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An Invitation to Italian Cooking [Hardcover]
The essence of Italian cooking is its reliance on superb ingredients and on simple cooking methods, both of which are the basis of An Invitation to Italian Cooking. Each recipe is overlaid with the personal touches that make Antonio Carluccio's cookbooks so popular and instructive. From Risotto con Porcini, a famed specialty of Piedmont, to the Roman favorite, Carciofi alla Giudea (Jewish Artichokes), and Cannoli alla Siciliana—Antonio demonstrates his mastery of the complete Italian eating experience.

The Beauty of Italian Pasta

Discover the beautiful Italian pasta dishes and learn how to prepare tasteful meals by using our easy to prepare recipes and countless possibilities of pasta.

The Italians invented pasta and have been enjoying it since the days of ancient Rome.

Buon Appetito!
Italian Pasta
How to Cook Perfect Pasta
Use between 4 and 5 quarts of boiling water for every pound of dry pasta. Add 2 tsp. of salt to every gallon of water you are using and bring water to a rolling boil. Always add pasta in small quantities to keep the water rolling boil. Start stiring with a wooden spoon immediately after adding the pasta to the water, to stop it sticking to the bottom of the cooking pan and keep stiring occasionally during cooking to prevent sticking.

Never cover the pan and always follow the package directions for cooking times. Taste the pasta to determine if it is done.

Perfect boiled pasta is cooked "al dente", which means "to the tooth" or firm to the bite, but cooked through.

Drain cooked pasta immediatelly to stop the cooking action and do not rinse unless the recipe says to do so.
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Did You Know?
At first, dry pasta was a luxury item in Italy because of high labor costs, durum wheat semolina had to be kneaded for a long time. Only after the industrial revolution in Naples, when a mechanical die process allowed for large scale production of dry pasta, did it become affordable and popular among the common people.

Fresh pastas do not expand in size after cooking, therefore, one and a half pounds of pasta are needed to serve 4 people generously.

Good pasta can be recognized by its bright amber color which means it has been cooked to perfection.

The better the pasta, the less it tends to stick together. If your pasta turns into a ball in the strainer, it is a potential sign of poor quality pasta.

You can always tell good pasta by how much chewing it requires. The more you need to chew, the better the pasta.

Quality pasta has a subtle nutty flavour to it.

Quality pasta has a matte finish with a consistent look.

There are several health benefits to consuming pasta, especially whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat are low in calories and contains considerable amounts of minerals including, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium and manganese.

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Helpful Pasta Tips
Never leave the pasta sitting in the warm water as it will continue to cook.

If you are cooking pasta for cold salads or you are not going to use pasta immediately, drain and rinse pasta with cold water and toss lightly with vegetable oil to prevent pasta from sticking and drying out.

When you are cooking fresh pasta, some cooks suggest to add a teaspoon of olive oil in the cooking water, to prevent pasta from sticking. Others don't think this advice is a good idea, because oil coats the surface of the pasta, affecting its abiliti to absorb the sauce. Let your own instincts guide you however, just  remember that in life and cooking there is always some exception that proves the rule.
At Figs, which was voted Best Italian Restaurant by USA Today and cited by Boston magazine and Zagat's as having the best pizza in Boston, there's something for everyone in the family, from Macaroni Simoni for the kids, Portobello Mushrooms, to Mushroom Purée, and Fontina Cheese Pizza for more sophisticated palates. And no one will turn down a taste of the White-Chocolate Challah Pudding with Caramel Sauce.
Simple or complex, sweet or savory, any dish from The Figs Table makes any meal special.