’s Kitchen

Barbara Seelig-Brown

Cookbook Author and Host of the TV show Stress Free Cooking

Peter J Kim

Executive director of the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD)

Aglaia Kremezi

Food writer and journalist

Amanda Hesser

CEO & co-founder, Food52

Marvin J. Taylor

Director, Fales Library and Special Collections

Jennifer Chandler

Cookbook author and restaurateur

Thane Prince

Author and writer

Karen Barnes

Editor, Delicious magazine

Jon Croft

Cookbook publisher

Molly Stevens

Cookbook author

Maggie Green

Registered dietitian, chef and cookbook author

Jonathan Hirshon

Food blogger and Tech PR

Raymond Sokolov

Food writer

JoAnn Cianciulli

Cookbook author and TV producer

Rachel Khong

Senior Editor Lucky Peach

Joan Nathan

Cookbook author and food journalist

Miss South

Freelance writer and blogger

David Gelb

Creator, Executive Producer, Director

Jeremy Lee

Executive Chef Patron, Quo Vadis, Soho

Lucas Hollweg

Food writer

Edward Behr

Editor, The Art of Eating

Melissa Clark

Food Columnist, The New York Times