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Molto Italiano: Simple Italian Recipes for Cooking at Home by Mario Batali

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Notes about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    2006 James Beard Award Winner

    See Lisa Is Cooking's take on Spicy Sicilian chicken from this book.

  • Breadcrumbs on June 04, 2011

    So many successful. tasty recipes in this terrific book. I hope to be able to add reviews to all our faves at some point in the future. Though I have an extensive collection of Italian cookbooks, I've come to learn that I can absolutely count on Mario for palate-pleasing dishes. This book is no exception and we've really enjoyed recipes we've tried from this book.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Frittata with spinach and cheese

    • twoyolks on December 30, 2012

      There's too much spinach in this in ratio to the eggs. The spinach overprowers all the other flavors.

  • Marinated fresh anchovies

    • bellatavia on May 04, 2015

      Mario Batali's recipes never work for me. They are nearly always too salty (this one was inedible it was so salty) and/or the cooking times were off. I give up.

  • Beet green soup

    • fprincess on May 28, 2013

      Beet greens remind me of sorrel which I love. They are slightly acidic (from the oxalate). The recipe for beet green soup in Molto Italiano starts by cooking onions and garlic in olive oil, then adding diced potatoes and sliced beet greens. I adapted this recipe and mixed them with radish greens and turnips greens that I did not want to throw away. Everything is then cooked in water with a bay leaf and red pepper flakes. I chose to put everything in the blender but it would also work without that step for a more rustic soup. The key for me is the pecorino garnish. Very comforting (although not especially photogenic) with a slice of rustic bread. Photo here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/70326-molto-italiano-327-simple-italian-recipes/?p=1920242

  • Chickpea and pasta soup

    • Thredbende on August 12, 2011

      This is amazingly good and uses pantry ingredients. The depth of flavor is haunting. You will definitely make it a second time.

    • twoyolks on November 02, 2013

      The saffron is by far the predominant flavor in the soup. The soup was good but not great for us.

  • Risotto with acorn squash

    • twoyolks on October 10, 2012

      I made a half recipe and it made two generous servings. I also used vegetable stock in place of chicken stock. I also added a touch of nutmeg that I think went well.

  • Spaghetti with green tomatoes

    • fprincess on August 20, 2013

      Recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/spaghetti-with-green-tomatoes-spaghetti-con-pomodori-verdi-recipe/

  • Pesto

    • twoyolks on July 30, 2015

      This is a good, if basic, pesto recipe.

  • Spaghetti alla carbonara

    • fprincess on October 28, 2010

      Perfection. We can this "breakfast pasta" at home. Make sure to add plenty of ground pepper.

  • "Weeds" with sausage

    • Breadcrumbs on May 03, 2010

      p. 189 - May '10 - second use of this recipe. Delicious results. Made as set out w the exception of the addition of cremini mushrooms each time. Comes together very quickly w little prep required. 9/10. Will make again.

  • Baked pasta with ricotta and ham

    • Breadcrumbs on May 13, 2010

      p. 190 - calls for 1 lb italian cooked ham, 1 cup red wine, 1lb fresh ricotta and 8oz hard provolone or caciotta. Baked for 25mins after sauce prep etc. - Looks good, Mario describes as an Easter dish "beautiful mess"

  • Green fettuccine with chicken livers

    • vwchang on May 18, 2011

      The only dish in this cookbook that I would not make again. Particularly disappointing given love of chicken livers...

  • Pappardelle with boar ragu

    • adrienneyoung on January 06, 2013

      Made this to use up 4 leftover roast chops from a rack: 1 tbsp red pepper flakes is too much. But that said, this is lovely. Keeper!

  • Ricotta gnocchi with sausage and fennel

    • Breadcrumbs on October 17, 2010

      p. 226 - Oct 2010 - First use of this recipe, or "half" of this recipe to be precise. We'd purchased some ricotta gnocchi from an Italian gourmet shop and I found this recipe put it to use. I made the sauce as directed with no modifications and while it was delicious, it didn't look as "tomatoe-y" as the sauce in the book's photo. I suppose my fennel bulb may have been bigger than Mario's as my sauce was very thick from all the finely diced veg. We loved it none-the-less and would definitely make this dish again. I used the food processor to dice the veggies which saved a ton of time. In the end you get a sauce that has the appearance of a rich ragu that could have been on simmering on the stove all day but in reality, the dish comes together in under 45 mins.

