Black & White & Red Sauce All Over

Gemelli, it says on page 114, “is an example of  pasta architecture at its best.”

Yes,  PASTA architecture.

There are hundreds of different shapes and figures of noodles, dumplings and other dough designs.

The Geometry of Pasta is an intriguing and appealing exploration of this world.

Each chapter in the alphabetically organized cookbook describes a certain pasta, looking at the history of its contours, ingredients and etymology.

With a nod to function following form, co-author chef Jacob Kennedy provides recipes using types of sauces or accompaniments that best suit each pasta’s design.

In Italy, this pairing of shape and flavor is an essential component in construction of the perfect pasta dish.

That’s what gave graphic designer Caz Hildebrand, the other author, the idea for the book.

But it’s Hildebrand’s gorgeous black and white illustrations that really bring the pages to life, vividly showcasing the diversity of forms and figures.

Combined with snippets of old Italian wisdom (“He who looks at magnitude is often mistaken: A grain of pepper conquers lasagna with its strength.“), the bold graphics make this a book you won’t want to put down, even when it’s time to cook.

Who knew grayscale line drawings could make you so ravenous?

[Thanks to Eric Smith at Quirk Books for the review copy, and h/t Drew Lazor at Citypaper]