American Sfoglino

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

American Sfoglino by Evan Funke is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late August.

Funke goes into the four main/classic doughs (or ‘sfoglia’) before delving into several not-so-familiar hand-rolled pasta shapes and dishes among the familiar (like lasagna, gnocchi, or tortellini) in generous, family-size plus a couple servings. Oh, I was supposed to throw away the dry bits of flour while kneading dough! This, alone, makes a whole world of sense and helps me with not just pasta-making, but with any kind of doughwork that I’d do in a kitchen in the future. He also emphasizes the importance of shaping the dough as you knead, wrapping it for storage just-so for fridge resting (like the most careful of prep cooks), measuring pasta thickness by the ply of Post-It notes (why it gotta 1 even & 2 odd numbers, Funke?), drawing clock numerals in flour at the top arc of the dough while rolling it out, and folding dough sheets into careful squares and rolls, then cutting through carefully yet precisely to get the width of noodle you need. I was particularly bowled over by the recipes for lasagna with spinach sfoglia that laps over the edges of a pan and crinkles into pages as it’s baked, herbed ragu with juniper berries and wild boar, bolognese ragu with a multi-spoked wheel of meat (i.e. pancetta, beef chuck, mortadella, pork shoulder, and prosciutto), walnut pesto, and maltagliati as being like shanxi noodles that I’ve had as part of a Chinese noodle bowl or soup.
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Is there anything better than fresh pasta? Okay it may be tied with bread. American Sfoglino is full of recipes for making your own pasta. Each recipe is accompanied by beautifully shot photos showing all the steps that are described. This makes the process easy to follow for even the complete newbie to pasta making. A good troubleshooting section is also included. Following the basic pasta dough recipes, the book moves into the various shapes of pasta and recipes to use your pasta. As with the dough recipes, there are multiple photos to walk you through the shaping process. This was a fun book to peruse though as someone who chooses a vegan diet, many of the recipes aren't usable for me as they contain various animal products.

Thank you to Chronicle Books and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Evan Funke and Katie Parla’s American Sfoglino: A Masterclass in Handmade Pasta is a book you will want to have as a hardcopy and maybe also as an ebook. It is an aspirational cookbook, with it’s beautiful photography. If you aspire to make pasta at home without a pasta maker, it is also a very practical cookbook. Through photography and description, Funke shows how to make some of the master doughs and pasta shapes of Bologna. If all you want to do is dream and look at beautiful pictures of food, this book has you covered too.

Funke is a two time James Beard Award winning chef and the co-owner of Felix Trattoria. He is also known for #fuckyourpastamachine on Instagram. His Instagram is great. If you are into pasta. Which I am.


Sfoglia is a pasta from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It’s rolled out by hand until it’s paper thin and then can be cut into a variety of shapes. If you look at the Instagram post below, you will notice that you can SEE THE WOODGRAIN THROUGH THE PASTA. While making Sfoglia does not require a pasta machine, it does require some tools. Funke walks through them and states what you need if you want to make pasta regularly and what you can use if you are an occasional pasta maker. A wine bottle and a regular counter top are fine. He explains why you need that 00 flour and not all purpose.


Even with a very good book, it takes time and practice to get good at pasta making. If you love to cook, it’s worth practicing. American Sfoglino may encourage and inspire you to try and try again.
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"American Sfoglino" explains how to mix, roll out, and shape pasta by hand (no pasta machine). Plus some pasta-related stories from Italy and the author's life. The author explained how to make hand-rolled sheet pasta and provided 4 master dough recipes for making pasta. He also explained how to use those recipes to make 15 different pasta types, from strands to shaped pasta to stuffed pasta. The pasta types were: Lasagna Verde Alla Bolognese, Pappardelle, Tagliatelle, Maltagliati, Strichetti, Garganelli, Triangoli, Tortelloni, Balanzoni, Tortellini, Sorpresine, Cestini, Caramelle, Strozzapreti, and Gnocchi de Ricotta. Included were step-by-step photos that clearly demonstrated how to roll out and to shape the pasta.

