'Molto Gusto' on Serious Eats
The following recipe is from the April 14 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here! The title for this recipe might not seem all that apt as it's halfway through April,...
This Linguine with Squid & Its Ink from Molto Gusto by Mario Batali and Mark Ladner is one seriously sinister-looking plate of pasta. It's dark and murky and once the little slices of calamari are dressed with the squid ink sauce, it's virtually impossible to tell the squid apart from the pasta by sight alone.
Celery has never been a vegetable that I've had an affinity for—not crunched on raw or slathered with peanut butter. I've always found it stringy, fibrous, and bitter in a way that was unappealing. But the first few bites of the sweet celery hearts mixed with tender octopus, lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar, opened my eyes to celery's potential. Who would have thought it would take a cephalopod to help me learn to love celery?
The Lentils with Pancetta have been one of my favorite vegetable antipasti at Otto for ages. On paper, room temperature lentils don't sound like the most exciting prelude to a meal but these little legumes have an intensity of flavor that belies their humble appearance. For a long time I have been trying to figure out what it is that gives them their distinct tang and brightness.
Mario Batali and Mark Ladner have put together a book that, despite being a restaurant cookbook, incorporates the vegetable-heavy style of Italian eating for an American cooking audience at home. The meals that Batali and Lander purpose in Molto Gusto are fresh, healthful, and easy to prepare but also rustic, nuanced, and incredibly satisfying.
Over the weekend I sat down with Mark Ladner to talk about Molto Gusto, his newly released cookbook featuring recipes from Otto the West Village pizzeria that he opened with Mario Batali. We chatted about where he likes to eat, what he cooks at home, and why we should all be eating and enjoying more vegetables.