I've learned more from reading Marcella Hazan's cookbooks over the years than I have from any chef other than Jacques Pepin. She was tough, unsparing, beautiful.
Here's a nice tribute over at Food 52.
Marcella died yesterday. Check out a good series of links at Dinner: A Love Story.
And from the obituary in the Times:
The impact Mrs. Hazan had on the way America cooks Italian food is impossible to overstate. Even people who have never heard of Marcella Hazan cook and shop differently because of her, and the six cookbooks she wrote, starting in 1973 with “The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating.”
“She was the first mother of Italian cooking in America,” said Lidia Bastianich, the New York restaurateur and television cooking personality.
Mrs. Hazan embraced simplicity, precision and balance in her cooking. She abhorred the overuse of garlic in much of what passed for Italian food in the United States, and would not suffer fools afraid of salt or the effort it took to find quality ingredients.
Her tomato sauce, enriched with only an onion, butter and salt, embodies her approach, but she has legions of devotees to other recipes, among them her classic Bolognese, pork braised in milk and her minestrone.