Richard Betts

"I ate a ton of cannellini beans when I lived in Tuscany," Richard Betts says. "I made them a lot as a poor student. I still make them. Nothing has changed." Here, he tosses them with tomato sauce spiked with chiles and guanciale, the Italian bacon made from pig jowls or cheek. Plus:  More Italian Recipes and Tips 
Richard Betts is an avid mushroom forager: "Mushrooms are a great expression of terroir, just like wine is." Using a recipe from Jennifer Biesty, a contestant on Top Chef, he sautés them with garlic to top his plump, intensely potatoey gnocchi. Slideshows:  More Gnocchi Recipes 
Ligurian Seafood Soup
Rating: Unrated
This gorgeous dish of layered shellfish and seafood is based on a recipe that sommelier Richard Betts found in a 1995 issue of F&W. He still has the original cooking-stained recipe, though the pot he makes it in is even older: a Dutch oven that's been in the Betts family since 1839. "It's pretty wild," he says. "Civil War meals were cooked in that pot!" Betts freely adapts the recipe to whatever looks best at the market, but he always follows the same formula: fish on the bottom, shellfish on the top. "It's so impressive," he says. "When you pull it out of the oven, people freak." More Seafood Recipes
This indulgent gratin is the result of a trip Richard Betts took in 2006 to the Rhône Valley's renowned winery Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, where his daughter Isabella found a giant porcini under an oak tree. "We took it to the winery and everyone got so excited because it was the first one of the season," says Betts. "That afternoon, all the workers split; Jean-Louis Lombard, the vineyard manager, said they were mushroom hunting. The next day there were flats of porcini." Lombard told Betts that most of the mushrooms would get sliced and dried and used in gratins throughout the winter. "I took that idea and ran with it," says Betts. Slideshows:  More Gratin Recipes 
People think duck is intimidating to cook, but this recipe is very simple. To make it even easier, substitute five-spice powder for the coriander, cinnamon, star anise, and cumin.