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Mario Batali Simple Italian Food: Recipes from My Two Villages Hardcover – September 29, 1998


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Mario Batali Simple Italian Food: Recipes from My Two Villages + Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home + The Babbo Cookbook
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (September 29, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609603000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609603000
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sure to excite lovers of the best Italian cooking, Mario Batali Simple Italian Food: Recipes from My Two Villages reenvisions classic home cucina with enticing results. Batali, known to fans as "Molto Mario" from his Television Food Network shows, and as chef-owner of Manhattan's much-loved Po and Babbo restaurants, presents nearly 250 of his favorite recipes, traditional and innovative, for delectable salads, pastas, grilled specialties, ragus, and desserts, among others. The collection, inspired by the cooking of Borgo Cappene, a hillside village in northern Italy, and Greenwich Village, where Batali culls exemplary ingredients for his restaurants, reflects Batali's commitment to simple cooking--impeccable ingredients sensibly combined and properly prepared. Cooks seeking deeply flavored, smartly presented dishes will embrace Batali's recipes for everyday meals and for entertaining.

Arranged by courses, antipasti through formaggi and dolci (cheese and sweets), the uncomplicated dishes include White Bean Bruschetta with Grilled Radicchio Salad, Baked Lasagna with Asparagus and Pesto, and Roasted Porgy with Peas, Garlic, Scallions and Mint. Gorgonzola with Spiced Walnuts and Port Wine Syrup with fresh fruit would make a lovely conclusion to any dinner. Throughout, Batali provides advice on dish preparation; there are 32 pages of color photos and dozens of black-and-white shots of life in Batali's two villages. Batali's reliance on the best ingredients simply prepared, rather than on fussy restaurant techniques, places his dishes squarely in the realm of home cooks. They'll find his book a keeper. --Arthur Boehm

From Booklist

New Yorkers have long appreciated Batali's Po Restaurant, and fans of his cable television cooking show have come to respect his no-nonsense approach to teaching classic Italian cooking. Batali emphasizes the essentials of regional Italian cooking, carefully noting the similarities and differences as one travels from one ancient province to another. His pasta dishes come in true Italian style, heavy on the pasta itself, light on the sauce. Seafoods shine as main courses, and Batali's insistence that the famed fish stew cioppino actually originated in Liguria will no doubt offend San Franciscans, who have long claimed it as their own. Meat dishes waste nothing and make efficient use of all parts of the animals, including organs and feet. Although many of the vegetable dishes have some meat garnishes, there are plenty of recipes that will satisfy pure vegetarians, too. Mark Knoblauch

More About the Author

Mario Batali's world now encompasses three New York City restaurants -- Babbo, Lupa, and Esca -- as well as a wine store, The Italian Wine Merchant. He is the host of Food Networks popular Molto Mario, as well as an upcoming new series, Mario Batalis Italy. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 112 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I find it hard to be entirely objective about this book, as Mario Batali is my number one culinary hero. Through his show `Molto Mario' on the Food Network, he exposed me for the first time to Italian regional and microregional cuisines and the `if it grows together, it goes together' doctrine. This is called `terroir by the fans of cooking from `the F country', which Mario loves to hate. This also brought into full light the doctrine of `buy the very best of what is fresh today and that will determine what you cook tonight.' Mario does not give you the cerebral approach of someone like Paul Bertolli or Tom Colicchio or, ultimately, like Thomas Keller, but Mario gets all the important stuff right, in a way we can appreciate and use.
I love the way Mario quite honestly confesses to having lifted most of his recipes from Italian grandmothers, as he believes that the best Italian cooking is done in the home and not in the Restaurante. In spite of his heart being with Italian cuisine, he is never disrespectful of American food and produce, especially when the American product is superior to the Italian.
This book is comprised of recipes primarily from the extended three-year stage he served in a little trattoria in Emilia-Romagna, a stones throw from the border with Toscana. But, it does contain several recipes from other parts of Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Lazio (Rome) and even Sicily. His two `villages' are Porretta Terme in Italy and Greenwich Village in Manhattan.
The book has six chapters of recipes, these being:
Antipasti, 43 recipes including crostini, bruschetta, polenta, pickled vegetables, mushrooms, and cured fish.
Primi (pasta or rice), 49 recipes including recipes for fresh pastas, gnocchi, couscous, and risottos.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Ken Stoltz on December 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Far too many people look at the title "Simple Italian Food" and think that the book is going to include tons of 30 minute recipes for everyday Italian cooking.
Wrong.
Anyone who has watched Batali's show, or anyone who reads the introduction to this book will find out that what he is referring to is the use of a few, excellent ingredients in each dish, as opposed to a long list of ingredients that will require one whole cart at the grocery store to carry. Most of the recipes require 6 or 7 ingredients, tops. Some are exotic (most have easy substitutes), yet one of Batali's primary but often-missed points is that the kind of ingredient isn't important, but its quality. I'm surprised by how few a number of people took this concept away from the book.
The recipes turn out delicious. They can be intensive at times, particularly the pasta dishes. Most of the meat dishes also require long periods of braising. Few of the dishes are quick-prepares. THAT'S FINE IF THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.
So look through the book a little bit before buying and determine if this is what you are expecting. If so, you'll likely enjoy it.
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145 of 159 people found the following review helpful By caseybean on November 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is enjoyable to read, but not as useful as I had anticipated. Many of the recipes just don't use ingredients that I can easily find or even care to use like rabbit, squab, pheasant, frogs' legs etc... That said there are some good, practical recipes-just not as many as I hoped for. I'm Italian and grew up around delicious homemade Italian food, just not the type of dishes Batali creates. Batali's recipes are indeed authentic, but not necessarily tempting. There aren't enough pasta recipes, but plenty of meat and seafood recipes in the book. Unfortunately this book spends more time on my bookshelf than in my kitchen. Try to look at a copy before purchasing this one.
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94 of 107 people found the following review helpful By "kilroyil" on July 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Being a fan of Mario Batali on the Food Network, I had high expectations for this book. His shows always made Italian cooking look simple. As a beginner cook, the title sent visions of me making Italian dishes for everyday meals. Unfortunately, many of the dishes use hard-to-find or rather expensive ingredients. Some of the ingredients used: rabbit, venison, saffron, etc. I have tried several of the dishes (mostly pasta) and they turned out quite well. The recipes I tried are mostly strong-flavored and tasty. If you love pasta, I think you'll like this book.
If the Carne section (which is where most of the meat dishes reside) used more of the common meats like beef, chicken, or pork I think I would have rated this cookbook much higher.
A small gripe: the recipes do not show which page the photos are or that they have photos at all. That makes the photos harder to find and in fact, it's quite easy to assume that the recipe has no photo at all! That's too bad considering that photos often help in deciding which of the dishes to try.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hovey on May 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Mario Batalia's Simple Italian Food: Recipes from My Two Villages" is the quintessential Italian cook book for anyone who wants to create their own Italian culinary masterpieces in the familiar surroundings of their own kitchens. This book is beautifully illustrated, very easy to read and provides the reader with the necessary basic's concerning the use of ingredients. Mario encourages us to use fresh ingredients from our own "villages" and not to be afraid to subsitute freely if a particular ingredient is not locally available. Follow the receipes, be creative when necessary and success will not be far behind. Bravo Mario.
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