Delicious meat-free recipes from the megachef, including grilled Margherita and olive-fontina pizzas and marinated sardines with fennel, raisins, and pine nuts.
Food & Wine
February 05, 2013
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Mixed Vegetable and Farro Soup
Eataly's vegetable counter specializes in vegan dishes—specifically, vegan dishes that people might not suspect are vegan. One is this thick, hearty soup 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.
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.
"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.
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.
Most typical Italian pizzerias combine double zero flour (made from soft wheat) with all-purpose flour (made from hard wheat) to create the best crust. Look for double zero flour at Italian specialty shops or substitute cake flour.
Marinated Sardines with Fennel, Raisins and Pine Nuts
"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.
For Eataly's seafood dishes, Mario Batali enlisted the help of Dave Pasternack, chef-partner at his outstanding restaurant Esca. "This gives Dave another place to play with fish," Batali says. "Plus, I don't go to the Olympics without bringing my MVPs." Together they created this earthy salad with chopped cured anchovies in the dressing.
"This dough is not the kind you throw in the air like in the movies," Mario Batali says. He grills the crusts until they're delectably charred, then adds one of two simple toppings—a classic Margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil, and a pungent mix of Fontina, black olives and pine nuts. For the Nascar cookout, Batali cuts the pies into small wedges as appetizers but notes that they're also hearty enough to be a main course.
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).