Marcella Hazan 1924-2103

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FAMILY: MARCELLA HAZAN, INFLUENTIAL ITALIAN CHEF AND COOKBOOK AUTHOR, DIES AT 89 AT FLA. HOME
Associated Press | The Washington Post

She eschewed the American-style Italian food that suffocated mushy pasta in grainy meatballs and tasteless cheese. She begged home cooks to use more salt and once wrote that if readers were concerned about salt affecting one’s life expectancy, to “not read any further.” On the topic of garlic, Hazan took a sharp view.

“The unbalanced use of garlic is the single greatest cause of failure in would-be Italian cooking,” she wrote in her 2004 cookbook “Marcella Says…” ‘’It must remain a shadowy background presence. It cannot take over the show.”

. . . In 2004, Marcella Hazan wrote, “Simple doesn’t mean easy. I can describe simple cooking thus: Cooking that is stripped all the way down to those procedures and those ingredients indispensable in enunciating the sincere flavor intentions of a dish.”

Hazan said the Roman dish spaghettini aio e oio — thin spaghetti with garlic, oil, parsley, chili pepper and nothing else — embodies the simple-yet-complex nature of Italian food. Dishes should nourish and please, she added, not “dazzle guests with my originality or creativity.”

“I am never bored by a good old dish and I wouldn’t shrink from making something that I first made fifty years ago and my mother, perhaps, fifty years before then,” she wrote. “I don’t cook ‘concepts.’ I use my head, but I cook from the heart, I cook for flavor.”

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RECIPE: TOMATO SAUCE WITH ONION AND BUTTER
Giuliano Hazan | Saveur

My mother’s tomato, butter, and onion sauce unfailingly elicits feelings of comfort and well-being. Its ability to wash away fatigue and anxiety is almost miraculous, and its preparation borders on alchemy. Who would think that simply putting tomatoes, a peeled halved onion, butter, and salt in a pot and cooking it with barely an occasional stir until it is reduced, would produce such concentrated goodness? In my freezer there is always a batch, ready to be defrosted and enjoyed in the time it takes to cook some pasta.

MAKES 3 CUPS

INGREDIENTS
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
¼ tsp. sugar
1 (28-oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Bring butter, sugar, tomatoes, and onion, to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld and sauce is slightly reduced, about 45 minutes. Discard onion, and season sauce with salt and pepper before serving.

MARCELLA HAZAN’S TOMATO SAUCE WITH ONION AND BUTTER
Jaden Hair | The Steamy Kitchen
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MEETING MARCELLA AND VICTOR HAZAN
Jaden Hair | The Steamy Kitchen

It’s funny how a little thing like lunch can be a life changer.

For Marcella Hazan, it was when Craig Claiborne of the NY Times came to lunch in 1970….and shortly thereafter, celebrities, writers, chefs and other-important-people-who-can-make-your-career started coming to Marcella’s classes to learn about authentic Italian cooking. Six best-selling books, Lifetime Achievement awards and changing the way Americans cook, think, enjoy Italian food…that’s Marcella.

My life changing lunch was last week.

It was a bit unexpected – I’ve been friends with Lael and Guiliano Hazan (Marcella’s son) for the past couple of years but never imagined that I’d be meeting Marcella. And it wasn’t until Pamela Sheldon Johns swung by the area on book tour that I had that chance. A few emails, text messages and phone calls with Pamela and it was decided that lunch at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota was the plan, and that Marcella would be joining us.

I really didn’t know what to expect, I had heard Marcella was intense and intimidating, but I would have expected nothing less from the “doyenne of Italian cooking in America“…a fervent force of nature, indeed!

Lunch was pleasant, I was on my best behavior and didn’t slurp my Pork Belly Ramen Noodles like I normally would, for fear that a long slingy noodle would slurp-lash rich broth at my dining companions. Conversation flitted between Pamela’s cooking school in Italy to olive oil to cookbooks to book tour to travel.

No, wait. Pamela and I flitted. Marcella listened, at moments her eyes would gaze away and just when I thought we had bored her to tears, she’d smile and cut our sing-song fluttery conversation with her wisdom, bluntness and staunchy opinions.

And that was our lunch.

But that wasn’t THE LUNCH that I was referring to.
read more

MARCELLA HAZAN’S BAGNA CAUDA
Saveur
SERVES 4 – 6

This lusty dish, whose Italian name means warm bath, provides the perfect counterpoint to raw vegetables. This recipe is based on one in Essentials of Classic Italian Cuisine (Knopf, 1992) by Marcella Hazan.

1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 salt-cured anchovy filets, rinsed, boned,
and finely chopped
Kosher salt
Assortment of raw, cut-up cauliflower, carrots, celery, radicchio, and radishes

1. Heat oil and butter in a pot over medium-high heat until butter begins to foam. Add garlic; cook for 10 seconds.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add anchovies. Cook, stirring and mashing anchovies with a wooden spoon, until anchovies are broken into very small pieces and dip is cloudy, 3–4 minutes.

3. Season with salt to taste and serve immediately as a dip for an assortment of raw vegetables.
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About Marc Brazeau

Free lance cultural attaché. Writing at REALFOOD.ORG.

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