Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking Cookbook Review

So, compiling my list for Birthday’s Anniversaries, Christmases etc.

My husband needs HO’s help so that he doesn’t end up in the Dog House not knowing what to get.

What does everyone think of this book?

Has anyone cooked from it and possibly have any recipe recommendations, tips and tricks?

I want to know if this book is shelf worthy.




One of my desert island cookbooks. I have cooked so many dishes out of this, learned so much from Hazan’s authoritative instructions and voice, and have been astonished by what magic comes out of simplicity. I have also gifted this book to many people. Don’t hesitate!



If you have saved any of your notes from COTM then they would be welcomed here as well.


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I don’t have my COTM notes, sadly. We collectively lost something very significant with the shutdown of CH.

I write my impressions of recipes and/or adjustments I made directly in the cookbooks themselves.

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Are they not available on the wayback machine?

The replies don’t load, from what I can tell.

I think that @LindaWhit or @sck might be able to help with that.
I remember seeing a post about how to access on the wayback machine.

Hazan’s book is a classic for good reason. An excellent selection.


My first foray into making pasta by hand was guided by ECICC. On to real lasagnas, beggar’s purses, rotolos as well as simple noodle things. Sauces. Roast chicken.

IMHO, this book is to Italian what Julia is to French. A sound while delicious foundation.


@Olunia and @pistachiopeas here’s the link.


I did obtain this book owing to it being highly recommended.

But I remember how I started out cooking and couldn’t judge how a recipe might taste just by reading the recipe.

So I cooked this egg plant pasta dish in this book. And it was super bland and I wasted my time and the food.

The author did say that in Italy many were poor so just made dishes out of anything available and this was one of them.

Because I wasn’t experienced to judge just by reading a recipe if the dish would taste good or not I stopped cooking from this.

I’m trying to say that if you are an experienced chef that can judge how a recipe might taste simply by reading then you can use this book.

But if you are new and learning about cooking, then you might not use this book because if you blindly follow the recipes you might end up with something bland and tasteless.

Cooks Illustrated and ATK would be a better option if you are new at cooking (like me).

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Shelf worthy. I can’t think of another Italian cookbook that’s more highly regarded. I had this cookbook but foolishly culled it from my collection due to lack of shelf space. I’ve added it back to my collection as Kindle book, the only culled book that has been repurchased by me.


This is truly a essential cookbook.
Here’s a link to a blog (full disclosure, I was one of the cooks) all about cooking from the book with comments by Marcella:
Hope you enjoy!


I love that blog so much. I have read through the whole thing.

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Welcome! Nice to see you and thank you for the link that’s awesome.
Must have been a lot of fun cooking through the book and I look forward to reading all about it.
Thank you again.

If you type Marcella Hazan into the search box you’ll find 50+ threads.
We’ve been here 7 years…

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My favourite thing about Marcella is how bossy and judgemental she is about ingredients and process. You do feel like your non-existent (for me) Italian grandmother is standing in your kitchen criticizing how you cook everything. I love that.


@bbqboy ,
Thanks for the tip. I’m still learning who’s who here.
My only issue with going through old threads is if I have a question and no one responds then I don’t know if Im beig blocked, ghosted or talking to a ghost.

Hi Olunia,
I have 4 of Marcella Hazan’s books. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is, of course close to comprehensive, and essential. But the one I like best, even though it doesn’t replace Essentials, is her last book, Marcella Says . . . . It’s a great synopsis of what she learned over the years.


Thank you Marcella Says was not even on my radar.
but it is now !