Claremont, Calif. (March 18, 2015)—Pitzer College alumna Jenn Louis ’93 shares recipes and top-chef tips for creating pasta in her debut cookbook, Pasta by Hand: A Collection of Italy’s Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta. The book will be released by Chronicle Books and available through major book retailer next week.
Pasta by Hand provides more than 65 recipes for traditional pastas and dumplings, ranging from gnocchi and gnudi to orecchiette and spatzli. Dozens of regional pasta specialties are making their first appearance in an English-language cookbook in Pasta by Hand. Louis includes step-by-step instructions for these DIY delicacies, plus recipes for perfectly paired sauces.
In the book’s forward, chef Mario Batali writes that he has “never encountered such a magnificent single-topic cookbook as Pasta by Hand.”
Louis fell in love with handmade pasta in Italy after graduating from Pitzer and backpacking through Europe. When she opened her first restaurant, she put fresh pasta on the menu, including a wide variety of mouth-pleasing, tongue-twisting Italian dumplings, such as sorcetti and malloreddus. She later returned to Italy to learn pasta-making by hand firsthand, finding teachers everywhere from rural wineries to Rome.
“We talked about flour types, kneading, their memoires of eating dumplings as children, and how the neighboring village’s dumpling were nowhere near as wonderful as the dumplings of their village,” Louis writes in the book’s introduction. “At the end of every lesson, we would sit at a table and eat together. We shared a sense of craftsmanship, tradition, and the meaning and value of hospitality.”
Louis is the executive chef and co-owner of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern in Portland. In 2012, she was named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs. She has twice been a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Northwest award. In 2013, she competed with a dozen other award-winning chefs on Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters.
Jenn Louis double majored in environmental studies and religious studies at Pitzer College.