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Mario Batali Simple Italian Food: Recipes from My Two Villages Hardcover – September 29, 1998
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Recipes are great but cover arrived dirty . Something was stuck to the front and a tiny tear on the cover.Published 13 months ago by DL Joe
Use this book so much that it fell apart and I had to buy another one.Published 14 months ago by Linda Mac
I have several of Mario's cookbooks but this is my go to when I want to make something simple. I have tried quite a few of the recipes and the dishes turn out as Mario describes. Read morePublished 21 months ago by annabella 88
Love Mario - his ingredients are easy to find and they are simple to make but ooooh sooo delicious to the palate.Published on January 16, 2014 by peggie
I WANTED SOMETHING MORE THAN SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS AND THIS IS WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR. MARIO DELIVERED AND HOW!Published on January 15, 2014 by Bob Cikanek
I love Mario Batali, he's my favorite TV chef, and I'm pissed because my cable company changed the package I had so now if I want the Cooking Channel (which still plays reruns of... Read morePublished on August 5, 2013 by Jason
I have "loved" two copies of this book to death with dog eared pages and tomato stains.
Now on my third copy. My kitchen wlll never be without it.