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October 2008 COTM Batali: Fowl

October 2008 Cookbooks of the Month:

Mario Batali’s Babbo, Molto Italiano, and Simple Italian Cooking.

Please post your full-length reviews of main course fowl recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. Spicy Sicilian Chicken (MI, p. 316)

    Used skin on/bone in chicken thighs instead of a whole cut up bird, and skipped the peppers, but other than that followed the recipe to a t. My hot chiles seem not to have been hot enough (he calls for 5 dried ones, but I started with 7 and still needed to add a bunch of red pepper flakes). I was skeptical about adding the olives and capers when I added the potatoes, thinking that by the time the pots were cooked the brininess of the other things would be gone, but I was wrong. This is a good solid dish, and we all enjoyed it on a sort of miserable gray day. Very good comfort food. I wasn't blown away by it, but it was easy and good. Served it with a little polenta on the side, which was totally unnecessary because of the potatoes. Oh, and I didn't taste the mint at all, so don't really think it is necessary to the recipe.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      It looks like a really good one-pot meal - nice picture! I went through the books last night and he has a lot of recipes using mint, fennel, or radicchio - unfortunately three things my husband doesn't like. Thanks for mentioning skipping the mint, I'll add this recipe to my list.

      1. re: Rubee

        I'm not crazy about mint in my savory food either, although on occasion I do think it makes a (good) difference. But this time around it is definitely skippable. And with fennel, if it is cooked a long time in with a bunch of other stuff it is often hard to taste - you get more of a celery thing from it. But I say that as a fennel lover - you'll know better how much your husband is able to take.

    2. Chicken Thighs with Saffron, Green Olives and Mint, Molto Italiano, Pg. 310

      I halved the recipe for two people...
      Boneless thighs are rinsed and patted dry (just thought I'd add that), seasoned with S & P, dredged in flour, then browned in EVOO and transfered to a platter. Chopped red onions and saffron are cooked till softened then chopped green olives and carrot are added with some chicken stock and brought to the boil. The thighs are returned to the pot and simmered for about 15 minutes. The pan cover is removed and the chicken is cooked for another 10-ish minutes. After removing the chicken to a platter the remaining sauce is seasoned to taste, mint leaves are added and the sauce poured over the chicken. This was a very nice, comfort food kind of dish and we liked it. The mint was hardly noticable but I suppose it did add that certain something to the over-all flavor. I served it with steamed butternut squash. I was toying with the idea of adding the squash directly to the sauce, but didn't want to corrupt the original recipe at first try. The combination on the plate was very tasty! Mario's Porcini Salad rounded out the meal.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        I have this down as a maybe on my list ... does the olive dominate? I'm having a hard time imagining olive/saffron/mint for some reason.

        1. re: LulusMom

          I know what you mean. Some of his combinations boggle this tired old mind.... but... It seems that neither ingredient overpowers the other. In fact, the saffron I used is fresh from a Penzey's store very near me and I was expecting a pop of that taste but that didn't happen. I have a feeling next time I make this I'll add , you guessed it, red pepper flakes. Just because.

          1. re: Gio

            Because what isnt' better with red pepper flakes! So you basically lose the taste of saffron, a not-so-cheap ingredient? Maybe skip that next time?

            1. re: LulusMom

              I'll either skip it or add a little more. Maybe my taste buds are fried. (>x<!)

        2. re: Gio

          I did not care for this one. But I didn't like the green olives that much either....and they did predominate.
          Not my cup of tea.

          I think if you LOVE green olives, you might like. I used "good" ones...maybe something from a can would have been better . . . gak.

          1. re: pitu

            Hi pitu..
            I used jarred Picholine marinated olives from France and they did not over power the dish at all. So sorry you didn't like the dish! Also, a day later when I had some of the leftovers for lunch I found the saffron had a more pronounced flavor.

            1. re: pitu

              pitu: Mr. Batali is nothing if not a purist about ingredients. I think he'd rather jump off a cliff into a vat of boiling Crisco than use canned olives.

            2. re: Gio

              Chicken Thighs with Saffron, Green Olives and Mint, Molto Italiano, Pg. 310

              I personally loved this recipe, I give it a 4.5/5, but I agree with my dinner-mates that it needs some tweaking.

              I was dubious about the olives at first, but they were really delicious. I bought good ones, that I had to pit myself.

              The saffron flavor was a little strong in mine, so I'd cut down on that a smidge. I think it calls for 1 tsp? Probably 3/4 would be better. Also, I think a good way to serve this would be to omit the saffron in the chicken thighs, but make saffron risotto to go on the side.

