Cook the Book: Molto Batali

20111106-178307-molto-batali.jpgThere's really no sense in being shy about it, we're suckers for pretty much every one of Mario Batali's cookbooks. Our favorite red-headed Crocs-wearing chef's books are always gorgeous, but really it comes down to the fact that they work. And when we say work, we mean they produce consistently wonderful Italian fare that's rustic yet refined, bold, elegant, and satisfying in a deep and happy way.

That same happiness carries over in Molto Batali. His latest is all about entertaining, organized into monthly menus designed to feed a crowd. In twelve chapters, Batali creates seasonal menus with ten dishes for each month. They can be mixed and matched to suit your entertaining needs, wants, and ambitions. Each chapter lines up a soup, three simple pastas (no hand-rolling here), a low maintenance main (lots of slow, flavorful braises), four seasonal vegetable sides and one really lovely dessert, making for a choose your own adventure of excellent Batali recipes.

And aside from being a wonderful entertaining cookbook, the release of Molto Batali kicks off a fundraising effort for the Mario Batali Foundation whose goal is to ensure that children are well read, well fed, and well cared for. Batali will match the first $100,000 in paid donations made to the Foundation after November 1, 2011 and Aperol Spritz will match up to $50,000 between October 25, 2011 and February 1, 2012.

This week we've put together a fall menu from Molto Batali including Farfalle Abruzzese with Veal, Porcini, and Spinach that might just be our new favorite cool weather pasta, a Leg of Lamb in a Clementine Crust, Cool Chard with Peppery Ricotta plus a few more that will keep your holiday get togethers warm, inviting, and molto tasty.

Win 'Molto Batali'

Thanks to the generous folks over at Ecco, we are giving away five (5) copies of Molto Batali this week.

All you have to do is your favorite crowd to cook for in the comments section below.