About Mario Batali

  • Mario Batali believes that olive oil is as precious as gold, shorts are acceptable attire for every season, and food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty. To that end, Mario, together with his business partner Joe Bastianich, creates magic night after night in his many New York City hotspots, the flagship of which is Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, an award-winning Greenwich Village dining establishment where Mario has seamlessly combined traditional Italian principles with intelligent culinary adventure since June 1998.

    A gastronomic superstar from its inception, Babbo was honored as “The Best New Restaurant of 1998” by The James Beard Foundation, and Ruth Reichl at the New York Times hailed it with three stars. Six years later, a re-review by Frank Bruni maintained Babbo’s three-star power and its excellence among New York City’s finest restaurants. Mario and Joe also own Lupa, a Roman-style trattoria, with Jason Denton and Mark Ladner, as well as a wine shop just off Union Square, Italian Wine Merchants. Esca, a southern Italian seafood trattoria, opened in the Theater District in April 2000. In January 2003, Mario and Joe opened another downtown eatery, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, located around the corner from historic Washington Square Park. Otto serves pizza, pasta, house-cured salumi, vegetables, and 600 wines, Casa Mono and Bar Jam both opened in December 2003, are on Irving Place, a block away from Italian Wine Merchants. Casa Mono is a Spanish-style taverna featuring wines, sherries, tapas and traditional entrees. Bar Jam adjacent to Casa Mono, is a bustling tapas bar with wonderful Spanish cheeses, hams and small plate specialties. In December 2005, Mario opened Del Posto with Joe, Lidia Maticchio Bastianich and Mark Ladner. This spacious restaurant in New York City’s meatpacking district features modern Italian cooking in a luxurious and comfortable setting. The duo’s first west coast venture, in collaboration with Nancy Silverton is Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles. Sharing the corner of Highland and Melrose Avenue, the former features a center island mozzarella bar, where fresh mozzarella is made all day, every day. For their most recent venture Mario and Joe journeyed to Las Vegas to open B&B Ristorante e Enoteca and Enoteca San Marco in the beautiful Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino. Their next project is Carnevino – a steak house opening in the Palazzo wing of the Venetian in Las Vegas in Spring 2008.

    Raised in Seattle, Mario initially studied the golden age of Spanish theater at Rutgers University. Soon after graduating, he took his first bite of culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in London, from which he withdrew almost immediately due to a “lack of interest.”

    An apprenticeship with London’s legendary chef Marco Pierre White and three years of intense culinary training in the Northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne (population 200) gave him the essential skills and knowledge to return to his native U.S., eager to plant his orange-clogged foot firmly on the behinds of the checkered-tablecloth Italian restaurant establishment.

  • Among his many accolades, Mario was named “Man of the Year” in the chef category by GQ Magazine in 1999. In 2002 he won the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: New York City” award, and in 2005 the James Beard Foundation awarded Mario “Outstanding Chef of the Year”. Mario is also one of the recipients of the 2001 D’Artagnan Cervena Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, a prestigious lifetime achievement award.

    Mario is the star of the Food Network series “Iron Chef America.” Next Fall, his new PBS series with co-stars Mark Bittman and Gwyneth Paltrow will air. Spain…On the Road Again will follow the threesome’s adventures as they travel and eat their way through Spain.

    Mario has authored Simple Italian Food (Clarkson Potter, 1998), Mario Batali Holiday Food (Clarkson Potter, 2000); The Babbo Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2002); and Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes (Ecco, 2005). In 2006, Mario and NASCAR have joined forces to create the first ever cookbook for NASCAR fans. - Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style (The Sporting News 2006). Mario’s upcoming cookbook and grilling handbook - Mario Batali - Italian Grilling (Ecco, 2008), takes the mystery out of making tasty, authentic, smoky Italian food.

    Mario splits his time between New York City’s Greenwich Village and Northern Michigan with his wife Susi Cahn of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons.

Rigatoni with Tuscan-style Cauliflower and Pecorino

  • October 30, 2008

    Bring 6 quarts water to boil in a large spaghetti pot and add 2 tablespoons salt.

    In a 14- to 18-inch sauté pan, heat oil until just smoking and add onion, mint and red pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.

    Meanwhile, remove leaves and base core from cauliflower and chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Break the florets away from the central core and size them similarly. Cut the core into 1/4-inch coins and throw all the pieces into the sauté pan with the onions. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring regularly for about 12 to 15 minutes, until cauliflower is softened and light brown but not mushy.

    Cook the rigatoni according to package instructions until “al dente”, about 8 to 12 minutes, and drain in colander. Toss hot pasta into pan with cauliflower and add grated cheese, black pepper and parsley. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

    Serves 4

    • 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
    • 6 mint leaves
    • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
    • 1 5-7inch head of cauliflower, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds
    • 1 pound rigatoni pasta, preferably Italian
    • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
    • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup

Pasta Norma

  • June 7, 2007

    Bring 6 quarts water to boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.

    In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat olive oil until smoking. Add onions and garlic and cool until soft yet not browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add eggplant and cook, stirring regularly until softened and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chili flakes, tomatoes, basil and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Boil pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain well and pour hot pasta into pan with eggplant mixture. Toss to coat and serve immediately, spooning ricotta salata over each portion.

    Serves 4

    • 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium red onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
    • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch dice
    • 1 TB hot chili flakes
    • 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, squeezed by hand
    • 2 sprigs basil
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 1 pound rigatoni or penne rigate
    • 1/2 pound ricotta salata, coarsely grated

Swordfish Involtini Messinese

  • November 1, 2007

    Preheat oven to 450 F.

    Flatten each piece of swordfish between sheets of oil wax paper or aluminum foil until 1/8-inch thick and lay out on a cool surface.

    In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil until smoking and add Spanish onion, anchovies, 2 tablespoons pinenuts, and 2 tablespoons currants. Cook until onion has softened and lightly browned and add orange zest and breadcrumbs. Cook 5 minutes more until crumbs have toasted, remove from heat and allow to cool. Add parsley and stir through. Divide the crumb mixture among the swordfish pieces and roll up like a jelly roll and secure it with a toothpick.

    In a 2 quart saucepan, stir together tomato sauce, remaining pinenuts, currants, Sicilian olives, hot chilies and white wine and bring to a boil. Pour sauce into an oven-proof earthenware dish and arrange involtini over and in sauce. Place in oven and bake 25 minutes, until fish is cooked through. Remove and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

    Serves 4

    • 8 slices swordfish, each about 1/4-inch thick (about 2 pounds)
    • 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped into 1/8-inch dice
    • 2 salted anchovies, rinsed and filleted
    • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, plus 1/4 cup
    • 2 tablespoons currants plus 1/4 cup
    • zest of 2 oranges
    • 1 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
    • 2 cups basic tomato sauce
    • 1/4 cup Sicilian black olives
    • 2 tablespoons hot chilies
    • 1/2 cup white wine