This hefty, comprehensive and lavishly illustrated new book from Missy Robbins, the chef and an owner of the restaurants Lilia and Misi in Brooklyn, covers pasta from flour to finishing. After a few pages of biography, Ms. Robbins plunges right in with details about making fresh pasta with or without eggs, rolled and extruded, shape by shape. She is exceedingly precise; no guesswork here nor in the nearly 100 recipes that follow. There are Italian American dishes like penne alla vodka and regional Italian preparations, including tajarin al tartufo from the north, cacio e pepe from central Italy and bucatini con le sarde from the south. Ms. Robbins also includes her own creations, like a simple rigatoni diavola and an alluring spaghetti with colatura, garlic and bread crumbs. Waiting for spring is her plate of strichetti with smashed peas and prosciutto, and she wraps things up with a handful of vegetable dishes like olive oil-poached zucchini with grilled bread and oregano, and bitter lettuces and herbs in vinaigrette. Additionally, Ms. Robbins provides lists of specific equipment and necessary ingredients. But the tome is written with a light hand, so despite all of the rules demanding respect it’s not at all stern.
“Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food, With Recipes” by Missy Robbins and Talia Baiocchi (Ten Speed Press, $40).
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