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*July 2011 Cookbooks of the Month, BATALI II: MOLTO GUSTO and ITALIAN GRILL

Welcome to our July 2011 Cookbooks of the Month, MOLTO GUSTO and ITALIAN GRILL by Mario Batali.

Haven't joined us before and wondering what we're up to? Anyone and everyone are welcome to join us in our collective cooking endeavor, no dues are charged. This link explains how it all works: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

Here's our initial discussion of the books, including links to many recipes helpfully provided by Big
Sal: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791763

THIS THREAD will be used for general discussion, menu planning, linking to recipes from the books available elsewhere on the web, and for discussing the sections at the front and back of the books covering general techniques, ingredients, sources, etc.

The threads linked below will be used to discuss recipes in the chapters listed directly below each link.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

ANTIPASTI: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793281

Molto Gusto: Vegetable Antipasti; Seafood & Meat Antipasti
Italian Grill: Antipasti

BRUSCHETTA, PIZZA AND FLATBREAD: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793280

Molto Gusto: Bruschetta & Cheese; Pizza
Italian Grill: Pizza and Flatbreads

FISH, SHELLFISH, POULTRY, MEAT: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793276

Italian Grill: Fish and Shellfish; Poultry; Meat

PASTA, INSALATA, VEGETABLES: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793275

Molto Gusto: Pasta; Insalata
Italian Grill: Vegetables

GELATO & SORBETTO: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793273

Buon appetito e mangiare bene!

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  1. Thanks, Caitlin. That looks like a terrific division of the chapters.

    1. Thanks so much Caitlin, I totally agree w Gio, such a thoughtful organization of the chapters. Really looking forward to the month ahead, happy cooking everyone!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        Nice job getting us started Breadcrumbs! Loved reading all of your recipe reviews.

        1. re: smtucker

          Thanks so much smtucker, that's very kind of you!

      2. Hi Caitlin--where do I discuss recipes for fish, shellfish, poultry and meat from Molto Gusto? I"m probably just missing the section.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Goblin

          Hi Goblin, Molto Gusto doesn't have chapters with meat, poultry, and fish main dishes, just the chapters you see listed above, which is why there isn't a listing for them. Conversely, Italian Grill doesn't have dessert chapters, so the Gelato & Sorbetto thread is for that chapter in Molto Gusto.

          1. re: Goblin

            Hi Goblin, I think maybe you have Batali's book Molto Italiano? That one was part of a previous COTM: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/561501

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Caitlin, you are so right! The cover of my Batali book has his name writ large and smiling face much in evidence, with the title "Molto Italiano" in small print. At least, that's my excuse for being lured into purchasing the wrong book! Oh well--guess I'll just have to buy another cookbook. ;-)

              1. re: Goblin

                Goblin, you'll love Molto Italiano too, though. Go back to the archives to see all the great dishes we made when it was COTM.

                1. re: Gio

                  Just a quick post about a fab recipe in Molto Italiano, since it was mentioned here. Dunno if it was discussed in the earlier thread...maybe I did and forgot.

                  Try the chicken liver spread on toast recipe. Out of this world. Anchovies, capers, tomatoes, etc.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Thanks for the recomendation, OJ... I Love chicken livers...

                2. re: Goblin

                  Yeah, that is a fun book. I don't think you'll regret having bought it.

              2. re: Goblin

                Try the cacciatore in Molto Italiano, Goblin. It won me my first-ever paid catering gig when I brought it to a work potluck and a colleague tried it, adored it, and asked me to make it for her supper club!

                1. re: twilight goddess

                  Thank you, twilight goddess, for the recommendation. I"m looking and (with my limited knowledge of Italian) I find a recipe for in Cacciucco (p 259 of Molto Italano) but no recipe for cacciatore. I'm sure I'm missing it--

                  1. re: Goblin

                    Pollo alla Cacciatora aka Hunter's Style Chicken, p 322 Molto Italiano

              3. Oh, how fun, I have Molto Gusto!

                1 Reply
                1. re: jaykayen

                  FYI, I just came home from the Sur la Table in Santa Monica with a Mario Batali piestra in hand. They seem to be out of stock everywhere but Sur la Table has them on clearance for $29.99. As of tonight, they had 1 more on their shelf.

                  I read online from several sources that the piestra has a reputation for cracking. I am going to chance it. If it breaks, I am sure Sur la Table will take it back.

                2. Caitlin - what a job you've done, thanks so much! Got back from Europe after 22 hours of travel time Thursday night and I'm just now getting it together. NOTICE: August would be the last month of my six-month service, so if anyone would like to volunteer starting in September, please let us know. Since I didn't do much for this month, I can extend myself to September if need be. The only thing that could be in my way would be tropical weather, and we won't count on that! Again: thank you Caitlin McGrath so much!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: bayoucook

                    Hi Bayoucook. I've already offered my services, so you (and everyone else) are off the hook for 6 more months.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      yea LulusMom! Thank you so much.

                      1. re: smtucker

                        Definitely my turn, and definitely my pleasure. Please forgive any gaffes (martini-inspired or not).

                      2. re: LulusMom

                        Thanks LulusMom! It should be a fun, informative, six months.

                        1. re: bayoucook

                          Always up for fun, and for learning. Lulu will be starting kindergarten in September, leaving me a few hours more of free time each week. Mostly I feel like it is my turn to step up to bat, but will appreciate any and all tips, help, hints on how to best do this. And thanks to everyone for the thank yous - but please, I really feel so great to be able to help. Caitlin has promised to help, and knowing what an amazing job she did, I feel in good hands.

