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Book review: Pasta by Theo Randall

Book review: Pasta by Theo Randall
Theo Randall
Ebury Press
RRP £18.99
The first thing that strikes you about top chef Theo Randall's debut cookbook is the endpapers- featuring stylised illustrations of myriad pasta shapes along with the names which so often elude even the keenest foodie- pansotti, stracci and cannolichi, to name a few.
Randall has chosen pasta as his topic, and it's a niche he sits very comfortably within. Recipes range from those perfect for weekday suppers to offerings guaranteed to impress the most jaded dinner party guest. Whether you want a meal on the table in minutes, or yearn after a lazy afternoon hand-shaping your own silky pasta for the Pigeon agnolotti, you'll find the means here.
'Pasta' is one book that does just as it says on the tin- guiding the reader through fresh and dried pastas, then onto sauces and preparations featuring various vegetables, fish, meats and cheeses. Within the latter, Ravioli with sheep's ricotta, lemon and peas sounds delectable. It's easy to navigate and very user-friendly- more of a worktop staple than a coffee table trophy.
Randall served as head chef at the legendary River Cafe for a decade- and the influence is clear with ingredient combinations such as Rigatoni with peas, artichokes, broad beans and prosciutto. Instruction is comprehensive and illustration abundant, rendering 'Pasta' perfect for novices as well as more experienced cooks looking to hone their skills. 
There's clearly a passion for ingredient-led, flavourful dishes here- one which is translated through both the prose and the collection of recipes. Randall's approach is clean and straightforward, and with 'Pasta' he's set to become a loud voice in many a domestic kitchen.
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28 July 2010
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