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on October 29, 2011
I bought this to give as a little extra gift for my son to open on his birthday in November. He appreciates good food (like his mother) and likes to eat healthy but hearty. I have countless cookbooks but not a one by Mario Batali, that is until now. I am keeping this one and getting my son another one in time to gift. What immediately struck me in this book was the use of both familiar and some unusual (but accessible) and very unusual ingredients to use in cooking--kohlrabi, cardoons (like a huge celery), endive, radishes, plus others. To me, personally, I love trying out new spices and ingredients, or using familiar ingredients in an unusual way--that is the adventure for me. When I have guests over for dinner, I like to serve at least one thing that they may never have had before or recently, or something familiar served in a new way. This book does that for me. Then there are the basics, yummy roasts, short ribs, mostly meats & fowl, some shellfish, pastas (also many unusual kinds), polentas, vegetables, beans, etc.. There are a variety of soups, entrees, sides, and desserts to choose from. The recipes are overwhelmingly 'rustic,' and the pictures bring that forth--no fru fru here. (There's also a recipe for cannoli and shells, one that I make myself in the same way). Almost every recipe has its own picture which draws you right in. The Table of Contents is laid out clearly to find any recipe at a moment's glance. Each of the twelve chapters is organized by the months of the year so that the menu matches the season. As the title implies, none of these recipes are involved or complicated. The layout of the recipes has all ingredients and directions printed on one page and on the opposite page is the picture. If you desire to make one of the dishes with some unusual ingredient you know you can't find, there is a large resource guide in the back of book to find it...or as I have been known to do, I substitute; call me a rebel. I don't let anything hold me back if I'm ready and willing to try out a new recipe.

Do I have any negatives? Yes, one very minor one. In just a few recipes, (thankfully few) notations in the recipe 'suggest' buying Mario's product to complete the recipe. It's not a big deal but I cringe when I see the author stoop to this level. If you want someone to know your products exist, mention it once in the foreword, then don't mention it again in specific recipes. To my mind, it is tacky. Despite this one minor negative, it is easy to see that a lot of effort and thought went into this cookbook. For now this review is one to let others know about the book, that it's worth having for all the reasons I've mentioned. So many cookbooks, so little time, as they say; but I will use this one soon and report back when I do. It's getting cold out so I think I will start with the Tuscan Ribollita soup (in "chapter October") after I buy some fresh greens; then I'll be ready to go. I just wanted to share the basics with everyone in the meantime, bc I am very pleased with the many thoughtful features of this book that I wanted to let the word out.

UPDATE: Made the Ribollita soup, halved it, which still made plenty for up to 6 people. Easy to make. I used broth instead of water. Finishing up leftovers today. The Marinated Broiled Portobellos were fast and tasty, to be eaten warm or room temp. The Prime Rib paste/marinade, great. Used it on steak too.
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on January 24, 2012
We are trying to eat more seasonal, vegetable heavy meals in our household and this book has been immensely useful in helping me get a good meal on table in a reasonable amount of time. Most Italian cookbooks I have (including Batali's previous ones) always leave me wondering what to serve alongside the the glut of pasta and meat dishes they contain. Not so with this one. The chapters are broken down by month of the year and a they are side heavy (I'd say a third to half of each months recipes are vegetables or salads). Some of the highlights I've cooked so far have been rutabagas with maple, chili and mint, roasted kohlrabi with parmesan, and roasted parsnips with horseradish, chives and poppy seeds.

My only word of warning is that the recipe measurements and cooking times sometimes seem a bit off so you'll need to use your experience and judgment, but all in all I'm very happy with this book. It's been in heavy rotation in my kitchen for the last month.
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on January 16, 2012
Let me first say that I am a big fan of Mario Batali. This cookbook, however, is extremely disappointing. I have all of his cookbooks and over 100 other Italian cookbooks and believe this to be one of the worst in my collection. After just cooking four straight days out of the book, my entire family has been disappointed with the results. The ingredients are off, the cooking times dont make sense and he inexplicably uses toasted breadcrumbs on so many different pasta recipes it is both mystifying and frustrating. On every recipe I cooked from the book (except the clementine lamb) I had to adjust cooking times. Also, just look at the table of contents, every meat dish is a shank or roast. No fish, limited poultry. Big meat, poorly cooked. Pasta lacking flavor and complexity. Mario is off his game and should be embarrassed by this effort. If you like him, as I do, go to Lupa in Soho New York. Dont buy his cookbooks until he gets it back together again. Mario, shame on you.
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on September 23, 2015
I have always wanted a cookbook from Batali. I am a Chew fan and I like what he cooks on the show. I went to the library and picked up several of his cookbooks. This is the one I chose to order and have forever and ever on my shelf.

It has a lot of recipes of things I Have never heard of. Perhaps everything "Italian" isn't spaghetti sauce or Alfredo based. What???? There are actually a lot of healthier options which is good. Some of them, however, are things that are hard to find or involve several steps. This is not your come home on a weeknight and cook something real fast cookbook. But, It is great for a special meal for a dinner party. There is not an actual recipe that I have seen for "spaghetti sauce". There are a couple for several variations of red sauce though. Maybe that is what real Italians call Spaghetti sauce??? I don't know.

I did make several of the noodles in this book and all have turned out great! He goes into great detail on the different variations and shapes of the noodles. Yes, they're all the same basic ingredients wise but different shapes hold different purposes and make flavors come out different ways.

I think its a good staple for an Italian cookbook. It is kind of wordy but I guess the book fits his personality :)
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on March 9, 2014
While I don't agree with Batali's self righteous political gibberish, In all fairness, I must admit that this is a very good collection of authentic Italian recipes and techniques. A very good book, indeed!
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on December 8, 2013
Excellent cookbook. So many times I find recipes in cookbooks calling for ingredients that either I don't know or are not readily available. Not the case with this cookbook. The recipes are interestingly different. Good pictures. Book is arranged by month menus.
I originally checked this book out of the local library. Liked it so well I bought it as a gift for my culinary want-to-be friend. She is very happy with it.
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on November 28, 2011
So you just need to adjust quantities accordingly. Outstanding vegetable recipes. I am celiac so I just substitute gluten free rice pastas (Tinkyada and you can order at an great price per case from Amazon)in some of the recipes. Who knew Italian could be so interesting? Best cookbook I have bought in years. Excellent value for the $. Would make a great gift for any experience level.
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on February 10, 2013
As a young man I was raised in the kitchen of my families Italian restraunt In Brooklyn and i love to cook.
Mario Batalies book Molto Batali is the best ever. Its cooking like my family use to and I do.

He's the best

Francis Albert Sena
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on September 1, 2012
simple delicious, seasonal and doable this is a perfect book for someone who already knows a bit about cooking and is curious about real seasonal changes in taste and texture
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on August 10, 2013
I don't think there is another Italian chef like Mario Batali. This book is so personal, giving you recipes that he shares with his family. What can be better than that.
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