                    2. Stocked the pantry today with some of Batali's favorite ingredients. Bought some goat's milk, ricotta salata, oranges, good quality white wine vinegar, pancetta, prosciutto, and goat cheese. The goat milk is already ricotta. This, in addition to going to the Farmer's Market today, has me ready for a week o' Batali. Reviews of tonight's meal are in the appropriate sections.

                      1. So, I picked out three recipes for dinner tonight--a salmon, a kale, and an asparagus--and had a bit of a grocery store/spousal communication failure. The only thing on my shopping list that made it home was olive oil! Will try again tomorrow.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          I am really enjoying this month's selection. Today I will be taking the day off from cooking cuz my husband is working late so I am taking the kids out for a food truck dinner in Culver City. Tomorrow I am hoping to make the waxy potatoes, black kale with ricotta and the chicken thighs recipes.

                          I know it is that time of the month again, but I can't seem to find the link for the August nomination thread. If someone could post a link, I'd appreciate it. Looking forward to posting tomorrow night!

                          1. re: dkennedy

                            Hi DK. As far as I know the August nominations thread has not been posted yet...

                        2. Has anyone had any luck finding bottarga? I've hit all the spots I can think of . . . Italian grocers, fish markets...including Toronto's biggest ones, gourmet shops - all w no luck.

                          I was excited to find fennel pollen, Italian Fregola, amazing Italian guanciale, and an amazing extra-old Fontina imported from Italy. So I've got a few more new MB dishes to try out in the week(s) ahead w these great ingredients. I couldn't resist opening the fennel pollen right away and it's simply intoxicating, I can't wait to use it!

                          I'm really enjoying this COTM. I especially like that there are lots of options using what's currently available at the market and, the grilling dishes since we naturally gravitate to the grill at this time of year. Hard to believe it's the 14th already!!

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: dkennedy

                              Thanks dk, I'm a bit nervous about shipping this cross border. Canada customs can be really tough sometimes.

                          1. It's that time again. The August 2011 COTM Nominations thread is up!!!

                            Here's the link, I'll see you there:


                            1. Because I didn't follow the entire recipe, I did not want to post on the actual COTM thread, but I did try pesto fregula (from monkfish in prosciutto with pesto fregula). It's just pesto with fregula and diced red bell peppers. A simple way to dress up the fregula and surprisingly the red bell pepper added a welcome sweetness. I also tried this with the almond pesto with success. Yum.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: BigSal

                                Thanks for the recommendation on this Big Sal. I have the monkfish and fregula dish on the menu for tomorrow night. I'd never heard of fregula before, were you already familiar with it? I was excited to find some at an Italian market and the shopkeeper said it was her absolute favourite pasta. We're really looking forward to trying it.

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  Fregula was new to me. I had purchased it after seeing it at my local cheese shop, but had not done anything with it until now. Looking forward to hearing how the whole dish works.

                              2. Romanesco alla Diavola – p. 223 – Molto Batali Simple Family Meals

                                For some reason I thought we had a companion thread for other Batali books for this COTM but my search on the Home Cooking board came up empty handed so I figured I’d post this here. Having enjoyed much success cooking from Mario’s books during this COTM and, being so very, very weak when it comes to buying cookbooks, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to know that I couldn’t help but add MB’s latest book to my shelf.

                                This afternoon when searching EYB for a use for a stunning Romanesco I picked up at a local farm I was delighted to see this recipe from Mario’s new book. I chose to roast vs boil my Romanesco and garlic and, I did add lemon juice to taste but otherwise, I followed the recipe to the letter and we LOVED this dish. Romanesco is dressed with chopped green olives, capers parsley, lemon zest, EVOO, red pepper flakes, S&P and, lemon juice. The oil is warmed w the chili flakes prior to adding the remaining ingredients.

                                I just can’t describe how lovely this dish was. A perfect antipasti that I could easily have made a meal out of. I wanted to post this jic folks were on the fence about purchasing this book. From what I’ve seen of the book so far, this is more of Mario at his best. Thankfully he’s back w Quentin Bacon behind the lens so the photography is true to the recipes as well. I have so many tabs in this book I may just have to nominate it for an upcoming COTM!!! (Kidding, I know, I know, Mario fatigue!!).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  To my delight, I noticed this post a few hours after I borrowed this new book from the library. this is one of the recipes I'd flagged and my local Greenmarket has Romanesco, so I will plan to make soon. I am curious about a few things in the recipe, though, Breadcrumbs..

                                  Why does he call for soaking the florets of Romanesco florets in ice water for 10 minutes before boiling them? (I've never heard of doing this..)

                                  Why remove the garlic cloves after boiling, instead of just adding them to the dressing with the cooked vegetable?

                                  My questions are just for curiosity; hope I do not sound too nitpicky about it...

                                  Great photos!!

                                  I wish he would not plug his prepared tomato sauces so much, though!! Seems a bit tacky.

                                2. I was certain we had a thread for Molto Batali too! I'm so bad at going back to old COTM threads when I make something from a past book. Here I was ready to post, and no thread!

                                  Anyway, from the same book that Breadcrumbs posted from above, I made the Green Pea Hummus with Focaccia Crostini. Fresh peas are briefly blanched, then whirled in the FP with tahini, garlic, and lemon, and topped with a swirl of olive oil and some sweet smoked paprika.

                                  Easy and delicious. This was one of three crostini I made for cocktails and nibbles before dinner, two on toasted baguette, this one on toasted focaccia.