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Encyclopedia of Pasta

by Oretta Zanini De Vita University of California Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 400 pages
AU$55.99 NZ$58.25
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Spaghetti, gnocchi, tagliatellea, ravioli, vincisgrassi, strascinati—pasta in its myriad forms has been a staple of the Mediterranean diet longer than bread. This beautiful volume is the first book to provide a complete history of pasta in Italy, telling its long story via the extravagant variety of shapes it takes and the even greater abundance of names by which it is known. Food scholar Oretta Zanini De Vita traveled to every corner of her native Italy, recording oral histories, delving into long-forgotten family cookbooks, and searching obscure archives to produce this rich and uniquely personal compendium of historical and geographical information. For each entry she includes the primary ingredients, preparation techniques, variant names, and the locality where it is made and eaten. Along the way, Zanini De Vita debunks such culinary myths as Marco Polo's supposed role in pasta's story even as she serves up a feast of new information. Encyclopedia of Pasta, illustrated throughout with original drawings by Luciana Marini, will be the standard reference on one of the world's favorite foods for many years to come, engaging and delighting both general readers and food professionals.

Foreword, by Carol Field
Preface to the English-Language Edition, by Oretta Zanini De Vita
Translator's Preface, by Maureen B. Fant

Voyage in the Pasta Universe: The Reasons for This Research, by Oretta Zanini De Vita

Introduction to the First Italian Edition, by Corrado Barberis

Traditional Italian Pasta Shapes A to Z


"This wonderful resource is destined to become the definitive book on pasta. " Starred Review - Library Journal


"The world of pasta is bewilderingly huge, so we’re thrilled with this new, authoritative work, by one of Italy’s leading food scholars." - Saveur


"We needed this book. . . Answers all the questions about pasta. . . Ad many more you never thought to ask." - Gambero Rosso


"This is an amazing and deeply valuable work of culinary scholarship - an anthropology of Italian pasta that is also a major contribution to Italian cultural history. Maureen Fant’s fine translation does complete justice to Oretta Zanini’s scrupulously detailed and lovingly presented compendium. I defy anyone to read this book and not want immediately to board a plane for Italy." - Nancy Harmon Jenkins, author of Cucina del Sole and The Essential Mediterranean


"This handsome book will be the authority for settling bets about the history of pasta. Every ambitious cook will covet these authentic and exciting entries." - Paul Levy, coauthor of The Official Foodie Handbook and Out to Lunch


"Zanini's singular achievement in this book has been to shine a light into every Italian kitchen where a different kind of pasta is made, entertaining us with pertinent historical anecdotes, instructing us with explicit details and techniques, and making us powerfully hungry." - Victor Hazan, author of Italian Wine
Oretta Zanini De Vita is a leading Italian food critic and author of several books on Italian cuisine including The Food of Rome and Lazio: History, Folklore, and Recipes and Il cibo e il suo mondo nella campagna romana.