There were also recipes for pasta sauces, fillings, and dishes. He mainly talked about using the pasta when freshly made, but he did explain how you can best keep it for later use. He gave tips on making tasty, evenly-cooked pastas. He kept the equipment you need to a minimum and even gave some make-shift ways to do things without needing specialized equipment. However, he sometimes used ingredients in the pasta dishes (not the pasta but the finished dishes) that might not be easy for the average person to find. He also sometimes suggested easier-to-find alternatives. If you don't mind the work of making pasta by hand, then this book should be very helpful in learning how to hand make and use sheet pasta.
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I don't eat a lot of pasta (gluten and carbs) but when i do, I want it to be spectacular - which is not easy to achieve at home.  But the instructions in American Sfoglino are easy to follow, the ingredients are simple and commonplace and the results are magnificent!!!  I'm a skilled home cook but i think that just about anyone could achieve great results with this book.  Now my family is begging for homemade pasta all the time!
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This book is an honest representation of what it means to be a Sfoglino. I love how Evan Funke captured the real art of pasta making. The recipe methods are clearly defined and very easy to follow. His candid remarks about pasta making are both serious yet hilarious enough that it makes you heed all of his advice. Above all, you see, his passion reflected in this book. The photographs beautifully depict the artistry of pasta making and the heart that goes into every single dish. I was excited to review this book mainly because I closely follow Funke on social media. You know you can trust his recipes and I had no reservations when trying them. By the way, his method of measuring the thickness of pasta sheets (by post-it note thickness) is the highlight of this book. This guy is amazing.
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American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta from Evan Funke far exceeded my expectations, and I had fairly high expectations.

I approached this as something just barely more than simply a recipe book. So many books claim to be in depth or a "master class" but basically cover a few tips and procedures then offer a bunch of recipes. I don't really have a big problem with that as long as the recipes are reasonably put together and, hopefully, tasty (not the recipes themselves, the results, but you knew that). So I was blown away when this really did offer the depth and breadth one would expect from an in-person master class.

The information in general, the tips on handling and what tools to use, how to use those tools, what to expect and what unexpected results likely means you did wrong. I almost felt like I should raise my hand when I had a question. Fortunately, since I was actually alone, those questions were usually answered as I read on.

