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Mario Batali Home!

StarChefs: What first drew you to Italy and Italian food?
Mario Batali: My family is Italian. When I was a child we would pick blackberries, baby onions and all kinds of produce and preserve them. Food was natural, it made sense. Working in Italy changed my life. I was submerged into the perfect life and now I try to bring it to New York. I learned so much. For example, when making pasta I learned what to leave out of the pasta dish. The noodle is the king of the dish, don't put a bunch of ingredients in... keep it simple.

SC: What is the secret of cooking pasta?
MB: Copious amounts of boiling water with salt. Six to eight quarts of water for one pound of pasta. There has to be room in the pot for the pasta to get agitated. Cook it as quickly as you can. Everyone should be seated at the table when the pasta comes out of the water.

SC: What do you think it is about Italian food that people love so much?
MB: It's the most satisfying food you can eat. There are lots of things in one dish... carbs, protein and great taste!

mario's essentials

5 must-haves in Mario's pantry:

1. Extra virgin olive oil from single estates, such as Capezzana
2. Balsamic vinegar
3. Goat cheese (Coach Farm, of course)
4. Olives
5. Tabasco sauce

Kitchen tools that Mario can't live without:

At home

  • A good wooden cutting board
  • Excellent knives (Sabatier Chefs Knives). My favorite knife is the one that my grandfather had - a Hop knife. It's real carbon steel and holds an edge for a year and a half.
  • Hand-held colander: I use it for draining spaghetti and veggies plus lots of other things.
  • Food processor or blender: great for sauces, pie crusts, granita, etc.

At the restaurant

  • A grill is a great piece of equipment
  • Good aluminum sauté pans, they heat up fast and I can beat the hell out of them.
  • A heavy metal meat mallet for carpaccio and scallopine