            3. Guinea Hen with Vinegar p. 336 Molto Italiano
              So, my SO brought home a guinea hen (there's an organic fancy farmer somewhere in the Carolinas selling air-chilled birds.) Thank you Mario for having a good recipe. I had one whole bird (not two) but it's a braise so I kept the proportions for everything else intact, except less balsamic vinegar, which you drizzle at the end. (Worked great.)

              Very straightforward prep, very tasty - black olives, capers, anchovies, tomato paste. I used smoked bacon for the prosciutto cotto.
              And the saucy glaze was great over mashed potatoes.

              I took a picture, because it was so weird to cook a guinea hen...I'll try to dig it up.

              19 Replies
              1. re: pitu

                That sounds yummy. I love guinea fowl (that's what we call them round these parts - I assume it's the same thing). My fallback recipe is to roast on a bed of potatoes (very delicious) but I might try and find this online. Thanks.

                  1. re: erica

                    Good find Erica. FWIW: I recognize some recipes from his Molto Italiano book, namely the Pollo Avellino which I'm making tonight....

                    1. re: Gio

                      Gio, I can't wait to hear about the pollo Avellino, since it's been on my list to make since the book came out. It has jalapeno peppers, and I want to know if it would be too spicy for people who don't like super-spicy food.

                      1. re: NYCkaren

                        I'm not sure Gio is the one to ask ... ; )

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          I love spicy food but my 10-year-old doesn't, and I'd hate to make a chicken recipe that she wouldn't eat. But I feel drawn to this recipe if only because my great-grandfather came from Avellino.

                        2. re: NYCkaren

                          Pollo Avellino, Molto Italiano, Pg. 324

                          This is another dish I just had to make because my paternal Grandmother's family came from Avellino and I can recall her making this in her own kitchen. I have the cast iron skillet she used!!

                          About 3 lbs. of chicken pieces(I used 1 whole chicken, quartered) are browned in hot oil then removed to a plate and set aside. Diced red onion, red bell peppers (I used 2), 4 jalepeno peppers , halved criminis (I used 2 small globe eggplants because I forgot to buy the mushrooms)are then sauted till golden. One cup of white wine and an equal amount of water is added, brought to a boil then the heat is turned down and the whole thing simmers for 30 minutes. The chicken is removed and at this point we let the sauce reduce for about 10 minutes then threw in a handful of chopped basil and parsley then added back the chicken.

                          Now, let me say this, there is no salt or pepper in this recipe and I was surprised to find I did not miss it but DH seasoned his serving. Also, Erica posted the Fine Living web site which lists many of MB recipes and the Pollo Avellino was one of them. In the on-line version he does not list a cup of water.... and although I followed the book, I now realize the water was totally unnecessary. I'm glad I had the presence of mind to reduce the sauce before returning the chicken to the pot. Lastly, In Re the jalapenos: he doesn't give any prepping directions but I cored & seeded them and sliced them in thin strips. All the other vegetables are finely diced. I did not add whole jalapeno to the top of the serving.

                          This was a tasty dish , not very spicy at all. I'm sure I'll be making it again, but I definitely will play with the seasoning ...and definitely will use the crimini mushrooms.

                          1. re: Gio

                            What? No salt is called for at all in the recipe??!! That seems strange...

                            1. re: Carb Lover

                              I must have read that recipe 10 times because I could not believe he didn't list S & P. It's not in the on-line version either:

                              But, as I said, I didn't miss it. There's so much going on that the flavors seem to compensate.

                              1. re: Gio

                                Gio I'm so glad you reviewed this recipe as I'm making it this evening and was grateful for your observation about the water being excluded from the online recipe for this dish.

                                I see that the Cooking Channel has now taken over the Fine Living site so I'll paste a new link to this recipe here:


                                I also found it interesting to note that MB doesn't include any garlic in the online recipe . . . is that even allowed????!!!! Surely not at our house!!

                                I'm debating whether to serve this w pasta, rice or roast potatoes. If anyone sees this and has some thoughts pls weigh in.

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  BC: In cooler weather I make a creamy polenta to go with this chicken. Perhaps Mario's grilled polenta would be a good idea for Summer?? I also serve a simple mixed greens salad after the main dish.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Gio thanks and you're so right, polenta would pair perfectly. Unfortunately mc bc can't stand polenta (or any cornmeal dish for that matter). He has a textural issue and after having him try so many iterations at home and, when dining out, I've given up and polenta is one of those dishes I savour when we have guests or, I'm dining alone. I'll definitely take your suggestion on the greens . . . great idea!

                            2. re: Gio

                              Did you use the cast iron skillet to make this?

                              1. re: yamalam

                                Pollo Avellino Parte Due

                                I made this Saturday night and my husband loved it so much he (1) ate a lot that night; (2) ate another large portion last night AFTER we returned from dinner with friends at a Turkish restaurant; and (3) took the rest to work this morning.

