Mario Batali Unclogged

Mario Batali on all things Italian—and, sometimes, more.

 

About the author: Mario Batali has created a thriving restaurant empire and has established himself as a top restaurateur. Together with his partner, Joe Bastianich, he operates seven New York City hotspots. Mario splits his time between New York City's Greenwich Village and northern Michigan with his wife Susan Cahn of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons. More Mario: mariobatali.com.

 

From Recipes

Mario Batali's Crab Tortelloni with Scallions and Poppy Seeds

Unclogged: Mario Batali's Valentine's Day Menu

Mario UncloggedThis year for Valentine's Day, I'm taking my kids and wife, Susi, out for our traditional fondue fest at Artisanal. We all send Susi a dozen wacky flowers (never roses—way too common), and then it's out for the first seating at 5:30 p.m. for some cheese and chocolate, and then home early!

My ideal menu celebrates the most mysterious and romantic town of Italia—Venezia—and is based on Carnevale, which always falls near, and sometimes overlaps, with Valentine's Day. The celebration is simple and based on seafood and birds from the Venetian lagoon—or the closest lagoon to you.

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From Recipes

Mario Batali's Quail Spiedini with Sage Polenta and Asiago

From Recipes

Mario Batali's Brutti Ma Buoni Cookies

From Recipes

Mario Batali's Basic Pasta Dough

Unclogged: Mario Batali's Super Bowl Menu

Mario UncloggedFor the Super Bowl, I love to serve what I call "team icon food"—classics
from the hometowns of the playing teams. It's especially exciting this year, as New York
and Beantown have great options.

Here's my menu and timing, from pre- to post-game. Feel free to use it yourself. If you are going to do this at home, remember to keep the portions small—it's easy to have way too much food, and quarters don't last that long.

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Mario Unclogged: Christmas Day

Mario UncloggedOn Christmas morning, we wake up at 8, light the fire, open presents, and eat lightly: clementines, Marchesi panettone from gustiamo.com (which will become your only panettone once you taste it), and scrambled eggs with white truffles. Lunch really does not happen, but I fire up the pizza oven as we head out to ski.

For dinner we go to the American South for inspiration. I put a ham from Nodines with cloves and a brown sugar glaze in the slow wood oven and steal the rest from the Lee Brothers' excellent cookbook; we eat black eyed peas, collard greens, biscuits with black truffle honey from Otto and then finish with a selection of chocolate gifts from my friend Katrina at Vosges Haut-Chocolate and some cool confections from Camilo de Blas in Oviedo, Spain, including glazed hazelnuts, tiny bitter chocolate creams, and a bottle of orujo de hierbas to burn the path clear.

The rest of the week is devoted to football, ping pong, and snow activities with the boys.

From Recipes

Mario Unclogged: Christmas Eve

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Christmas Eve this year is the Feast of the Two Fishes. We are doing my linguine with clams, hot chiles, and pancetta, but I'm subbing my dad's "mole" salami for pancetta to give it a deeper spice component. The main course will be super jumbo stone crab claws from Joe's—yes, served with their mustard sauce—a green salad, and some Guido's garlic bread.

Desserts will be espresso drops and coconut balls (first step, find the coconut's legs) both from Martha Stewart's magazine Everyday Food because my kids find it very accessible and there is a photo for every cookie. I will make a version of Gina DePalma's chocolate hazelnut kisses, and we will surrender early to a deep mug of hot buttered rum from my mom's recipe file, which I'm sharing with you in this post here.

About the author: Mario Batali has created a thriving restaurant empire and has established himself as a top restaurateur. Together with his partner, Joe Bastianich, he operates seven New York City hotspots. Mario splits his time between New York City's Greenwich Village and northern Michigan with his wife, Susan Cahn, of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons. More Mario: mariobatali.com.

From Recipes

Mario Unclogged: Seven Fishes Shrimp and Pesto

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Most purists in Italy consider any sauce for any fish to be nearly heretical, but in Liguria, the herbacious bath of pesto has the weight of barely floral scented spring and early summer breezes so, the odd exception is often made.

In this case the particularly briny shrimp from the Mare Tirreno marry well with a pesto with less cheese than normal and a slight increase in the pine nut content. The first time I tried this was at a seriously relaxed place on the high end in Portofino callled Il Splendido. There is a pool terrace and then a casual restaurant in the garden where they serve lunch only to high-roller Euro types and American heiresses who missed the boat to Clooney's house over on Lago di Como and where, despite the often kiss-kiss-mwah crowd, the food is actually killer.

