The art of pasta for me is mostly getting it al dente. Many’s the time I’ve airily told our guests,’This is how we like our pasta cooked, I hope you do too,’ knowing full well that it’s over/under cooked and simply trying to make guests feel they may be wrong to like it any other way.
This book has higher ambitions. Lucio’s restaurant in Sydney likes pasta, likes art and likes to mash the two together. So here you have 160 very good-looking recipes accompanied by artwork from Luke Sciberras and photography by Anson Smart.
You know the book means business because it comes shrink wrapped to ensure no one lays a passata stained finger on its pages before you do, as well as boasting a tasteful cotton page marker.
Head chef Lucio Galletto has written the book, with David Dale and Executive Chef at Lucio’s Logan Campbell. Together they set out to reinterpret classic pasta dishes and push some boundaries with new ones.
You get Lucio’s signature pesto, a’sauce’ he reckons is the best in the world as well as the lively Calabrian pesto, plus carby treats such as beetroot ravioli with poppy seeds and melted butter, and linguine with orange pesto and aubergine. Good to see’guitar’ maccheroni from Abruzzo which I once ate actually in Abruzzo and still have fond memories of.Then there’s rabbit cannelloni with Jerusalem artichoke sauce and beetroot gnocchi with pancetta and goat’s cheese too.
Simply laid out – fresh pasta, dried pasta, filled pasta, baked pasta, and gnocchi – along with a quick lesson in pasta making, the book makes you stop and drool rather a lot as it ambles through the seasons from light spring dishes with asparagus to classic winter warmers like a fool proof ragu.
It’s a delicious book, an answer to anyone that thinks pasta is boring. It makes you want to fly down to Sydney to try Lucio’s award-winning food at source, but this is the next best thing.
There is definitely an art to pasta because, while it can never aspire to or want to be’fancy’ food with intricate cooking and presentation, getting a great pasta dish onto the table means the art of mixing simple yet fantastic ingredients and, of course, carefully watching that boiling water.