                                This dish is going into the favorites bin.

                                As Gio did, I subbed some of the ingredients because I hadn't planned on making this til the last minute.

                                Instead of red onion, I used several small onions that came in our CSA box. Instead of 8 small peppers I subbed a couple of spoonfuls of the Universal Condiment (chopped red and green chilis preserved in salt which I'd made several months ago and is A REALLY GOOD REASON TO BE ALIVE). I had no basil but there was some penne with pesto in the fridge from a few days earlier. I also used a cup of homemade chicken broth to sub for the water.

                                This dish was really good. The heat from the chilis and the tang from the bell peppers (actually Gypsy peppers from the CSA box) was just right. I often find that the taste of peppers are just too strong and overpower all other flavors in a dish.

                                I made some fidellini (sp) and poured the chicken and sauce over. Boyoboy was this good.

                                Gio, did you serve it with "one hot pepper atop each portion"? I didn't even notice that instruction until just now.

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  No, I did not serve the lone jalepeno on top of the dish. Enough already with the jalapenos. OTOH... weren't you surprised there was no S & P?

                                  As I have said about other cuisines and as Mario himself has stated frequently on his various shows... it's all about either having the ingredients at hand or finding the perfect seasonal ingredients in the market on the day you're going to make a certain dish. You adjust accordingly and go from there. Or what your culinary experience has taught you. Or what you remember from your childhood. Or what you want to experiment with.... ad infinitum.....

                                2. re: yamalam

                                  I didn't use my Grandmother's skillet for this dish. . But I did use a 12" heavy skillet that was used in my uncle's restaurant waaaayyy back in the 50s. I have several pieces of cookware my family passed on that I use with loving memories and very proudly.

                                3. re: Gio

                                  Pollo Avellino – Chicken From The Town of Avellino – p. 324

                                  Our turn w this tonight and thanks to Gio, I had all the right information to help make this dish a success. No need to cover the prep as Gio’s done that perfectly above.

                                  Per the Cooking Channel/Fine Living version, I omitted the water and, didn’t need to add any wine beyond the initial 1 cup as there was plenty of liquid from the veggies and the chicken. Instead of 10 cloves of garlic, I used 5 and, approx 1 cup of chopped garlic scapes since I had them on hand from the farmer’s market. I had yellow and orange bell peppers, not the red called for and, my mushrooms were Portobello vs cremini. Finally, I removed the skin from my chicken pieces.

                                  We quite enjoyed this dish. I noted the comments above regarding the absence of salt and, though we’re not “salt people” I did taste the sauce/broth prior to plating. The flavours were good however, I felt that salt might elevate them somewhat so I did season to taste w some Kosher salt and pepper. Even then, for my taste, I felt the dish could have used something more. I’m just not quite sure what . . . . somehow it was a little “one note”.

                                  I ended up serving this over some gnocchi and, the Misticanza salad from MB’s Molto Gusto. I’d make this chicken again as we liked the dish, I’ll just have to think about what I might add next time. Tomatoes maybe?...

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I made this Avellino chicken a couple of months ago, to use a gift of red bell peppers. (We loved it, had it with buttered thin spaghetti.)

                                    This may be a small thing, but is there anyway to avoid that grey color that comes with cooking red onion in a dish ?

                          2. The Devil's Chicken (Pollo al Diavolo, MI, p. 319)

                            Over all, a good dish. You roast a chicken at 400 for about 40 minutes (mine was bigger than called for, and I roasted it for 30 minutes, as I find that recipes tend to over cook chickens, and I'm tired of dry chicken), and then slather on a paste of 1/4 cup ground pepper, 2 T Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt, and 1 T olive oil. Now, 1/4 of ground pepper sounded like an awful lot to me, but I went ahead with it. I may not have ground the pepper finely enough - I used my coffee grinder - but I still think it is a lot and the paste was very thick. There was no "brushing it on" - I used my hands as best I could. Then cooked it for another 30 minutes, and then it rested for about 30 minutes, as my husband was late. I'd made the Spicy Oil a couple of hours early (you are supposed to let it sit over night, which I'd missed). I tossed the cherry tomatoes, sliced red onions, sherry vinegar. olive oil and salt and pepper about 30 minutes before serving, which I'm glad I did as it took the edge off the onions.

                            Putting it together - scraped off the pepper crust (you are not supposed to do that) sliced the breast, put the salad on the platter, added the chicken legs and sliced breast, drizzled on pan juices (avoiding the pepper), and some strained chile oil. The instructions say to arrange the chicken on the serving plate, drizzle, then put the salad on top, which struck me as odd. The photo shows a whole uncarved chicken on top of the salad, and, if you look closely, you can see red pepper flakes on top of the chicken, which is odd, since you are supposed to strain the oil. (OK, I must be cranky today!).

