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OCTOBER 2008 COTM: Batali

And the winner is ...

MARIO BATALI: Molto Italiano, Babbo & Simple Italian Food


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  1. There are a bunch of links to his recipes, including to his site, on the other thread, and I'll try to copy them over here. However, another 'hound warned me that google say that his site may be corrupted:


    Wanted to give you a heads up!

    1 Reply
    1. Yay! I can actually participate this month!

      I don't own any Batali books so any recommendations? Which one is the best as a Batali sampler? I already own Marcella's Essential Italian (and love it) so I'd like to get another Italian cookbook that compliments my Marcella without getting too much overlap.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mielimato

        I think there is more information that might be helpful on these threads:


        Glad you can participate!

      2. I am psyched!
        I have "Molto Italiano," and everything I've made from it so far was great. I am looking forward to revisiting some of my favorites and trying new recipes.

        1. YEAH!
          there are seemingly endless recipes on the Food Network site -- years of MM, and on the BabboNYC site
          my favorite/standbys are lamb/artichoke stew + squid sicilian lifeguard style
          there's also a super easy tart, a sweet crust that goes well with savory veg -- I think it's hidden as a cardoon recipe, but I always use artichokes or some greens + ricotta

          6 Replies
          1. re: pitu

            Hi - Not to be a big buzz killer, but the general idea was that folks would cook from those three books listed, or recipes online from those three books, so that the discussion isn't too too spread out. However, I'm sure no one will be shot for cooking and posting on recipes on the FN site that aren't from the books! (grin)

            1. re: MMRuth

              Right, MM.

              I personally will find plenty of material in the one book I have., But I agree with pitu about the Sicilian lifeguard squid, which I printed out from the FN site. I don't know what book it's in, if any. But it's fantastic.

              1. re: NYCkaren

                Thanks - and just to add - I don't mean to sound snarky about it at all - just that there is always a tension (not in a bad way) between posters who'd rather do one book, and those who'd like a widely published author's other books to be included, and I tried to strike a balance!

                1. re: NYCkaren

                  The sicilian lifeguard recipe is in the Babbo cookbook, so it qualifies! And, I agree, the taste is terrific. Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes to make, if you have the marinara on hand.

                  I have Babbo and Simple Italian Food (and Italian Grill, but that's not listed). I'll try and cook along this month--I love Batali recipes.

                  1. re: liamsaunt

                    I just think the name alone warrents a cooking try. I'll only be cooking from Molto Italiano this month - but I'm dying to know what the Sicilian Lifeguards do with squid..

                2. re: MMRuth

                  no worries MM -- the FN/BabboNYC site recipes are mostly in the books
                  Sicilian Lifeguard is one of those book recipes

              2. Looking forward to my first COTM! Is it October yet??? FYI in case anyone is looking for a used copy - just ordered one (Molto Italiano) from half.com for $17.

                1. So as a Batali virgin (I'd never even heard of him before I joined Chowhound), which book should I consider buying? I need another Italian cookbook like I need a hole in the head, but I'm not going to get Batali in the library here.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Check out this - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5590... - those links should help. I don't have any of his books either.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      I'm with you -- Do Not Need another Italian cookbook.
                      Yet in the COTM spirit, I will probably buy Molto Italiano. Seems pretty good, a true home cooking book, and a James Beard award winner.
                      $21 new at my favorite online cookbook source, ecookbooks.com
                      I'm not much of a food network TV fan, but I occasionally watch Mario. He demystifies Italian home cooking.

                      1. re: NYchowcook

                        I have all three, and I think if I would recommend one for everyday cooking and entertaining, it would probably be Molto Italiano.

                        1. re: Rubee

                          I have to agree on Molto Italiano as The One Book of the ouevre, as much as I enjoy the Babbo book.
                          And again, there's plenty online if you don't want to Buy The Book.

                        2. re: NYchowcook

                          I really can't decide. I can get Molto Italiano for £15 from Amazon but at the moment I'm thinking of just doing the online recipes. Mr GG is encouraging me to buy it though, despite the huge pile of books at the side of the bed which are in danger of squashing a cat!