  • Neapolitan meatballs

    • fprincess on November 16, 2010

      This is IT!!! Wonderful meatball recipe. Perfection. I love the delicious surprise of the pine nuts inside.

  • Scampi with garlic, chiles and fennel

    • Breadcrumbs on January 03, 2013

      p. 274 I picked up some langoustines to accompany our grilled steaks for our New Year’s Day dinner and this recipe suit our plans perfectly. Happy to say this dish was the hit of the evening. As you may be able to tell from the photos, I didn’t have any fennel fronds so I opted to use Italian parsley instead but I infused my broth with a little ground fennel seed and, dusted the finished dish w fennel pollen. I look forward to trying it again with the fronds though. The sweetness of the langoustines contrasted nicely with the tartness and heat of the chili-infused wine broth. I served mine atop some steamed rice whereas mr bc preferred his sauce on the side so he could dip as he goes. (He also likes to keep each item separate on his plate). A simple, elegant dish that I’m happy to have in my repertoire. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/561496#7802687

  • Chicken with "cooked wine"

    • Aniseed on January 14, 2012

      This is a fabulous dish, which I have made many times, always well received.

  • Spicy Sicilian chicken

    • Breadcrumbs on September 28, 2010

      p. 316 - Sept 2010 - First use of this recipe which appealed for its use of fall vegetables. Simple to make as all non-meat ingredients are added at once and mixture just simmers on the stove. Cooking time is off for potatoes and carrots based on suggested preparation (cut into large cubes). I simmered for 45 mins. The sauce for this dish is thin, a broth yet the flavours are well developed, especially for the quick prep time. I think the addition of olives and capers add to the depth of flavour of the dish. I'd make this again, it was tasty and healthy as I opted to use boneless skinless chicken breasts.

  • Chicken in the style of Canzano

    • bodeswell on December 02, 2012

      Chicken in the Style of Canzano. I liked this perfectly well, although I’m confused about what happens with the sauce. I strained it, which took out the rosemary, hot pepper, and sage, but also the prosciutto bits.

  • Chicken hunter's-style

    • bellatavia on February 23, 2012

      This is a really great recipe though I found that the pancetta made this dish very salty. If I made this again I might eliminate the salt in the rub on the meat.

  • Duck scaloppine with dried cherries and grappa

    • fprincess on March 21, 2013

      It's a great dish because it takes very little effort and only uses one pan. The duck breasts are separated and cut into pieces. They are pounded until thin, dredged in flour, and cooked in olive oil (the recipe called for 1/4 cup but I used a couple of tablespoons). He uses dried cherries, red wine, grappa, chicken stock and butter for the sauce. I did not have any stock on hand so I just used water. As for the grappa, I decided to substitute armagnac and reduce the amount from 1/2 cup (!) to a more reasonable ~ 3 tablespoons. The sauce is a tad oily (it's not degreased) but it's very flavorful and has a luscious texture. Photos here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/70326-molto-italiano-327-simple-italian-recipes/?p=1912926

  • Pheasant farmer-style

    • anya_sf on May 14, 2017

      I made this with wild pheasant my husband shot, which I had only attempted to cook once before (by braising) and turned out tough and dry. This recipe gave me hope! I think wild pheasant may be tough and dry (compared with chicken) no matter what. But brining the pheasant and wrapping it in pancetta made a world of difference. The sauce was incredibly flavorful.

  • Osso buco with toasted pine nut gremolata

    • twoyolks on December 23, 2014

      The oven temperature causes most of the liquid to evaporate from the pot leaving very little to use as a sauce with the meat. This causes the meat to be a bit dry.

  • Pork loin in the style of porchetta

    • Breadcrumbs on December 07, 2010

      Dec 2010 - First and last use of this recipe. There's a lovely photo of a Porchetta style roast in the book, too bad they didn't provide the recipe for that roast! Issues w this recipe: WAY too much stuffing for quantity of pork loin, pork stuffing is cooked ahead and in tiny balls (as cooked ground meat is) very little greens added yet if you look at photo, stuffing is quite green and, meat is in big chunks as if it was cooked inside the roast. Cooking duration is also too long given that pork loin is very thin in order to roll. Nothing like photo or, real porchetta. I give this 1 star for flavour and this is a first for me.