                            Upshot - the chicken itself was delicious and juicy, we loved the salad, and there was some heat, but not too much. I'm wondering if the quantity of black pepper is an error - if you look at the photo, there are some pretty coarse chunks of pepper on there.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: MMRuth

                              MMR: Do you think the pepper paste would be more brushable if you used a little more olive oil? It doesn't look as if that'd make any difference in the flavor and it'd obviously be brushable.

                              Patting it on with your hands sounds like an irritating chore to me. They certainly DO show the salad under the chicken. Maybe the photog made them change it so the buyer of the book could see what the chicken looked like?

                              I really want to try the grilled squab (prob would use chicken cause I can't stand those small squabby things) with pomegranate molasses next. Sounds wonderful.

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                I think I did try adding one T of oil more than was called for. I really think maybe it should be 1/4 cup of mustard, and 2 T of pepper. Maybe I can email Mario and ask!

                                In terms of the photo -- they show the salad under the whole chicken, as opposed to under the cut up chicken as I did it, as opposed to on top of the cut up chicken as described in the instructions.

                              2. re: MMRuth

                                The Devil's Chicken (Pollo al Diavolo), Molto Italiano, p. 319

                                I agree completely with everything MMRuth reported on. Actually, one of my pet peeves with this book are the liberties they took with pictures (for example, the polenta terrine on p. 114 looks nothing like the layered terrine with crumbled sausage the recipe describes).

                                I made sure to grind the pepper fine and even doubled the olive oil, but it still made a too-thick paste, which I used a butter knife to spread on. If I made this again, I would brush the olive oil/Dijon on the chicken and then sprinkle with the black pepper, though that also would look nothing like the picture. For the salad, I used the same ingredients (tomatoes, parsley, sherry vinegar, red onion) but in ratios to taste, and served it alongside the chicken, drizzled with Spicy Oil which I made the night before (olive oil, jalapenos, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, heated and strained).

                                As MMRuth says, it was overall a good dish and the chicken was nicely seasoned and juicy. I was hoping for a bit more spice since the black pepper just made a crust which fell off, so I crumbled it on top of the chicken and liked it that way. It also made a nice stock - I took the meat off and put the bones in a crockpot overnight with the pepper crust, onions, carrots, bay leaf, and celery.

                                My husband's comment was that it was good but his favorite is "the one you make with butter and lemon", and I knew right away he meant the delicious Lemon-Thyme Roast Chicken from "Flexitarian Table".

                                Recipe link for pollo al diavolo:

                              3. From the "Molto Italiano" cookbook, I made the Turkey Cutlets Bolognese Style the other night. Trader Joe's always has nice turkey cutlets at an excellent price. This recipe calls for a fresh truffle shaved over the top, which of course I left out. He specifically says not to use truffle oil, so I did without. I also skipped the breading this time. I didn't have any fresh bread for crumbs, and didn't want the crispness of panko for this dish. So I simply dredged the cutlets in seasoned flour, browned in a bit of butter, and then assembled the dish: a few curls of shaved parmesan on top of the cutlets, followed by a slice of prociutto, and then some asiago (he calls for pecorino toscano). I put this all in a 450 oven until the cheese was melted and the turkey was cooked through. I really liked this preparation quite a bit. It was a lot like veal/chicken salimboca which I make a lot, without the sage and with a bit less frying. Not that there is anything wrong with that of course, but we are watching our fat & cholesterol intake around here a bit.
                                This was definitely a keeper, as leftovers were still very good - even cold!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ErikaK

                                  Thanks very much for your report of the Turkey Bolognese.... TJs recently opened a new store a short drive from us. Gotta look for the turkey cutlets. What did you serve as a side dish, If I may ask?

                                  1. re: ErikaK

                                    I made this just because I saw turkey cutlets at the store.

                                    I followed the recipe except I left out the truffle. Also, it is very important that if you cannot find young Pecorino Toscano, do NOT use Pecorino Romano to substitute, as it's too salty and strong. Provolone or something similar would be fine.

                                    It's not exactly healthy, but it's really good.

                                    I served it with the Root Vegetable Mash with Orange Zest (p. 417)

                                  2. Chicken with “cooked wine”, Pollo al Vino Cotto (MI pg314)

                                    I really loved this chicken, it is very unique and it calls for a whole bottle of wine!

                                    I started by reducing the 4.5 cups of red wine to 1 cup, while adding cinnamon, cloves and honey in it. I gave myself an hour for the reduction, but it probably needs longer. I proceeded anyways.

