Marcella Hazan

I recently read an article about Marcella Hazan and realized that I somehow missed her in my long self-taught cooking career. The only thing I’ve made of hers is the famous tomato/butter/onion sauce. I got her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking from the library and have started reading it. I like that she is so definite about what you should do and not do, but the number of recipes is a little overwhelming.
I’m thinking of starting with the chicken cacciatore recipes, but I thought I would ask which of her recipes are the ones you like and make often. Thanks.


The Smothered Cabbage, Venetian Style, simply cooked low and slow, is lovely, practically melt-in-your-mouth soft. It needs plenty of salt and pepper, and I use half the amount of olive oil. I like it as a base for braised dishes, or just as a side for anything. I’ve never made the rice soup that incorporates it, but it seems to be well-liked.


@TheLibrarian28 I’ve been thinking of starting some “cooking from” threads for cookbooks and authors — this would make a great one.

I had reached out to @hungryonion to create a tag so we can organize and find them, maybe @moderators can help.

Re recipes, aside from the famous tomato sauce (which I made to recipe once and then adapted, but is my base sauce for everything now), the Bolognese is completely worth the time (takes a while and freezes great, so make extra), and the lasagna that incorporates it.

The cabbage is not my thing, but there’s a cult following.

ETA: don’t be daunted by the bolognese, it’s mostly hands-off time


My 2 favorites are the Roasted Chicken with 2 Lemons (I use one quartered instead) cooked breast side down first 30 minutes and

Bolognese … takes hours because she instructs to cook at a low simmer. I always triple recipe, you can easily freeze extra.

Here’s a photo of her fresh pasta bolognese I made, best to do sauce the day before. Lotta work but worth it.

I use the pasta attachment for Kitchenaid to roll out the pasta sheets.

Photo is of 2 pots of triple recipe.

I use a good Pinot Grigio for the wine (white).


That looks awesome. What’s between the layers other than the bolognese?

I have been using Marcella’s books for many, many years! A couple of our favorites are: Salsicce col vino rosso e i funghi secchi (sausage with red wine & dried porcini mushrooms) page 305 in "More Classic Italian Cooking. Typically we serve it over soft polenta… Another 1 we really like is Trippa alla Parmigiana (honeycomb tripe with parmesan cheese) page 293, “The Classic Italian Cook Book”…


Béchamel and grated parmigiano reggiano.

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Besciamella (white sauce)

I made it her way the first time, now I add sautéed minced garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, fresh basil to the sauce. I buy the freshly ground beef from an excellent butcher.

For some reason, she doesn’t instruct to rest the pasta dough covered on counter for 30-60 minutes. Other Italian cookbooks say to do this and dough is so much easier to roll out. I believe the cookbook her son Giuliano wrote says to do this.


If you’re not up for making fresh pasta, the Barilla no-boil sheets are almost as good. I soak 3 at a time in warm water inside Pyrex 9 X 13 dish, for a couple of minutes.

It’s interesting to me that both Marcella and Julia Child didn’t cook at all growing up, there was an employed cook in their homes. They were both college educated.

The reason they learned to cook was to please the husband they loved dearly.


I always rest my pasta for a min of 30 minutes (which helps it hydrate). Do you par-boil your sheets for this or use them raw?

Marcella tells you to boil a couple sheets gently, then rinse in cold water, rubbing gently with your hands like you’re washing good lingerie.

When I’ve made this, I’ve used every dish towel I own, placed on all surfaces of the kitchen, to dry (briefly) the pasta sheets.

This recipe would be easier if you had a helper. I think I’ve only made the whole shebang twice.

This is her son, Giuliano’s recipe:

Here’s another:


Yours looks better than than theirs.

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What a nice compliment! If I were wealthy, I’d request this of my private chef 1 -2 times a month. The only time I’ve had a better lasagna was in the “best” Italian restaurant in Paris (long ago, can’t remember the name, might have been near Bastille) and that one had some pesto and white sauce, maybe not red sauce. Very memorable!


@aubergine but thats a totally different sauce from ragu bolognese, right? - you are proposing more southern italian flavors. Im sure its good on that flavor base, though. Myself, I like the ragu bolognese as is for lasagna - the recipe with simply ragu and besciamella is very delicate and delicious… If I were making a more robustly seasoned sauce, I would start heading for different fillings, like ricotta, meatballs, sausage and switch to commercial lasagna from the delicate egg based pasta she posits. Her lasagna probably maxes at like an inch in thickness


Agree. Delicate and delicious is a perfect description.

I’ve made the pasta, bought fresh pasta sheets, and used dried, and each changes the outcome. Homemade are the best, of course, but thin fresh ones can be just as good. The dried change the balance of the dish, but the flavors are still there.

Tweak the sauces, and it’s a different dish. Tasty, but different.

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Yes, my mother’s side is Southern Italian, raised in Connecticut. I just suggested … try her way, then you could try changing it like I did. My relatives never made lasagna, canneloni, fresh pasta. They were good cooks but I think this lasagna is heaven.

My daughter prefers lasagna with ricotta but that’s an entirely different dish. Delicious but different.

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Pulled out her first two books (we dont have Essentials - here are some of the recipes we have made with pleasure over the years in addition to those already mentioned - Asparagus and mushrooms sauteed in butter with black pepper (basically a stir fry), carrots with capers, sauteed peas with prosciutto, florentine style, and the aforesaid cabbage dish are some long term favorites; her minestrone di romagna I make frequently (without the zucchini and often with tuscan kale; it is very flexible with the vegetables); lentil soup; chickpeas soup, with variations; fusilli with creaqmy zucchini and basil sauce; conchiglie (shells) with sausage and cream; pasta or gnocchi with gorgonzola and cream; rice with fresh basil and mozzarella cheese; riso con la verza (arborio rice with sauteed cabbage, parsley and cheese) A+; conchiglie with bacon, peas and ricotta; spaghetti carbonara; pizzoccheri (another hearty cabbage dish - a production, for winter, if you can find rhe buckwheat noodles its not hard); pan roasted porgies with marjoram and lemon; various braises, like ossobucco alla milanese; liver with onions, venetian style; pork braised in milk (usually use shoulder rather than loin these days), sauteed chicken livers with sage. Etc. The Classic Itaiian Cookbook was purchased in 1979 and my son was born the next year so these were things (most of them - possibly excepting the fish and organ meats) that my kids ate at the dinner table. I loved it that she takes me by the hand and I can trust her to follow, though after so many years I can allow myself a few liberties. Just opening the books makes me realize how many other riches are there for me to explore these days.

But funnily enough I have never made the tomato sauce with butter and onion, and wasnt impressed by the chicken with a whole lemon recipe sometimes mentioned.


The chicken recipe is so simple, easy, delicious. I think an important part is buying a fresh organic chicken from a good butcher. I only like to eat white meat and this is still moist cold the next day.


Nor mine. It blows my dress up.

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