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            "despite the huge pile of books at the side of the bed which are in danger of squashing a cat"

                            greedygirl, are we related? pisa has nothin' on us!!! http://www.physics.gla.ac.uk/~pmurray...

                      2. I just picked up all three from the library. I did a quick flip through and oh wow am I excited. I'll take a better look this weekend to see if I think one is a better rec for buying than the others.
                        For the Mario lovers, his new show on PBS about cooking in Spain is quite a fun show!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: CeeBee

                          I enjoyed it too - my husband really wants the book that goes with it as well.

                          1. re: CeeBee

                            Our local PBS station isn't starting to show it until Oct. 3rd. Pfffft.

                            1. re: CeeBee

                              My library has a copy of Molte Italiano waiting for me. (I already have enough Italian cookbooks of my own.) The Minuteman Library network in the Boston area is a great resource for test driving cookbooks- most can be taken out and renewed twice. Having to return them is a great incentive to try a few recipes.

                              1. re: CeeBee

                                what's the name of his Spanish cooking show?

                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                  Spain....On the Road Again. Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bittman and Spanish television actress Claudia Bassols.


                              2. I may actually participate this month. I have a copy of ... one of the books ... personally autographed, yet (a gift from my BIL). I made one recipe from it and was underwhelmed, so suggestions/encouragement on recipes to try will be welcome.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  When the threads go up October 1, please do let us know the recipe that you tried, so we have a heads up!

                                2. Whoohooo! Finally books that are already on my shelf. [Though the Vietnamese food from last month sounded delicious.)

                                  1. Help please! I need to organize the threads for the Batali COTM, and only the Babbo table of contents is available on Amazon. I'm listing it here, but would be ever so grateful, if they're not too long, if posters with the other books might list the tables of contents for them.


                                    Terra e Bosco
                                    Pre-Desserts and Cheese

                                    My thought based on this list would be to have:

                                    Pasta, Risotto, Polenta (assuming there are recipes for the latter two in the other books)
                                    Side dishes
                                    Desserts & Cheese

                                    Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome.


                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Here's Molto Italiano's list:

                                      Soup, Rice & Polenta

                                      Hope someone else can help with the 3rd book ...

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Thanks so much - looks like that will fit in well - I only saw one or two soups in Babbo (as far as I could tell), but will add to that category. It probably makes sense to have 'Pasta' separate from 'Soup, Rice, Polenta'.

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          For Simple Italian Food:

                                          Antipasti (first courses)
                                          Primi (pasta & risotto)
                                          Pesce (fish)
                                          Carne (meat)
                                          Contorni (vegetable & side dishes)
                                          Formaggi & Dolci (cheese & sweets)

                                          Thanks, MMRuth!

                                          1. re: Carb Lover

                                            Thank you - I think I'm set - it looks pretty straight forward.

                                            Any thoughts about having just one Primi thread, or separating out Pasta from it?

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              I personally like the idea of keeping pasta under the primi thread...the more streamlined, the better for me.

                                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                                I'm with CL on this one. The fewer threads the better....within reason of course.

                                                Now I'm off to try Taralli with Anise and Lemon from Dolce Italiano. It ain't Mario, but it's one of his employees: De Palma.

                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                  I agree with you both - the fewer threads the better! Thanks.

                                    2. I'm excited to join in the fray! How nice to actually have other folks to share my cook book fascination with. And fall is certainly perfect weather for Italian (although I would argue there is an Italian food genre perfect for any season).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: emmaroseeats

                                        I bought Molto Italiano last night, as that was the only one in stock in my corner bookstore that I like to support. Looks like there are many wonderful vegetable recipes. As far as I can tell, the recipes are each limited to one page. In the introduction, he writes:

                                        "This book is a collection of my all-time favorite simple recipes drawn from my travels in Italy and my cooking here in America, on TV and at home, and it represents the best cooking of classic Italian dishes both here and in their place of birth."

                                        There's a nice primer on Italian wines, and a list of sources - even a photo of Batali at Dipalo, checking out a cheese with Sal Dipalo - love it!