                                    I used a whole chicken (which was little less than 3 lbs.) and skinned it (the recipe asks to keep the skin on). Browned the chicken, added thinly sliced onions (I did not add the carrots), let the onions caramelize, add raisins, chopped olives, capers, toasted pine nuts and almonds (I crushed them in FP which the recipe did not call for), add half of wine reduction (recipe calls for half cup) and let it disappear, then added the rest of wine. Then the recipe asks to add 1 cup red wine vinegar and 1 cup sugar, but I was skeptical, so added the vinegar little by little, tasting in between and it took approx. ¾th of the cup. I did the same with sugar, and I was done to my taste in just one tsp.

                                    The end result is tangy and sweet glaze (but not overly sweet), which stuck to the chicken. The olives, nuts and onions have a very bold flavor and the wine adds a lot of complexity to the dish. This is a kind of dish you generally eat in a fancy restaurant and never cook at home, so I was happy to have it at home.

                                    The presentation is pretty as well, it looked almost like the picture.

                                    My problem with this dish is what to serve with it. I did not give much thought before hand and cooked broccoli rabe (pg.423). I was not happy with the greens and the combination did not go well either. Of course plain rice is one of the side dish option (like with sweet and sour Chinese style chicken), but if that is the only option, I would have the chicken alone next time too, as we did this time. If somebody has some opinions on the side dish, I would appreciate it.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: cpw

                                      CHICKEN WITH "COOKED WINE" (POLLO AL VIN COTTO) p. 314. Molto Italiano.

                                      I have to confess, this method was something very new to me too. Not a braise, not a saute, but a combination. First, 4 1/2 cups of red wine (the recipe suggests nothing particularly special), 1/2 cup honey, 2 cinnamon sticks and 3 whole cloves are brought to a boil and reduced to 1 cup. The recipe says this will take 20 minutes but I found it took quite a bit longer. Then a 3-pound chicken cut into 8 serving pieces is browned on all sides over high heat; a large chopped onion and 2 chopped carrots are added to the pan and browned, and then 1/2 cup green olives, 3 TB raisins, 1 TB capers, 1 TB toasted pine nuts, and 3 TB blanched almonds, toasted, are added. At this point, 1/2 cup of the reduced wine is added to the pan and reduced to 1/4 cup, and then the rest of the "vin cotto" is added and brought to a boil. THEN 1 cup red wine vinegar mixed wiith 1/2 cup sugar is added to the pan and reduced to a glaze. Season chicken with salt and pepper, transfer to a warm platter, and drizzle with olive oil Sprinkle with pepper, 1 TB red pepper flakes, and 1/4 chopped parsley and (finally) serve.

                                      You would expect that something with so many layers of flavor would be quite delicious and you would be right. The finished dish has a complex combination of sweet-salty-acidity, with nothing coming to the forefront but all well-represented. Everyone loved it (as well they should) and I will make it again when I feel up to it! ;-)

                                      As far as sides to serve with it--I had fresh organic beets in my CSA box, so I served a chopped beet and beet green braise. And then there was a loverly bunch of rainbow swiss chard, so I sauteed that and served it. Didn't have the energy ;-) to make a starchy side, which would have been nice to sop up the juice, so I set out some good bread and people wiped up their plates with it.

                                      1. re: Goblin

                                        Goblin that sounds absolutely wonderful, my mouth was watering as you described how it all came together. Thanks for such a great review, I've flagged this as a must try.

                                    2. I think I am going for Mario's Chicken Hunger's-Style tomorrow night (pollo alla Cacciatora p 322 Molto Italiano)

                                      HA -- I like my typo there -- Hunger's Style is how I'm feeling as I type this... of course I meant HunTer's Style :)

                                      I made some chicken stock and the basic tomato sauce the other day in prep to try one of his recipes, and this one looks pretty simple to put together (chicken, sauce, stock, pancetta, celery, onions, wine, portobello mushrooms) in my Le Creuset. It will be satisfying to use the stock and sauce that I've already taken the time to make. Of course, his eggplant parm is also tempting, but I suppose I could make that one tonight too as I certainly have enough sauce.

                                      Has anyone made (his version of) the chicken hunger's, I mean hunter's-style??? :) I am cooking for someone who is an enthusiastic diner and not fussy, but I always to like to impress :) even if it's in the "Oh, did I make that absolutely delicious meal... who? ME?"

