These quick recipes from superstar chef Mario Batali include perfect bucatini all'amatriciana and delicious sausages and peppers.
Food & Wine
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At New York City’s Babbo, Mario Batali creates a simple, brilliant version of this classic dish, tossing the long, hollow pasta strands with house-cured guanciale (pork jowl) and a spicy house-made tomato sauce. To make this dish at home, use pancetta, which is simpler to find than guanciale, and buy a good jarred tomato sauce instead of making one.
Tortilla española exists in almost every corner of Spain: as a tapa in fancy city restaurants; as a filling for bocadillos (sandwiches) at gas-station cafés; as a main course served on worn metal plates in home kitchens. Mario Batali’s version, based on one he tasted in the Ribera del Duero wine region, is baked until golden brown and offers an especially high ratio of potatoes to eggs.
“This is my take on the Little Italy classic,” says Mario Batali of the sausage and peppers that’s a mainstay of the iconic Manhattan neighborhood and its annual street festival. Stewing the bell peppers in red wine gives them richness; so does a generous garnish of grated pecorino cheese. The stewed sausages and peppers are also delicious tossed with pasta.
This is Mario Batali’s variation on a classic dish from the coastal villages outside of Trieste, where the fresh seafood is among the most prized in the world. The polenta that accompanies the shrimp must be very soft, almost saucelike. “Thick, lumpy polenta is criminal in that part of Italy, and justly so,” Batali says.
Mario Batali’s Edible Garden, at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, is named for two of his restaurants: the Otto Pizza Garden and the Babbo Beets, Garlic and Greens Garden. Cooking demonstrations feature recipes like Batali’s fritters with zucchini and rocambole garlic.
When Mario Batali and his friends arrived at Cambados, a coastal village in Galicia, they were put to work harvesting clams. Later at the Vionta Winery, just outside Cambados, Mario built a fire from dried grapevines and corncobs—“for a bit of sweetness”—and grilled lobsters and navajas (razor clams).
Mario Batali advises seeking out Italian mortadella (cured sausage made from ground pork with a smooth, delicate flavor) for these wraps; American-made mortadella, he says, is no better than bologna. He also recommends buying exquisitely milky, creamy fresh robiola cheese, but says that fresh goat cheese or even ricotta would be acceptable stand-ins.