By Jenn Louis
Chronicle Books; $25
Warning: Don’t open this book when hungry. The rustic, hand-shaped pastas photographed by Ed Anderson are so tempting that you’ll want to eat them right o the page. Plus, the recipes themselves focus on what may be the ultimate comfort food: dumplings. Yes, the title of this cookbook says pasta, but Jenn Louis, chef/owner of Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Oregon, is not talking about spaghetti or fettucine. Driven by her passion for gnocchi, she spent years traveling Italy and researching all the quirky hand-shaped pastas the country has to offer. Organized by region, the pastas include familiar cavatelli, orecchiette, and gnocchi with variations on the latter making up a large (and delicious) chunk of the book’s 65 recipes. You’ll also be introduced to ciciones, itty-bitty hand-rolled balls of saffron-infused semolina-egg dough, and pasta grattugiata, a grated pasta made from breadcrumbs and served in chicken broth. Most of these recipes take time, but that’s the whole point: these are dishes to make when you want to slow down and enjoy the process.
Winter Squash Cavatelli This dough was easy to handle, and the texture was spot on, though I wanted to add salt (the recipe didn’t call for any). I served them with the suggested pairing of her Gorgonzola Cream Sauce, which is bowl-licking good stuff.
Gnocchi alla Romana Polenta-like rounds of semolina, milk, and eggs get topped with butter and cheese and baked into a dish of pure golden-brown deliciousness.
Photos by Ed Anderson