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: foxy fairy

                                        I'm seem to always be years behind on all these threads but I made this earlier in the week. It's just fantastic IMO. I'm making it again next weekend for a little dinner party. I also have my stock already made and will make the basic tomato sauce ahead of time. I hadn't made the sauce in quite a while and had forgotten how much I like it. For me, one of the real strengths of this dish are the one inch cubes of portabellos. They give a great additional texture as well as the flavor. I followed the recipe to a t/tee/?? and wouldn't change a thing. BTW, we've had three dinners for two off it with Bob having a small second portion tonight. What a keeper.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Thanks for pointing this out c o. I wasn't around for this COTM but love this cookbook and have marked this dish as a must try...sounds scrumptious! Thanks.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Well, this is now one of my favorite dishes and I put a whole new wrinkle on it yesterday. I did it just like he says except I used LAMB SHANKS!!!!! And it was perfect. Granted it took longer to cook but the vegetables really didn't suffer terribly. Next time I'm going to make it meatless. Those mushrooms and also the celery (one inch pieces) make it a very substantial dish.

                                          2. re: foxy fairy

                                            Hunter's Style Chicken ---- Pollo alla Cacciatore

                                            c oliver, I am so glad that you like this one so much (and also how funny that it came up on another thread, when some of us were defending chicken as a wonderful choice for a main dish that is totally capable of dazzling guests). As I mentioned on a previous thread, I was actually hired to prepare this cacciatore for a coworker's supper club after I brought it to our work potluck and she adored it

                                            I've made it a bunch of times since discovering it a few years back. I always use my own stock and Mario's basic tomato sauce (with carrots, thyme) rather than just the canned tomatoes. Like c oliver, I really like the mushrooms too, even add more at times, and the big pieces are satisfying and cozy. The COLOR of this dish is fabulous, deep and somewhat mysterious. It is better the second day, ideal the third I would say in terms of flavors just dancing. I usually pull the meat off the bones and serve it as a stew (especially for a party). Another adaptation: after browning, i usually braise slowly in the oven in my Le Creuset rather than cooking stovetop.

                                            I think it would be excellent vegetarian. Could even add some eggplant if you felt like it.

                                            If enjoying this at home, I often serve this over a few cheese tortellini, by the way. It is an amazing dish to bring to a party. I just went to a wedding reception tonight and (with the chill in the air by the sea) I thought that a big pot of my (Mario's?!?) cacciatore would have been an excellent addition to the summery fare.

                                          3. I made "chicken in the style of Canzano" from the Molto Italiano cookbook. I used boneless skinless Bell and Evans thighs. Fresh bay leaf, rosemary and sage from the yard and the best prosciutto di Parma. I was very inauthentic, using a sharaz for the dry, red wine.
                                            It was a delicious dish with a strong flavor; reminding me slightly of chicken liver.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              Interesting - I wonder what lent the chicken liver flavour to the dish. I'll have to add that to the list - my husband likes chicken thighs. Do you think I could just add a chicken breast to the dish - for me? Maybe cut up in thirds?

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                I'd guess the ham and wine. Perhaps that flavor note would not be there with just white meat. As I recall, the recipe is for two whole chickens, cut up. Why not breast?

                                                I would skin the chicken. I had some fat, even with the skinless thighs. For 1-1/4 pounds of edible meat I used two, big, beautiful, bay leaves, about four sage leaves and two, four inch sprigs of rosemary. Some grinds of fresh pepper.
                                                I might have been a little heavy with the herbs but I really liked the dish... so simple, too.

                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                  Quick question - I'm making this and have a whole chicken cut up (rather than two, as called for) - I'm inclined just to use the full amount of wine and herbs/spices called for. Anyone think that might be problematic in any way?

                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    Herbs, NO. Wine, perhaps. You can always add more wine later, or as it cooks, tasting as you go.

                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                      Thanks - appreciate that. I'm still trying to gauge how many peppercorns a small handful is!!

                                              2. re: Scargod

                                                Chicken in the Style of Canzano (Pollo Canzanese, MI, p. 320)

                                                I made this over the weekend - using a whole cut up chicken. It weighed in at over 4.5 pounds, so I decided to use the full amount of herbs. I was a bit wary of the recipe - you don't sear the chicken, just season, and put in the pan with the wine and herbs. But, it rendered lots of liquid and stayed nice and moist. It doesn't look so appealing, I thought, since the flesh gets a red wine tinge to it, but we enjoyed it.

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  A year and 8 months later.... We made the Pollo Canzano last night. Used a whole free range organic chicken which I cut up into serving pieces. The aroma from the herbs and wine cooking was alluring. The combination of rosemary, sage, bay leaves, garlic, cloves, black peppercorns, hot chili pepper, prosciutto di Parma, dry red wine, and chicken was positively intoxicating. The finished dish was delicious. But, I think DH was disappointed the skin was not crispy. The flavor more than made up for that lack, however. I served this with Swiss chard sautéed with onions for the Gourmet Today book and a salad of Romaine hearts, with added vegetables, from the same book.