They serve these marinated shrimp on the salad buffet (I know what you're thinking, and it is not that way here; it is truly exquisite), but they also do a piatto del giorno with a fresh puffy pillow of focaccia genovese, piled with shrimp, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and giant, nearly bitter arugula leaves. Two glasses of local vermentino and a plate of green melon and the nap by the pool puts you into the dreams of Gian Vincenzo Imperiale.

Seven Fishes Shrimp and Pesto

About the author: Mario Batali has created a thriving restaurant empire and has established himself as a top restaurateur. Together with his partner, Joe Bastianich, he operates seven New York City hotspots. Mario splits his time between New York City's Greenwich Village and northern Michigan with his wife, Susan Cahn, of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons. More Mario: mariobatali.com.

From Recipes

Mario Unclogged: Latkes With Apple Sauce

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Editor's note: Mario Batali had never participated in any Hanukkah rituals until he came to New York and met his wife, who loves making a big deal about Hanukkah for their kids. But just because he was a Hanukkah neophyte doesn't mean he didn't have a strong point of view about latkes and apple sauce, as you can tell from this. —Ed

We love to celebrate all holidays—especially the ones that have a specific food item. In the case of the first night of Hanukkah in our house, we make latkes and apple sauce. We celebrate alone with no guests and keep it very simple. We peel spuds and apples like devils and then make the stuff. Then we light the candles and say the prayers in our limited ability and then eat happily. It's a tradition.

Mario Unclogged: Restaurant Playlists

Music in Mario Batali's restaurants is anything but an afterthought. Find out how he likes to pair pasta and rock and roll in this episode of Unclogged. —Ed

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Mario Unclogged: Clocks in Restaurants

About Mario: Mario Batali has created a thriving restaurant empire and has established himself as a top restaurateur. Together with his partner, Joe Bastianich, he operates seven New York City hotspots. Mario splits his time between New York City's Greenwich Village and northern Michigan with his wife, Susan Cahn, of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons. More Mario: mariobatali.com.

Mario Unclogged: Colliding with Marco Pierre White

Want to know what happened when Mario Batali, Serious Eats' Irresistible Force, collided with the culinary world's Immovable Object, Marco Pierre White, over a hotel pan full of risotto? Find out today in episode 2 of Mario Unclogged. —Ed

About Mario: Mario Batali has created a thriving restaurant empire and has established himself as a top restaurateur. Together with his partner, Joe Bastianich, he operates seven New York City hotspots. Mario splits his time between New York City's Greenwich Village and northern Michigan with his wife, Susan Cahn, of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons. More Mario: mariobatali.com.

Mario Unclogged: How to Sauce Pasta

Editor's note: When we thought of who we wanted to star in Serious Eats' first regular video series, Mario Batali's name kept coming up over and over again. Why? He's funny, passionate, generously spirited, smart as hell, and a great cook. So we hope you'll enjoy Unclogged, Mario Batali as you've never seen him before. —Ed Levine

The Takeaway

Mario says:

  • "What you want to eat when you eat a bowl of pasta ... is pasta."

  • "The way that they refer to their sauce in Italy is condimento—condiment—and when you think about a hot dog or hamburger, the condiment is something that kind of greases it up, but it never overtakes the main event of the hot dog or the hamburger."

  • "Americans overdress their pasta 99.9 percent of the time. It should never be a bowl of soup. It should be noodles, with a little stuff."

About Mario: Mario Batali has created a thriving restaurant empire and has established himself as a top restaurateur. Together with his partner, Joe Bastianich, he operates seven New York City hotspots. Mario splits his time between New York City's Greenwich Village and northern Michigan with his wife, Susan Cahn, of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons. More Mario: mariobatali.com.

Mario Unclogged: The Hams of Italy

Mario UncloggedAh, prosciutto di Parma, prosciutto di San Daniele, and prosciutto di Carpegna: three hams from three places, each with its distinct flavor and yet similar technique. In each locale, the hams are salted for 30 to 45 days and then hung in the vaulted rooms and halls to cure for as little as 400 days and as much as 3 years to achieve the delicate balance of pure porcine pleasure and the fragrance of the wind and the dew of the specific geography.

I have always found the sweetest hams to come from Friuli, (prosciutto di San Daniele), where I think that the cooler climate allows them the use of a little less salt (in fact, the only ingredient other than the pig's leg).

Parma (and its Langhirano hills) is the home of those eponymous hams that are perhaps the most famous in the world. Their specific flavors are a result of their exposure to winds blown down the valleys off the Tyrrhenian Sea from Liguria, and they help create a complex perfume unique to prosciutto di Parma.

Carpegna hams from the Pesaro Urbino region of Le Marche are perhaps the most rich and porky in flavor, a tad drier in younger ages (not a bad thing), and hard to find—legally—in the U.S.

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