Babbo Cookbook

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Overview

Some of the most inspired (and acclaimed) Italian food in the country is served at Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, Mario Batali’s flagship restaurant in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village. Diners in this converted town house have come to expect innovative flavors and artful presentations that make the most of seasonal, local, and artisanal ingredients—all with a sensibility that is distinctly Italian. Now home cooks can re-create these showstopping dishes, just as they ...
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Overview

Some of the most inspired (and acclaimed) Italian food in the country is served at Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, Mario Batali’s flagship restaurant in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village. Diners in this converted town house have come to expect innovative flavors and artful presentations that make the most of seasonal, local, and artisanal ingredients—all with a sensibility that is distinctly Italian. Now home cooks can re-create these showstopping dishes, just as they are served at the restaurant, to win raves of their own.

The Babbo Cookbook is Mario’s biggest yet, filled with 150 recipes that have redefined contemporary Italian cooking. Here for the first time he shares such signature dishes as Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage and Beef Cheek Ravioli, all showcasing his unparalleled ability to reinterpret the Italian culinary tradition in a completely original way. Recipes for dozens of Babbo’s renowned antipasti, many based on fresh seasonal produce, are followed by an alluring collection of pastas; fish, fowl, and meat entrées; and a selection of Babbo’s irresistible dessert offerings. From Grilled Pork Chops with Peaches and Balsamic Vinegar to Spicy Lamb Tartare with Mint Crostini and a Quail Egg and Wild Striped Bass with Charred Leeks and Squid Vinaigrette, The Babbo Cookbook is filled with vibrant, complex flavors that belie their straightforward preparations. Even classic recipes like Bollito Misto and Pappardelle Bolognese come alive again in bright new renditions that delight the palate.

Also included are notes on the unique touches that make a meal at Babbo such a singular dining experience, from suggestions on wine service to recipes for “predesserts” that smooth the transition from savory to sweet—all representing the distinctive brand of Italian hospitality that has become the Batali trademark.

The Babbo Cookbook is that rarity in the world of restaurant cookbooks: a collection of accessible, appetizing recipes that brings the spirit of a remarkable restaurant into the home kitchen without losing an iota of tantalizing flavor in the translation.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Mario Batali is almost a household name, thanks to his TV shows, books, and famous New York restaurants, including the flagship, Babbo.

Batali's knowledge and understanding of authentic Italian food runs deep, but his real trademark is taking traditional trattoria-style recipes and tweaking them by adding an unexpected ingredient or two, like using apple cider in Friulian-style braised pork cheeks, barbecuing octopus, or spiking braised short ribs with a horseradish gremolata.

The Babbo Cookbook features some 150 recipes from the restaurant, adapted for the home kitchen and illustrated with 150 full-color photos. It includes such signature pasta dishes as Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage, and Beef Cheek Ravioli. From his antipasti and pasta to fish, meat, and vegetables, Batali loves to deploy ingredients not so commonly used at home, like duck eggs, cardoons, boar sausage, and even mint; but read the recipes, and you'll be ready to expand your horizons.

Here's some great advice on vegetables that gives you a good idea of Batali's philosophy and a taste of the book at the same time: "The best thing to do if you are having trouble deciding what to serve with a dish is to go to the local greenmarket, find out what is in season, and buy it. Take it home, cut it into one- or two-inch pieces, put it in a roasting pan, drizzle it with olive oil, and toss it into a 475° F oven. Cook it until it's cooked through and maybe starting to get a little dark on the outside edges. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Squeeze a little lemon juice on it, season it with sea salt and pepper, and just serve it as it is."

The Babbo Cookbook also features an essay on the restaurant's style of hospitality, some good advice on wine selection, serving, presentation, and menu planning, and seven stylish aperitifs -- salute! (Ginger Curwen)

From the Publisher
“Every time I go to New York, I see Mario at the [Union Square] farmers’ market. It is his attention to fresh, seasonal ingredients that makes these dishes so irresistible.”
—Alice Waters

“Historically, when we adapt an ethnic cuisine to our own uses we start with the most ordinary and work our way up, frequently making a mess along the way. In our lifelong search for the genuine we need a guidebook to get close to the pinnacle and, in the case of Italian cuisine, it has been delivered in the shape of Mario Batali’s Babbo Cookbook, which is a new standard of excellence. Babbo is my favorite American restaurant and this book allows me to bring its grace to my home kitchen.”
—Jim Harrison

“Funny. Bold. Beautiful. Full of life and full of flavor. From the Blood Orange Bellini to the Mint Love Letters (irreverent ravioli) and Barbecued Skirt Steak with Endive, this book is pure Mario. Great food, great snapshots (they exude the restaurant hustle-bustle), and Joe’s great wine notes take you right to the heart of the Babbo experience.”
—Rick Bayless, chef, author, and host of Public Television’s Mexico—One Plate at a Time

“Babbo is revelatory—the freshest ingredients, simply or elaborately prepared, combine into nothing short of a celebration. If food could rule the world, Mario Batali would be Emperor. In fact, he is. Or should be.”
—Michael Stipe

