These healthy recipes from the star chef include a fast Spanish tortilla and creamy polenta with rock shrimp ragout.
Food & Wine
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Mixed Vegetable and Farro Soup
This thick, hearty soup is made with a colorful mix of carrots, peas, leek and onion. Mario Batali also adds borlotti beans and farro, which make the soup hearty enough to be a main course. The crunchy grissini on the side aren’t vegan; they’re sweetened with honey.
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.
The iconic Andalucian salmorejo is essentially a superthick gazpacho, made with plenty of ripe tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. Invariably, it’s topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs and ham and served with fried eggplant or toasted country bread.
Marinated Sardines with Fennel, Raisins and Pine Nuts
Pairing Suggestion: “You need a wine that can counterbalance these intense sardines,” says Dan Amatuzzi of Mario Batali's quickly fried fish marinated in sweet Champagne vinegar, the classic Venetian dish sardines in saor. He selects a Verdicchio from Le Marche with sweet pear notes.
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).
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.
“Once you know how to cook an artichoke, it doesn’t just give you a skill, it changes your attitude about Rome,” says Mario Batali. “You understand the markets, where old women sit with buckets of water and lemons trimming artichokes. You appreciate the food of the city.”
“This pasta,” Mario Batali says, “always propels me into fall.” You can substitute pumpkin or hubbard squash—whichever looks more beautiful at your market—for the butternut. “Cook the squash until it’s soft but not falling apart—you don’t want al dente squash, but you don’t want mush either,” Batali says.