Batali is a great mind and a great cook. He has authored seven books, “Simple Italian Food”, “Mario Batali Holiday Food”, “The Babbo Cookbook”, “Molto Italiano - 327 Simple Classic Italian Recipes to Cook at Home”, and “Mario Tailgates Nascar Style” “Mario Batali - Italian Grilling” and most recent publication “Spain A Culinary Road Trip”. Additionally he has won several awards including the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: New York City” award.
When Batali was asked what influenced him in becoming a chef, he replied
“ I went to college and decided that Finance is not what I wanted to do. I decided to do what I like to do, being around food. This is where it began.”
An apprenticeship with London’s legendary chef Marco Pierre White and 3.5 years of intense culinary training in the Northern Italian Village of Borgo Capanne - (population of 200) gave him the necessary skills and knowledge to return to his native United States.
Mario Batali is a busy man. He is constantly traveling, writing cookbooks, and managing a restaurant empire. Amazingly, Batali, who enjoys golf and swimming, finds time … or rather makes time … to cook breakfast for his family.
“I enjoy spending my time with my family in my home in northern Michigan,” said Batali. “I also enjoy cooking breakfast for my two sons, Benno and Leo. Their favorite is eggs in the basket. They also like when I make soft boiled eggs and toast.
“How ironic, my mother use to make the eggs in the basket and my Uncle Rocky use to make us the soft boiled eggs, put them in a coffee cup break them up, add salt and pepper and we would just dunk the toast. I guess great minds think a like.”
“When I talk about a great dish, I often get goosebumps. I’m like, wow, I’ll never forget that one. Italians are like that. It ‘s not about the food, it’s part of the memory.” Mario Batali
CELEBRITY CHEF ON THE MOVE
Being I am from an Italian family, it was always a natural; “I once had the opportunity to work in Italy. And in doing so this was a great experience for me. My goal was to take that bit of Italy wherever I went, and it started in the East coast.”
Together with his partner, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, have created a thriving restaurant business. He operated seven New York City venues, including Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca and Del Posto – two wildly successful restaurants that each have been awarded three stars by Frank Bruni of the “New York Times”. Additionally, he is the chef/owner of five very successful restaurants in New York City, Lupa Osteria Romana, Esca, Casa Mono, Bar Jamon, and Otto Enoteca Pizzaeria.
His restaurant empire stretches from New York to California. He has three in Las Vegas, B&B Ristorante and Enoteca San Marco in the Venetian Resort and Casino, and his newest is the Carnevino, an Italian Steakhouse in the Palazzo Hotel and Casino. And their most recent endeavor the Tarry Lodge Restaurant in Port Chester, New York. Mario Batali is bringing a trattoria experience to this very historical Tarry Lodge. The Lodge has been designed with spacious environment to add to your eating pleasure.
“When I talk about a great dish, I often get goose bumps,” said Batali. “I’m like, wow, I’ll never forget that one. Italians are like that. It’s not about the food, its part of the memory.”
Born in Seattle, Washington, Batali attended Rutgers University where he graduated in 1982 with a double major in Spanish Theatre and Economics. His father is Armandino Batali, owner of Salumi in Seattle Washington. Batali went to high school in Madrid and then studied business management and Spanish theater at Rutgers University. After graduation he enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in London but quickly dropped out to cook his way through Europe and North America.
During college, Batali worked as a dishwasher and a line cook. He worked his way through the kitchens of London, Paris, and San Francisco before taking over the kitchen in the Four Season’s Biltmore Hotel’s La Marina restaurant in Santa Barbara.
At 27, he was the highest paid young chef in the company. In 1989, inspired by the cooking of his grandmother, Leonetta Merlino, he began his culinary training in Borgo Capanne, a village in the northern part of Italy. He served an apprenticeship under London’s legendary chef Marco Pierre White, who gave him the necessary skills and knowledge to bring home.
“My favorite dish was ravioli,” said Batali … My grandmother made it stuffed with Swiss chard, calf brains and chicken, it was also made with an ox tail sauce.”
