Sunday Pasta: A Year Around the Table with Family and Friends—sounds like the life, right? It’s also the title of food blogger Edwin Garrubbo’s first-ever cookbook, which just debuted in 2014. In Sunday Pasta, Garrubbo draws from his culinary experiences as a dual citizen of Italy and the USA and as the founding writer of The Garrubbo Guide, a website dedicated to Italian food. The book is based on Garrubbo’s weekly column and newsletter of the same name and shares 54 recipes, one for almost every week of the year.
Each of the recipes is arranged by season to match taste and available ingredients. With that established, Garrubbo assures readers that any pasta can be made at any time of the year. While some chefs are strict about their pasta, Garrubbo admits his recipes are intuitive, and he sometimes breaks the “rules” to follow the flavor.
The dishes of Sunday Pasta are accompanied by pictures and tips to help make every family meal or small party an all-around treat. Illustrated with original full-color photography by Fabio Paparelli, Sunday Pasta is a visual to devour. The closeup shots let readers see the slick finish of fresh pasta and the bright color and texture of the special ingredients, so that every recipe has its own personality on the page.
A bit of Garrubbo’s personality is part of the book as well, as the author includes anecdotes with every recipe. Some of these notes touch on family stories or the native region of the recipe, while others play around with pop culture references to movies such as Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and controversial asides such as “who needs Mandarin when you can learn French.”
The concise wine pairings are more practical, if wine is a practical thing at all. Written by Christy Canterbury, one of just 32 Masters of Wine in the USA, the recommendations describe one or two whites and reds and sometimes a rosato, so one can try them all or choose a local, lower-priced bottle of a similar character.
The recipes themselves include pastas and one bonus risotto. Popular in Italian kitchens and restaurants, many of the recipes are grandmothered in, which is to say, passed down through the family. Others Garrubbo picked up from chefs and friends in his life and travels in New York, Rome, and New Orleans, to name a few influential cities on his culinary map. The diverse collection of recipes ranges from crowd-pleasing penne with tomato sauce to acquired tastes such as bucatini with sardines. Readers will find both straightforward instructions, such as those for making spinach and ricotta gnudi from scratch, and attention to presentation, as hinted at by the introductory image of timpano pantheon on a cake topper. Most of the recipes are simple enough to be scrounged up for a weekday dinner, too, provided one has quality pasta and olive oil in the pantry.
For those not sure what makes olive oil “extra virgin” and detail-craving gourmands of all stripes, Garrubbo introduces the history and preparation of pasta and its ingredients. In the first section of the book, Garrubbo explains food classification and protected origins, provides a recipe for homemade pasta, and lists key ingredients to keep in stock. At the end, he also includes a guide to pasta shapes and sizes, a glossary of terms to know, and note pages for one’s own additions.
In just 160 pages, Garrubbo compiles everything one needs to begin an adventure in authentic Italian cooking. Sunday Pasta is a handy guide for beginners and a worthwhile resource for anyone on the prowl for their next go-to recipe. The book can be acquired online or in bookstores, $35 for hardcover and $20 for the ebook. Photography by Fabio Paparelli.