mushroom soup with mascarpone crostini

mushroom soup with mascarpone crostini

This mushroom soup served with mascarpone crostini was a great first course to grilled steaks.  It’s an incredibly simple soup — made largely with olive oil, butter, onion, stock, flat-leaf parsley, and, of course, mushrooms — that takes very little effort.

The chopped rosemary stirred into the mascarpone adds an essential note of unexpected flavor. And allowing the topped crostini to soak in the soup is key to taking this dish to the next level. Indeed, I will never eat my bread on the side again.

I now have completed 73 of Batali’s dishes. Percentage complete: 22.3%


country ribs with wine

country ribs with wine

I made a return to Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano with this latest dish: pork ribs with red wine. Batali calls for spareribs, but we had only country ribs on hand. Luckily, the different cut of meat cooked up just fine.

country ribs with wine

Made largely with fall vegetables, dry red wine, stock, tomato sauce, and anchovy fillets, this definitely is an autumn sort of dish. With the unseasonably cool temperatures here (feels more like September than late July), this warm stew seemed rather fitting.

tuscan-style artichokesHere is another Batali recipe I made on a whim last month: Tuscan-style artichokes. They were good, although I still have not yet mastered the artichoke.

I now have completed 72 recipes from Batali’s book. Percentage complete: 22%


“clouds on cream,” sciumette

"clouds on cream"

We switched back to Mario Batali, just for a bit, to make this “clouds on cream” dessert with whole milk, heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, eggs, and blood orange. We dusted the sciumette with cocoa powder.

It was good — better than expected, actually. We were rushing when we made this, so we were pleased when we actually produced something pleasing. 🙂

"clouds on cream"

I now have completed 70 (70!) recipes from Batali’s  Molto Italiano (percentage complete: 21.4%).

game hens with pomegranate

game hens with pomegranateI have had my eye on this recipe in Batali’s Molto Italiano for some time — almost two years. Yet, for one reason or another, the moment never seemed quite right for a Cornish hen. I hadn’t had one before this Christmas. And although I like to imagine that I am fairly open to various types of foods, the truth of the matter is that I usually find myself floundering when it comes to meats. Cooking these hens, in fact, may have been my first time cooking something whole — or, well, whole-ish.

But my mother and I cooked this together on the 25th. We stuffed each hen with pomegranate seeds that had been soaked with fresh mint in Marsala wine. We then browned the hens in a fragrant sage butter sauce before roasting them in the oven. Although I still lay claim to the belief that a whole bird on my plate is slightly hard to eat, I must admit that they turned out rather well.

I now have completed 69 of Batali’s 327 recipes. Percentage complete: 21.10%

I can’t take credit for this next dish — but what’s December without my grandmother’s stollen?


octopus with escarole and mint

The octopus, I previously had thought, was going to be one of the last dishes that I would make from Batali’s Molto Italiano. Yet surprisingly, it was the first recipe I completed (with some help!) after moving into my new apartment. I certainly would not have chosen this dish alone; sometimes, it pays to have adventurous friends. Cooking octopus, I suppose, is one way to break in a new kitchen:

We sort of made up our cooking procedure as we went along, following Batali’s suggestions when we could; we had no grill, so our octopus was not exactly “barbecued” as the recipe suggests. We boiled it for about 40 minutes, and then finished it off in a saute pan.

I must admit that it took me some time to get used to those little suckers. And the octopus was a bit tougher than I would have liked, but I blame that on my poor cooking techniques. Has anyone else had practice cooking octopus? What do you think?

I now have completed 68 of Batali’s 327 recipes. Percentage complete: 20.8%