My first book review! Hazan Family Favorites

by Sarah on May 10, 2012

pasta with orange

When I first looked through Hazan Family Favorites by Giuliano Hazan, it felt familiar, as if I had been cooking from it for years. In a way, I had, through his mother. Many of Marcella Hazan’s recipes- pesto, béchamel, minestrone-are included in the younger chef’s book. However, Giuliano shares not only his love of Italian cuisine but the everyday foods of his family.  It is a fascinating and personal tale that traverses religions and continents, each recipe a link to their heritage.

It is also a story of tradition and innovation. Italian latkes and ham and cheese crespelles may seem incongruent but are very much part of Giuliano’s multicultural upbringing. He draws from both his Christian and Jewish background and merges them to be his own. However, it is the Arabic style of cooking, the commonality of his paternal and maternal grandparents, that unifies his kitchen.

Giuliano’s search for the flavors of his childhood culminated in a collection of recipes that spans four generations.  While he serves the same stuffed zucchini his grandparents once made for him, his daughters, Gabriella and Michela, are now creating their own signature dishes.

The fettuccine with orange, inspired by his youngest was the first recipe I attempted. It is genius! Within an hour I had lunch on the table with enough time to style and photograph before it was devoured (delicious even with readymade pasta). My husband had only one word to describe it- “fantastic!”

I may have too many cookbooks- overflowing from their bookcase, scattered on the kitchen table, in a pile near my bed. Yet with all the cookbooks there are only a select few that I always return too. These are my kitchen companions, a bit splattered a stained, but right there where the action is. Over time, the pages hold not only recipes but the memories of making them. Hazan Family Favorites is going to be one of them.

pasta with orange, orange zest

 

What are the attributes of my favorite cookbooks?

  1. I’m always searching for interesting ways to use fresh, seasonal ingredients and avoid most factory made products. With the sea fifteen minutes away, foods featuring the bounty of the Mediterranean region will obviously be more useful to me (there are no mangosteens to be found here).
  2. As a working mother, I come home in the afternoon and race to get the food ready before the kids get back from school. In Israel the main meal is in the middle of the day so a quick sandwich is not adequate. I’m always looking for creative recipes that are neither complicated nor time consuming.
  3. Size is important. While coffee table editions catch the eye they are often impractical. Large, panoramic books are cumbersome and don’t fit on the kitchen counter and can’t be propped up.
  4. A connection. Recipes are boring without context. History, culture, art, personal memoir, even humor is part of the culinary world. Without this the book reads like a lab manual, just a brunch of protocols.
  5. It’s not only about the text. Beautiful photography adds visual appeal and is often the first reason why a book gets noticed. Of course without quality content this isn’t enough.
  6. For the compliments!

Hazan Family Favorites rates 6/6.

Other recipes I tried:

Tagliata with garlic and parsley- A few simple ingredients can do wonders to a steak.

Risotto with fresh tomatoes, peas and porcini- My very first risotto! Finally a recipe that doesn’t call for broth since I rarely have it on hand.

I received a copy of the cookbook from the publisher

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa May 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

An interesting sounding cookbook! My kind of book. I love Italian food.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Sarah May 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Thanks Rosa, It’s a very useful book for me, lots of great ideas.

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Yael the Finn May 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Lovely pictures again Sarah! And that books sounds really good;I have had for years Giuliano Hazan’s the Classic Pasta Cookbook(in Finnish…),which I love:)

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Sarah May 11, 2012 at 12:31 am

Thanks Yael, So Giuliano’s book was translated into Finnish? Nice to know they appreciate good pasta in Finland!

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Yael the Finn May 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

Yes ,they do…My brother used to own the best pasta restaurant in Helsinki;D

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Sarah May 24, 2012 at 3:19 am

Wow, Yael, you are full of surprises

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Gayle May 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Wait a second – I want the recipe! I have some fresh pasta (from the grocery store…I’m not up to making my own these days) and two oranges sitting on my counter… what will I do? Great review, by the way.

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usha May 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm

WELL DONE !

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Giuliano Hazan May 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Thank you very much for your glowing review of my book. You really captured the essence of what I was going for! I hope you’ll continue to enjoy cooking from it.

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Sarah May 11, 2012 at 12:32 am

You’re welcome, I’ve got many more recipes I would like to try (next up/ the stuffed tomatoes)

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Eha May 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Thank you very much for drawing my/our attention to such an interesting compilation of recipes from such a beloved family background. When I first got married Marcella Hazan was one of my ‘teachers’ for all those first uncertain dinner parties. I’ll be very happy to make the Hazan family favourites my own! [can't wait to try the fettucine with orange :) !]

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Katherine Martinelli May 11, 2012 at 12:15 am

Wonderful review!! I love Marcella Hazan and it sounds like her children are carrying on the torch quite nicely. A risotto without stock? I’m intrigued…

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Debbie May 11, 2012 at 6:04 am

Hi Sarah,

I’m from Melbourne, Australia and I really love your food blog! In December last year I went to Israel for the first time for two reasons, one to experience the land, the people and the food and the other reason is because I’m a Christian who loves Israel with all of my heart! I really appreciate receiving your food blogs because I appreciate how you not only mention an authentic recipe but you also talk about history and current life in Israel. Your food blogs really warm my heart so much because it reminds me of being in Israel.

In regards to how you judge cookbooks I totally agree, however, I also have a high standard of judging a cookbooks for authenticity. I like recipes to be authentic and these can be hard to come by, that’s why I appreciate your food blog. In my experiences I have known authors to get one spice such as ground cumin and call a recipe anything they want such as Indian or Moroccan or Mexican even if the recipe only has one teaspoon of ground cumin and no other spices! This makes me upset (as a passionate foodie) because I know real authentic recipes no matter what you are cooking would have more than just one teaspoon of a spice, it would have many spices!

Sarah, I really appreciate your food blog, it really means so much to me!

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Sarah May 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

Thank you Debbie for such a thoughtful comment. I tend to buy cookbooks based on authenticity too but also love the creativity in cooking as well. In addition, I’m much more likely to use a modern style cookbook if it is based on local produce than one that is authentic but with hard to obtain ingredients (for me that would be Asian)

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Debbie May 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Thank-you Sarah for your reply! I guess that’s why it is so good to live in Australia (even though I really miss Israel!) because we have access to all food from all cultures, and the fun is in learning where to go to buy the ingredients you are looking for and discovering new places to go to and new people to meet who know their culture and food well to be able to teach you. Shabbat Shalom!

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love2dine May 12, 2012 at 6:42 am

That definitely is finger licking good!

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Daphna Ariel / From Florida May 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm

How exciting, would love to get this new book. Your reviews always prevails positive experiences for me.
I have had many a time pasta with lemon which is very refreshing. So with Orange, it should be as well. I can almost taste it but craving to add something else without seeing the recipe.., is it thyme, oregano, white wine., roasted chicken or grilled shrimp on the side perhaps.(I am a creative one) with probobly as many cookbooks in my collection as you have Sarah..
Hugs,
Daphna / from Florida (previously Carmel)

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Jamie May 24, 2012 at 3:14 am

Wonderful review of a great cookbook. This is my third book of Giuliano’s and as you said they are books I cook from often – the recipes are simple and well-explained and the food is simply fabulous. I do love the multi-cultural aspects of the recipes in this one and his story makes for fascinating reading. I also want to try this orange pasta dish!

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Sarah May 24, 2012 at 3:18 am

Jamie, Do try the orange pasta, we all loved it!

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