Mario Batali on Where to Eat in Italy

The chef, TV star, and F&W guest editor, divulges his favorite restaurants in Italy, from Puglia to Piedmont.
One dish served fresh every day.
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Tipicamente, San Fele, Basilicata

"Basilicata is an area where restaurants rarely capture the joys of the home table and are nothing to write home (or to Food & Wine) about. One of my favorite exceptions is in San Fele, a sweet little mountain town. Tipicamente captures tradition and forward thinking at the same moment on every plate. Chef Antonio Puppio leaves no heroic local ingredient untouched, celebrating everything from the podolica long-horn cattle to the burrata from Andria. My meal started with a crunchy ball of porcini and waxy potatoes on a delicious puddle of barley soup, made rich with fragrant saffron. The paccheri pasta, a seemingly risky yet perfect take on carbonara with baccalà, guanciale and a dusting of peperone di Senise (a spicy pepper), made me crazy. Then came rabbit with braised fennel; a stew of potatoes, mushrooms and lamb shoulder; and a carafe of Cirò (a Calabrian wine). I was actually angry at how effortless this cooking looked, and how complex and miraculously geo-specific the flavors were, and the way the wind and the wine and the food danced together."

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