Herb-and-Cheese-Filled Chicken Thighs
Very Soft Polenta with Rock Shrimp Ragout
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.
Cavatelli with Spicy Winter Squash
“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.
Roasted Squash with Red Onion, Oregano and Mint
For the best results, look for elongated rather than bulbous squash.
Trenette with Pesto, Beans and Potatoes
Suggested wine pairing: Brisk, slightly nutty Soave.
Suggested wine pairing: Earthy, cherry-scented Chianti Classico.
Butcher's Ragù with Fusilli
This sauce, an ever-so-slightly creamy ragù made with ground beef, pancetta and ham, is flavored with tomato paste instead of canned tomatoes.
Mixed Vegetable and Farro Soup
This thick, hearty soup is a colorful mix of carrots, peas, leek and onion. Mario Batali adds borlotti beans and farro, which make the soup hearty enough to be a vegan main course.
Spicy Stewed Sausages with Three Peppers
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.
Meat Loaf Stuffed with Prosciutto and Spinach
The vegetables in this luxurious yet easy take on classic meat loaf can be leftovers, says Mario Batali: “Just make sure they're cooked long enough to be very soft—if they’re al dente, the meat loaf will tear when you slice it and wreck your day.”
Anchovy and Roasted-Pepper Salad with Goat Cheese
Mario Batali enlisted the help of Dave Pasternack to create this earthy salad with chopped cured anchovies in the dressing.
Goat Cheese Ravioli with Orange and Fennel
Using wonton wrappers is a great shortcut for making Mario Batali’s tangy herbed goat cheese ravioli.
Tomato and Garlic Dip
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.
White Clam Pie
Chile-Steamed Mussels with Green Olive Crostini
Suggested wine pairing: Because good sparkling wine cuts through heat, it’s an ideal pairing with spicy foods.
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.
Mario Batali’s simple, brilliant version of this classic dish calls for tossing the long, hollow pasta strands with house-cured guanciale (pork jowl) and a spicy house-made tomato sauce.
Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage
Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette
In Mario Batali’s riff on the traditional antipasto of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, he wraps spears in pancetta (which, unlike prosciutto, becomes nicely crispy when cooked) and grills them. Adding a bit of tanginess is the citronette, a marvelously bright-tasting mustardy-orange dressing.
Spaghetti with Artichokes and Pancetta
“Artichokes don’t have to start a fight with wine,” says Mario Batali. He sautés sliced artichokes with lardo (cured pork fat) or pancetta, then tosses them with spaghetti.
Mortadella and Cheese Panini
To make these sandwiches, use 6-by-4-inch slices of dense white bread from a peasant loaf to accommodate the hearty filling.
Grilled Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde
Skirt steak, nicely marbled with fat, takes well to marinades, like this simple mix of herbs and garlic. Mario Batali accents the grilled meat with a sauce made with more herbs and garlic, plus capers and anchovies; he likes to make his salsa verde superthick.
Marilyn Batali's Blackberry Pie
While walking in Galicia with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali spotted a bush full of ripe blackberries, his “favorite fruit in life,” and recalled filling the back of his parents’ station wagon with buckets of blackberries when he was growing up in Seattle. After getting his mother, Marilyn, to e-mail him her recipe, Mario prepared this luscious pie.
Grilled Asparagus with Pepper Zabaglione
Mario Batali chars his asparagus on the grill, then serves it with a superrich zabaglione sauce spiked with black pepper.
Grilled Margherita and Olive-Fontina Pizzas
"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.
Bruschetta with Peperonata
Mario Batali tops crisp, garlic-rubbed bread with tender, sweet peppers enlivened with chiles and anchovy paste.
Osso Buco with Horseradish Gremolata
When he hosts dinners, Mario Batali often makes braised dishes. "I can leave the kitchen and talk to my guests," says the chef. "And the most remarkable fragrance fills my house." This recipe calls for four large shanks, but there's plenty of meat to serve six.