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Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home Hardcover – May 3, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
It takes a kind of genius—or obsessive personality—to open five successful restaurants, host two Food Network shows and write three cookbooks, and Batali's manic energy comes alive on every page of this fourth book devoted to dishes for the home cook. With over 300 recipes, the volume is an overstuffed celebration of the rustic local fare Batali loves, organized by course (antipasto, soup, pasta, fish, etc.). Fans will find repeat renditions of signature Batali dishes found in his earlier volumes, such as Short Ribs in Barolo, and Bucatini all'Amatriciana, but can also discover tantalizing new ones, such as Malloredus with Fennel, Game Hen with Pomegranate, and Lamb Shanks with Orange and Olive. Batali excels when he translates complex traditional dishes for the modern kitchen, such as Pork Loin in the Style of Porchetta. But in his desire to keep things "simple," he sometimes goes astray, as in the case of homemade sausage, which is reduced to two not-very-simple steps of instructions. Such compression threatens to undermine Batali's true passion for teaching Americans to savor the intense flavors of local ingredients simply prepared. All in all, the book tries to pack in too much; the two pasta sections would make a book in themselves. What the home cook really needs is more Mario, fewer recipes. Photos, drawings. (May)
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From the Back Cover
"The trick to cooking is that there is no trick." ––Mario Batali
The only mandatory Italian cookbook for the home cook, Mario Batali's MOLTO ITALIANO is rich in local lore, with Batali's humorous and enthusiastic voice, familiar to those who have come to know him on his popular Food Network programs, larded through about 220 recipes of simple, healthy, seasonal Italian cooking for the American audience.
Easy to use and simple to read, some of these recipes will be those "as seen" on TV in the eight years of "Molto Mario" programs on the Food Network, including those from "Mediterranean Mario," "Mario Eats Italy," and the all–new "Ciao America with Mario Batali." Batali's distinctive voice will provide a historical and cultural perspective with a humorous bent to demystify even the more elaborate dishes as well as showing ways to shorten or simplify everything from the purchasing of good ingredients to pre–production and countdown schedules of holiday meals. Informative head notes will include bits about the provenance of the recipes and the odd historical fact.
Mario Batali's MOLTO ITALIANO will feature ten soups, thirty antipasti (many vegetarian or vegetable based), forty pasta dishes representing many of the twenty–one regions of Italy, twenty fish and shellfish dishes, twenty chicken dishes, twenty pork or lamb dishes and twenty side dishes, each of which can be served as a light meal. Add twenty desserts and a foundation of basic formation recipes and this book will be the only Italian cooking book needed in the home cook's library.
Top customer reviews
Mario is Mario -- as anyone who has watched his FoodTV programs already knows. His casual air makes preparation of classic Italian food look easy and accessible to anyone. Well, ya know what? With this book it is.
He writes the recipes so that anyone who can read can cook. The recipes are clear, well-thought-out, and non-intimidating. Perhaps the best thing for me, personally, was recipes I had never seen before -- for food we have eaten in Emilia-Romano and at homes of friends in Italy. Now, I can bring it all home!
Tonight, it is the exquisite and light Lasagna alla Bolognese al Forno -- first cooked for us in a special small hotel in Loiano. Mario speaks of 'Italian Grandma' cooking -- and this is what we had. Grandma in the kitchen, daughter serving, and granddaughter at the desk, welcoming people. Grandma has no English, but her cooking speaks volumes. She will not be forgotten. Much of what she fed us appears in Mario's book, and will soon be on my table.
I own, and use, the cookbooks from all the noted experts of Italian Cuisine -- Mario and Lidia are enough. I will never resell this book -- it is a treasure.
There are some recipes in the book that are not so simple. However, there are others that can be both easy to make and quite tasty! One example: Frittata with Spinach and Cheese. I have made frittatas before, but this recipe is very interesting and is a lot tastier than what I have made previously. Spinach, onion, eggs, grated parmigiano-reggiano. Simple components and a tasty result. Other relatively easy to make dishes include: spaghetti with green olive sauce, penne with cauliflower, chicken hunter's style, Roman style artichokes, broccoli sautéed in wine and garlic, stuffed cabbage, potatoes roasted with garlic cloves. I'm not a dessert person, so the interesting dessert dishes at the end aren't so intriguing to me as some other reviewers. However, some of these do look like they would be tasty for those enjoying homemade deserts.
All in all, some of the recipes are a little more challenging than I am interested in tackling. However, many more are eminently doable and tasty in the process. This cookbook is worth a look for those interested in homemade Italian cuisine.