Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Italian
Mario Batali Holiday Food
Published: October 10, 2000
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With the infectious enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning, Mario Batali--who presides over a culinary empire that includes the popular Food Network television show Molto Mario, four acclaimed New York restaurants, and a wine
store--presents four complete menus for the holidays and captures all the fun and festivity that epitomize Italian celebrations. True to the commitment to simple cooking evident in his first book, Simple Italian Food, the dishes here deliver maximum
flavor and enjoyment without being overly complicated.
Batali's version of the famous Italian seafood extravaganza traditionally served on Christmas Eve--known as the Feast of Seven Fishes--includes no fewer than 15 enticing dishes. Marinated
Fresh Anchovies are both surprisingly delectable and delightful in their simplicity. Salt Cod with Capers and Mint, Grilled Lobster with Herbs and Arugula, and Sea Bass Ravioli with Marjoram and Potatoes would each be showstoppers as the centerpiece of
any meal. Served together, they comprise a truly unforgettable feast.
The Christmas Day menu is equally lavish, centering on a succulent boned turkey breast stuffed with chestnuts and prunes, while the New Year's Day spread is pure decadence. The
latter begins innocently enough, with a refreshing aperitivo of tangerine juice, Compari, and soda, then proceeds through a parade of richly flavored dishes, from the hot-pepper-spiked Octopus in the Style of the Prostitutes of Napoli, to the
meatball-filled "mythic pasta dome" known as Timpano di Maccheroni, to the prosciutto-wrapped Braised Pork Roll. An irresistible selection of dolci (sweets), including Cinnamon Chocolate Pudding with Pine Nuts and Waffle Cookies, rounds out the meal. New
Year's Day welcomes a relaxed daylong open house replete with an ever-changing spread of antipasti, pasta, and dolci, most of which can be prepared at leisure and served at room temperature, enabling the hosts to enjoy the party as much as the
Photos, along with helpful wine suggestions and practical advice on technique, accompany each menu. Throughout, Batali paints a portrait of his Italian-American family that reminds readers that the simple joy of being together is what the
holidays are really about. The 60 simple yet elegant recipes can be mixed, matched, and adapted for any occasion. Served together or separately, each is cause for celebration. --Robin Donovan
Never is the generosity and
spirit of the Italian table more evident than at the holidays, when great food and good times are on the menu in every household. In his new book, Mario Batali captures all the flavors of this festive season with enticing recipes that showcase the
brilliance of simple Italian food at its best.
Four complete menus offer abundant meals for the holidays, starting with the seafood extravaganza known as the Feast of Seven Fishes, traditionally served on Christmas Eve. Mario's rendition includes
almost a dozen delectable fish and seafood dishes, from delicate sea bass ravioli to the indispensable baccalà, here served in the Vesuvian style. A magnificent boned and rolled turkey breast stuffed with roasted chestnuts is the centerpiece of a lavish
Christmas Day's menu, while an assortment of alluring finger foods and a showstopping ziti-and-meatball-filled pasta dome set the tone for a lively New Year's Eve celebration. For the relaxed entertaining of New Year's Day, Mario suggests a procession of
marinated salads, pastas, and stuffed vegetables, all served at room temperature, capped off with fresh homemade sausage with sweet peppers.
One of the great pleasures of cooking at this time of the year is baking, and Mario Batali Holiday Food
includes recipes for a dozen irresistible holiday cookies, some authentically Italian and others family favorites Mario has relished since childhood. You'll also find a host of delectable tortes, custards, cakes, and confections as well as wine
suggestions and a refreshing aperitivo to round out each holiday menu.
Whether you're creating a full-blown Italian spread or simply
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