                                              3. Grilled Baby Chicken Al Mattone with Panzanella

                                                Babbo, page 213

                                                Report here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5614...

                                                1. Grilled Squab wth Pomegranate Molasses (Piccione alla Melagrana) - Molto Italiano p. 325. Also, Simple Italian Food, p. 185

                                                  I made this with grilled chicken drumsticks instead of squab. The chicken is marinated overnight in red wine vinegar, paprika, honey, and evoo. The kale (I could only find curly) is sliced and sauteed in olive oil with red onion, lemon juice, and lemon zest. The chicken is plated on the greens and then drizzled with pomegranate molasses. E doesn't like kale so he just ate the drumsticks, but I think it's really the combination of the smoky grilled chicken, sweet-sour tang of the pom molasses, and the lemony kale that makes this simple dish so tasty. I'm sure it would be even better with the more flavorful squab. It made a nice lunch for the two of us Saturday afternoon.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    Oh good - I have loads of pomegranate molasses (some how ended up with two unopened bottles), and will give this a try. How do you think it would be with chicken thighs?

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      Chicken thighs should be great. BTW, I think it would be really nice with smoked paprika instead of the regular paprika....

                                                  2. Stuffed Turkey Breast with Pears, Chestnuts, and Rosemary

                                                    Simple Italian Food, page 180

                                                    In this recipe, Mario calls for you to have the butcher butterfly half a skin on boneless turkey breast to an even 1/2" thickness. I decided to try and butterfly it myself and the results were a little uneven, so I had to pound parts of the breast to get it even. I had some vacuum packed chestnuts in the fridge, so subbed those in for the reconstituted dried chestnuts called for in the recipe.

                                                    Once the breast was rolled and tied, I had places on the roast that had no skin covering the meat, so I layered on some proscuitto in those areas to try and keep the meat from drying out.

                                                    I found that the roast took about 10 minutes longer than he specifies--maybe because my meat was not butterflied as thin as he asks for.

                                                    I really liked the flavor of the stuffing, though I think adding a sauteed onion would have made it even better.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: liamsaunt

                                                      Well Bless you that looks absolutely gorgious! I have to get my notes in order before I report on what we made tonight (Shrimp Fra Diavolo).... but that stuffed turkey breast looks wonderful!!

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        That does look amazing - I might actually be able to get my husband to eat turkey with that recipe - I'll try to find it on line.

                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          This looks like the recipe:

                                                          http://www.cookingindex.com/recipes/4... - liamsaunt - does this look right?

                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            That does look like the recipe, MM. BTW: Love that web site!

                                                      2. re: liamsaunt

                                                        Wow, that looks like a great alternative to traditional Thanksgiving turkey, especially for those feeding only a few people who don't care for dark meat. I notice in the book's recipe intro that Mario says that he will do this w/ a whole turkey (legs boned) for Thanksgiving. Sounds good...Did you make the red wine risotto he suggests as a side dish?

                                                        1. re: Carb Lover

                                                          Yes, that is the correct recipe. It really was tasty. He also suggests for the leftovers, to slice it very thin and serve it chilled, topped with a lightly dressed green salad. I am going to have that either tonight or tomorrow.

                                                          I did not make the risotto he suggests as a side because I did not have asiago or raddichio in the fridge. I served it with some pureed carrots flavored with cumin, sauteed spinach, and buttered parmesean orzo. I definitely recommend the proscuitto addition I made to the recipe--it got really crispy in the oven and added a nice flavor to the dish. Next time I make this I might skin the turkey and cover the whole thing with proscuitto.

                                                      3. Polo alla Romana, Food Network On-Line Recipe, From the Molto Mario Show

                                                        I been cooking solely from the Molto Italiano but wanted to try something from another area of MB's repertoire.

                                                        Essentially it's a whole chicken cut into 8 pieces and cooked in chopped pancetta, EVOO, garlic, white wine, tomatoes, sliced green and red bell peppers and seasoned with salt and pepper. After tasting before serving we decided to add red pepper flakes for a bit of a boost in flavor. Very easy to make and tasty but not specatular like some of the other recipes have been. I think it needed some herbs for added flavor. Next time....

                                                        Served with a remake of the Roasted Potatoes on page 440 using the recommended Yukon Golds. It would also be good with polenta or rice.

                                                        1. Oh boy, Cornish hens with pomegranite; a recipe not reviewed!
                                                          Well, close anyways. I bought the smallest, quality hen I could find. I started by browning it all over, then I stuffed and tied it up. I put butter on it and about halfway through cooking I poured the marsala on it (from soaking the pomegranite).
                                                          Once again I only had orange juice (thus no zest), so I reduced that and used it. I put the remaining pomgranite seeds into it to warm.
                                                          This is a really interesting dish. We liked the flavor and crunchiness of the pomegranite and I was reminded of other game hen and orange dishes I have tried.