Batali was the featured chef on the Food Networks’s Iron Chef America. He is also starring in a PBS series with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bittman, and Claudia Bassols, featuring Spanish cuisine. The 13-episode series is titled “Spain … On the Road Again”. This will be the first of a series of shows that will be developed for PBS over the next several years. Their is also a companion book “Spain...A Culinary Road Trip (Ecco 2008)” which was released in October of 2008.
“I like to cook the foods from all of the different regions in Italy, and other countries,” said Batali. “Every region is different. The best dishes are the simple ones.”
“I like anything homemade from all countries,” said Batali, “but my favorites here are hamburgers and lamb chops.”
Mario believes “Flavor is most important, but presentation is necessary.” “Sometimes many will over do it when it comes to the presentation, they will try harder to make it a work of art, rather then a delicacy that is pleasing to eat. It is much better to keep it simple and flavorful.
He his wife, Susi Cahn, and their sons Benno and Leo, live in New York City when they are not spending time in their northern Michigan home.
Batali enjoys cruising around New York on a Vespa wearing his trademark shorts and orange crocs.
“I spend little on gas in a week,” said Batali. “I save hundreds of dollars a week in cab fare.I miss riding my Vespa when I am away from the city. It is a very delightful, and relaxing escape for me ”
To sum it all up, how does a man like this, take the time to talk with me-from airports to Spain to fund-raisers to Celebrity shows and now the Amici Journal, I guess that’s just Mario Batali!!! His last words to me were. “ I am proud to be an Italian American, it gives me great joy to share this with everyone I meet. Everyone should have pasta once a week-keep the tradition” We were lucky enough to get a simple way of making pasta dough, and we share that with our readers as well! Bravo!
PORK CHOPS WITH PEPPERS AND CAPERS
4 1/2 quarts water
1- cup kosher salt
1 cup packed brown sugar 12 black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
6 pork rib chops
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
3 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
8 bulb onions, trimmed and quartered, or 2 red onions, halved
lengthwise and cut into 1/4 - inch -thick slices
l/4 cup Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste 2 tablespoons small capers, with their brine
1 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
IN A SMALL SAUCEPAN, combine 2 cups of the water, the salt, and brown sugar and heat over high heat, stirring, until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour into a large deep bowl or another container large enough to hold the pork and the brine, add the peppercorns, the bay leaves, and the remaining 4 quarts cold water, and stir to mix well. SERVES 6
PORK SHOULDER BRACIOLE
1 ½ cups toasted bread crumbs
4 ounces thinly sliced salami, cut into 1/4- inch wide matchsticks
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
1 bunch mint, leaves only, finely chopped 1/2 cup finely
chopped fresh Italian parsley Grated zest of 3 oranges
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Twelve 1/2 -inch-thick slices boneless pork shoulder (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oranges cut into wedges
COMBINE THE BREAD CRUMBS, salami, pecorino, mint, parsley, and orange zest in a large bowl and mix well. Add % cup of the olive oil and mix well with your hands or a spoon. Set aside.
Cut twenty-four 10-inch-long pieces of kitchen twine. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork pieces very thin. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of stuffing (about 1/3 cup) on each slice of meat. Starting from a long side, roll each one up like a jelly roll and tie with 2 pieces of the twine, making a little packet. Place on a plate and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Brush the rolls lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the rolls over medium-high heat and cook, turning occasionally, until deeply marked with grill marks on all sides, about 15 minutes. Turn off one burner if using a gas grill, and move the rolls to the cooler part of the grill; or move them to the cooler perimeter of a charcoal grill. Cover the grill and cook, turning occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 185 ° to 190° F.
Transfer the rolls to a platter and serve with the orange wedges.
SIMPLE RECIPE FOR MAKING PASTA
2 cups of Semolina Flour -
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1-1 ¼ tepid water
Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the center of the flour and add water a little at a time, stirring with your hands until the dough is formed. The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when ½ the flour is incorporated. Start kneading the dough with both hands using your palms. Once fully formed remove from the board and scrape up the dry bits.
Lightly flour the board, and continue to knead for about three minutes. It should be sticky at this point, so dust your board with a little flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form to the pasta as desired.
National Italian American Celebrity Lifestyle Magazine
Copyright © 2002 Amici Journal Publications Inc