Publishers Weekly
This book reads not only as a guide to modernized Italian cooking, but also as a very successful advertisement for its phenomenally successful namesake New York City restaurant. While it offers recipes for signature dishes such as Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage and Beef Cheek Ravioli, it also includes descriptions of some of the workings of the restaurant, such as a brief essay on the difference between side dishes offered in traditional restaurants in Italy and the side dishes offered at Babbo. The recipes are excellent clearly written and easy to follow and carefully edited for the home cook but some of the ingredients and equipment called for will be difficult for laypeople to acquire, and many recipes are quite complex. Planked King Salmon with Cucumbers and Balsamic Vinegar calls for an 8-by-12-inch cedar plank; Bollito Misto requires calf's tongue, a capon and cotechino sausage. And Marinated Fresh Anchovies with "Giardiniera" and Lobster Oil requires boning fresh anchovies but fails to provide instructions. Still, the mixtures of flavors in dishes such as Whole Roasted Branzino with Braised Fennel and Lemon Oregano Jam and Joe's Veal Chop with Chanterelles, Roasted Garlic, and Campari are irresistible. Desserts follow the same traditional-Italian-with-a-twist formula just as successfully: Olive Oil and Fresh Rosemary Cake is a refreshing version of an Italian "keeping cake," and Pumpkin Cake with Toasted Pine Nuts and Olive Oil Gelato combines traditional flavors in surprising ways. Forecast: This book is as classy and culinarily tempting as the restaurant it represents. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Batali is the co-owner of three New York City restaurants and host of two popular Food Network television series. His first book, Mario Batali Simple Food, presented many of the dishes from his original restaurant, P". Babbo, which he opened in 1998 to great success, is known for its emphasis on organ meats and other specialty cuts, and included here are recipes for Batali's famous Beef Cheek Ravioli, Salted Jellyfish Salad with Golden Tomatoes, and the like. But there are also many recipes for such mouthwatering if less "exotic" dishes as Mint Love Letters (i.e., herbed pasta squares) with Spicy Lamb Sausage and Black Bass in a Lemon Brodetto. Most of the recipes are shown in stunning close-ups, and Batali's "front of the house" partner, Joe Bastianich, provides commentary on serving wine and related topics. Batali's TV series will ensure demand beyond the restaurant's fans; for most collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609607756
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 280,317
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mario Batali
MARIO BATALI is known to viewers of Food Network coast to coast as the host of Molto Mario and Mario Eats Italy, his influential cooking shows exploring the regional cuisines of Italy. He co-owns and operates three enormously popular New York restaurants, Babbo, Esca, and Lupa, as well as Italian Wine Merchants, a store devoted exclusively to the wines of Italy. Mario is the author of two previous books, Mario Batali Simple Italian Food and Mario Batali Holiday Food. He lives in New York City with his wife, Susi, and two sons.
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Read an Excerpt

Ziti with Tuscan-Style Cauliflower
Serves 4

We call all vegetables cooked in this manner "Tuscan-style," fitting, as I learned this blanch-free method in Faith Willinger's Florentine kitchen, perhaps one of the most Tuscan in Italy.

kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves only
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound ziti
Pecorino Romano, for grating

1. Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.

2. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the onion, mint, red pepper flakes, and garlic, and sauté over medium-high heat until the garlic is just golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender, about 7 minutes.

3. Cook the ziti in the boiling water according to the package directions, until tender yet al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the cauliflower. Toss over high heat for 1 minute, then divide the pasta evenly among four heated bowls, grate Pecorino over each bowl, and serve immediately.

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Recipe

ZITI WITH TUSCAN-STYLE CAULIFLOWER
Serves 4

We call all vegetables cooked in this manner "Tuscan-style," fitting, as I learned this blanch-free method in Faith Willinger's Florentine kitchen, perhaps one of the most Tuscan in Italy.

Kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of fresh mint, leaves only
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound ziti
pecorino romano cheese, for grating

  1. Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.
  2. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the onion, mint, red pepper flakes, and garlic, and sauté over medium-high heat until the garlic is just golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender, about 7 minutes.
  3. Cook the ziti in the boiling water according to the package directions, until tender yet al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the cauliflower. Toss over high heat for 1 minute, then divide the pasta evenly among four heated bowls, grate Pecorino into each bowl, and serve immediately.

SPRING SCAFATA
Serves 8 as a side dish

10 to 12 cardoon stalks
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white parts only, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely shredded mint leaves
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
12 baby artichokes, trimmed and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pecorino romano, for grating

  1. Peel the fibrous outer skin from the cardoons and slice each stem into 1/4-inch by 3-inch matchsticks. Place in a medium saucepan with water to cover and add the lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the leeks and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened and slightly golden. Add the mint, red pepper flakes, artichokes, carrots, and fennel and cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with Pecorino, and serve.

ESPRESSO TORRONE WITH DRUNKEN CHERRIES
Serves 12

The combo of coffee and cherries had me worried at first, but the texture of the torrone -- a nougat candy -- makes the two work perfectly from the very first bite.

Wine suggestion: Malvasia Passito by la Stoppa; this passito has a beautiful balance of sweetness and acidity, with a lingering finish and honey-citrus tones.

2-3/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1/2 cup honey
6 egg whites
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tablespoons brewed espresso
1 tablespoon pure coffee extract
2 teaspoons amaretto

Drunken Cherries
1 cup dried Michigan cherries
1 cup sweet vermouth
3 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Line a large loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, place the sugar, corn syrup, and honey. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and place over medium heat. While the sugar is cooking, place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat on low speed with the whip attachment.
  3. As the sugar approaches soft ball stage (234° to 240°F.), increase the mixer speed so that the egg whites begin to form soft peaks. Cook the sugar to the soft ball stage. Remove from the heat. With the mixer on low, carefully drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites. Keep the stream of sugar against the side of the bowl to prevent the sugar from hitting the whip.
  4. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the bowl is cool to the touch. Add the espresso coffee extract, and amaretto. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the whipped cream.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
  6. Place the cherries, vermouth, sugar, and vanilla bean in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the cherries are plump and have absorbed almost all of the liquid. Remove from the heat, discard the vanilla bean, and cool completely.
  7. To serve, place a small scoop of espresso torrone in the center of a small plate. Ladle a spoonful of cherries and their liquid over the top.

Copyright © 2002 by Mario Batali.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    Awesome!

    Vintage Mario Batali

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