  • Braised pork in the "black rooster"

    • oaklandskillet on December 08, 2014

      This recipe turned out very well. The instructions say to add the paste before browning the pork. I was a little concerned that the paste would burn before the pork was very brown. I think next time I will brown the pork first, at least on a few sides. I would definitely make this recipe again.

  • Lamb shanks with oranges and olives

    • semaphoredm on August 07, 2016

      could be cooked a bit longer than the 1-1.5 hours recommended if you really want it falling from the bone

  • Roman-style baby lamb

    • evromans on October 02, 2011

      One of my favorite lamb dishes, I usually add potato puree and oven-grilled vegetables as side dishes.

  • Broccoli sauteed in wine and garlic

    • anya_sf on June 26, 2017

      I found the instructions confusing. It says to saute the broccoli spears on medium-high, adding wine a bit at a time. But the wine evaporated long before the broccoli was tender. I ended up partially covering the broccoli with a lid and also adding more water. Some bites were overly acidic, I think due to the wine. It also turned the broccoli olive green, so it wasn't as pretty. The citrus zests and garlic were nice. I might try the same seasonings without the wine, using water and covering the pan during cooking.

  • Eggplant caponata

    • annaschmidt on April 26, 2014

      The flavor of this is great, but I wanted my eggplant to be VERY soft, so I cooked everything a lot longer at the end. Probably an extra 20 minutes. To keep it from burning in the pan, I had to periodically add more liquid. In total, I added about 1 1/2 cups of extra liquid, including 1/4 cup more tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of white wine, and 1 cup of water. It was finished when the eggplant was as soft as I wanted, and the extra liquid had cooked off.

  • Sweet-and-sour pumpkin

    • twoyolks on October 23, 2013

      The flavor is really good. It did take considerably longer for the pumpkin to cook through and, consequently, the pumpkin began to burn. I'd suggest cutting the pumpkin into smaller pieces and cooking the pumpkin at a low simmer.

  • Pan-roasted turnips

    • fprincess on June 24, 2013

      Recipe here http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/pan-roasted-turnips

    • fprincess on June 25, 2013

      Unusual flavor combination. A good use of turnips from the CSA. Photo here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/144988-dinner-2013-part-3/?p=1923244

  • Marinated zucchini

    • fprincess on May 27, 2016

      It is a bit involved with 3 steps required - salting, grilling, and marinating, but it's very delicious and works great as a side dish with grilled steak or sausages, or as a "salad". Picture here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/70326-molto-italiano-327-simple-italian-recipes/?do=findComment&comment=2058138

  • Easter grain and ricotta pie

    • Kaycee on March 24, 2010

      Substitute cooked rice for the farro.

  • Chocolate cake from Abruzzo

    • linzertorte on February 09, 2014

      Disappointing. Bland, flavorless, and dry cake; its only redeeming feature is the chocolate frosting.

  • Ricotta pudding cake

    • hmarms on January 04, 2014

      Delicious, my rating of 4 stars includes my substitutions. Made 2 substitutions for ingredients I was missing: golden raisins for candied orange and vanilla for brandy. Remember best served fresh from the oven.

  • Roasted pears with chocolate

    • mirage on August 09, 2013

      Very sweet.

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Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 0060734922
  • ISBN 13 9780060734923
  • Published May 01 2005
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Ecco
  • Imprint Ecco

Publishers Text

2006 James Beard Award Winner! International Category!


Mario Batali is a madman/hero. Is there nothing he's not good at Great chef, successful restaurateur, an author, an intellectual, host of a ridiculously informative and much-too-good-for-television TV show, afficianado of fine rock and roll and a man of Falstaffian appetites.
---Anthony Bourdain


Easy to use and simple to read, some of these recipes are from the eight years of Molto Mario TV programs, including Mediterranean Mario, Mario Eats Italy, and the all-new Ciao America with Mario Batali. Batali's distinctive voice provides a historical and cultural perspective with a humorous bent to demystify even 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 include the provenance of the recipes and the odd historical fact.


Molto Italiano features soups, antipasti (many vegetarian or vegetable based), pasta dishes representing many of the 21 regions of Italy, fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and lamb dishes, each of which can be served as a light meal. With a section on desserts and a foundation of basic formation recipes, this book is the only Italian cookbook needed on the home cook's shelf.



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