As an instructor, the late Marcella Hazan, who died Sunday at her home in Florida, was nothing if not rigorous. In fact, she could be downright dogmatic, particularly when it came to what she considered to be travesties against her beloved Italian cooking.
Hazan was sometimes compared in importance to Julia Child, and if she never quite achieved Child’s personal popularity, her impact can be measured in the widespread popularity in this country of the cuisine she loved and championed.
"There wasn't anything like a classic Italian cookbook before Marcella," her editor Judith Jones once said. "She was really the first to make Northern Italian cuisine available to Americans."
In her third book, “Marcella’s Italian Kitchen,” Hazan laid out her “Elementary Rules” — though, Marcella being Marcella, there were 22 commandments rather than just 10. Nonetheless, they are as true today as they were when she wrote them more than 25 years ago.
1. Use no Parmesan that is not Parmigiano-Reggiano.
2. Never buy grated cheese of any kind; grate cheese fresh when ready to use.
3. Do not overcook pasta. Do not precook pasta.
4. Do not esteem so-called fresh pasta more than the dry, factory-made variety.
5. Unless you are on a medically prescribed diet, do not shrink from using what salt is necessary to draw out the flavor of food.
6. Dress salads with no other oil than olive.
7. Do not turn heavy cream into a warm bath for pasta or for anything else. Reduce it, reduce it, reduce it.
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