I would obviously recommend this to anyone who wants to create their own pasta. I would also highly recommend this to those who enjoy reading about food, its history and variations, and also enjoys reading recipes almost as short stories. I know people like that and they would love this book even if they never tried to make their own pasta. Me? Well, I'm going to give it a try, probably several.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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I have to begin by telling you that I love to cook and make things from scratch, so I look for books in cooking on how to do this. This book did not disappoint me at all. The book tells the history of the pastry, has a basics section on tools and ingredients you will need to make your own pasta. It is complete with pictures and I have decided I want the long wood rolling pin they have. These are pasta craftsmen who take you step by step on making your own pasta from start to finish. I like the fact the ingredients are in metric and measurements which helps not having to look it up. It also tells you how to store it and the length it will stay fresh.
Part one is the pastas and different types from Flour and Water Dough, Egg Dough to Spinach Dough.
Part two is the Pasta Shapes and Dishes from Lasagna Verde Alla Bologonese, Tagliatelle to Tortelilni and Gnocchi Di Ricotta.
Having made my own pasta before (not to this extent) I can tell you the difference in the taste and texture will make you never go back to boxed pasta. I recommend this book for any cook, if not for the recipes for the lessons it teaches.
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Wow, what a book. I love pasta and do sometimes make my own, albeit with a "f**ing pasta machine". This takes you so much further into the history and techniques to make the real deal. The details are entrancing, the recipes look delicious yet simple - just use fresh ingredients ideally picked half an hour before you use them. I totally go for that. Photos of making dough and forming shapes are especially helpful and I'm so glad we have digital images now - the first 5000 photos for the book! Can you imagine converting that to rolls of film. I shall take time, occasionally only I admit, to have a go at the more straightforward types from scratch and think that it would be a while before I came anywhere near to feeling confident with cestini or other filled shapes. But you never know. A book like this might just get the juices going. Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Such a great book! I was tempted to gloss over The Basics (um, I dunno why I would since I've made pasta less than a handful of times in my life) but catching the subtitle 'F**** Your Pasta Machine' I realized I need to read this book word for word. It helps that it's such a beautifully designed book - gorgeous photos, great layout, easy-to-follow recipes, all of which make for a great cookbook (to me). Being an office worker, and seeing instructions 'thickness of approximately 4 Post-It Notes/7 Post-It Notes/9 Post-It Notes' just made me laugh out loud. It's a perfect measurement for me! Seeing lasagna made with whole pasta sheets versus store bought strips was a REVELATION. While I'm grateful to have been approved to review this book, I'm slightly sad that it was too large for a Kindle -- I would love to have this book as a reference book in my cookbook library.
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Sfoglia like at their mama's home. For those of us passionate about the art of Italian pastamaking, but who cannot attend a course by Alessandra Spisni, this book gives a glimpse in what we could learn from attending the school of puff pastry and traditional Bolognese cuisine founded by the maestra. The book starts by providing an overview of the equipment and ingredients needed for successfully preparing pasta sheets, with lots of useful details like the type of pastry cutter, the best rolling pin, as well as tips on how to avoid drying the pasta or how to design your own rolling pin and tagliere. I haven't encountered this level of detail and attention for the equipment used in other pasta making cookbooks. The book continues with an ample description accompanied by step-by-step pictures for making the dough. The same attention to detail can be found, for example by describing with precise attention the movement of the hands: "turn the dough counterclockwise using your nondominant hand, moving it as you knead in 2.5-5 cm increments, like the hour markings on a clock." An abundance of recipes and variations follow, from spinach sheets to gnocchi, lasagna, papardelle as well as basic sauces (Bechamel, meat broth, tomato passata). There are troubleshooting advice spread throughout the book in case at one stage in the process something didn't turn quite right. 
I felt that the pictures did justice to the dishes and helped highlights the main steps of preparation. The pictures were vivid and the sizing very well chosen. After reading the review copy, i wanted to order the book *now*, to put it by the kitchen counter and start preparing the recipes.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

This debut cookbook from Evan Funke, esteemed chef of L.A.'s Felix Trattoria, is a comprehensive guide to the best pasta in the world. Sharing classic techniques from his Emilia-Romagna training, Funke provides accessible instructions for making his award-winning sfoglia (sheet pasta) at home.

With little more than flour, eggs, and a rolling pin, home cooks can recreate 15 classic pasta shapes, spanning simple pappardelle to perfect tortelloni, plus recipes for a variety of generous dishes, from essential sauces and broths.

Stories from Italy and the kitchen at Felix Trattoria add the finishing touches to this master class in pasta, while sumptuous photographs and a bold package offer a feast for the eyes.

Note From the Publisher
***********************************
SFOGLIA (sfol-EE-a): A sheet of hand-rolled fresh pasta dough. SFOGLINO or sfoglina (sfol-YEE-no or sfol-YEE-na): A maker of fresh pasta sheets.

An interesting book from an expert chef that failed to excite me. At all. Why? This is a very, very, very specific cookbook - $25USD/$50CAD is a lot for a cookbook about flour, water, eggs and some yummy sounding sauces --- if you love pasta and are dying to make pasta (and invest in a $100++ roller to make the sheets in) this would be an excellent book for your shelf of a gift for someone who loves pasta.  For someone who is just a middle of the road book, they might get something out of the book, but it is very pricey. 
	
It was also very hard to read parts of the review copy due to the anti-theft watermark - that, along with zero photos (so I had no idea what the sauces and kinds of pasta looked like in the end) made it a very middling to somewhat boring book for me to read and review, truth be told. 

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by Millennials on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🍝🍝. (I said that I would be honest!!)
			
NOTE: I STILL cannot link this review to LinkedIn - there is something wrong with the linking/programming and it will not happen.
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