                                                          1. Chicken stew with polenta, celery root and sage, or pollo all' Americano, MI p. 313:

                                                            Mario is my boy but this one was a mixed bag. I assume it was mainly my fault but the recipe could have been clearer.

                                                            It's supposed to be a braise with chicken pieces, chicken livers, onion, celery root, the usual wine and basic tomato sauce, and cubes of polenta. I was drawn to the recipe because celery root is a seasonal vegetable I feel I should get to know better, because the polenta cubes intrigued me and because chicken livers are my favorite part of the bird.

                                                            The recipe calls for quick-cooking polenta or fine corn meal. I used what I had, the fine corn meal I use to make cornbread. It said to whisk the corn meal into boiling water, then take it off the heat and stir it until thick. What? This corn meal was not going to get thick off the heat. I cooked it a while. Then you are supposed to pour it into a pan, let it cool and dice it into cubes, which are added to the stew toward the end. But my polenta was not solid enough. It just dissolved in the stew. Maybe it would have worked with a different grade of corn meal or if I had cooked it longer.

                                                            The dish was tasty, just not what I was hoping for. It was chicken in a corn meal-thickened sauce. I did love the livers, and I was able to serve drumsticks to the non-liver lovers and they never had to know there was liver in the dish.

                                                            I'm not sure what's "Americano" about the dish. Just the fact that it has corn in it, I suppose.

                                                            1. Faraona al Aceto (Guinea Hen with Vinegar) Molto Italiano, Pg., 336

                                                              After two quartered guinea hens (I used cornish hens) are browned in hot EVOO a cup each of white wine and balsamic vinegar are added to the pot, brought to the boil then reduced. Next, capers, black olives, diced prosciutto (I used pancetta), and a bit of tomato paste are added and all is simmered till the hens are cooked through.
                                                              Salt, pepper and freshly chopped parsley are added at the very end and more Balsamic vinegar is drizzled over each serving. This was a very tasty dish and dinner party worthy. We loved it and it is now in regular rotation at casa G & G.

                                                              I served it with the dang roasted potatoes again.... can't seem to get away from them. I think I'm in Batali rut.

                                                              1. Pheasant Breasts with Cider Vinegar, Apples, and Pomegranate - Simple Italian Food, p. 188.

                                                                I made this with skin-on boneless chicken breasts and thought it was a very nice fall dish. I liked it as is, but E thought I could have cut down on the vinegar a bit (I made the full recipe of sauce for two half chicken breasts). I pounded the chicken "to a consistent thickness", then browned it skin side down in butter, and put it in the oven skin-side up to finish cooking while I made the sauce in the same pan. Add shallots, cider vinegar and thinly sliced green apples, chicken stock and heavy cream. Reduce to a sauce, and then served garnished with pomegranate seeds.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                  Would you mind paraphrasing this recipe, Rubee? I have some pheasant breasts in the freezer and this sounds like a good thing to do with them.

                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                    Hi GG!

                                                                    I actually found the recipe on-line, with one difference. It's the exact recipe, except that the one in the book calls for much less butter - 3 tablespoons instead of 8. Hope you like it!


                                                                2. Quail with Artichokes, Molto Italiano, Pg. 339
                                                                  Qualgie con Carciofi

                                                                  Finding some "jumbo" quail at a local market I thought they would make a nice Sunday dinner. They did but I was the only one who thought so. Really simple recipe: season then wrap each quail in a slice of proscuitto. Heat oil in a skillet, brown quail, remove to a platter and keep warm. In same pan toss in some artichokes (I used frozen), garlic, tomato paste. Cook a few minutes then pour in a cup of dry white wine, cover, cook till artichokes are tender. Toss in a handful of minced parsley. Return the quail, cover and cook till the meat is "just pink."

                                                                  I served the little cuties on a bed of warm spinach salad from "Sunday Suppers at Luques" that included caramelized shallots, rosemary, and thyme. Side dishes were roasted beets and a warm potato salad with an apple cider vinaigrette with loads of cilantro.

                                                                  Everything tasted really fine together but I think the pan sauce for the quail could have been more aggressively seasoned, as Mario himself often says. As it was there was just the garlic, tomato paste and wine so there was definitely something missing. Perhaps herbs... thyme, sage? Of course the proscuitto did add that essential porky/salty flavor but not enough, I guess. G said he never wants to eat chickadees again...

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    Uh-oh. Never gonna be able to look at quail again without G's comment coming to mind. LOL. Truly.