THE I TALIANS brought us Michelangelo, Galileo and Pavarotti, and a unique approach to food, says chef Mario Batali. His latest cookbook, Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking (Ecco, 2010, available in select Costcos and online at Costco.com), celebrates the traditional Italian meal. Q: Many Americans are discovering a diet with less meat and more vegetables.
But you’re saying this is nothing new to the
Italians. Can you elaborate?
A: On the traditional Italian table, farming, foraging and gardening have always
yielded the bulk of the food in the daily diet,
and the occasional pig, chicken or cow was
the exception to the rule. In my new book,
most of the protein comes from small portions of cured meats, cheeses and grains,
while the bulk of the meal is plant-based.
8 to 10 salt-packed anchovy fillets
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ medium red onion, cut into
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1½ cups Mario Batali Marinara
Sauce or similar sauce
1½ to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 pound penne
2 tablespoons salt-packed capers,
rinsed and soaked overnight in
cold water (change the water
;/; cup pitted Gaeta olives,
;/; cup coarsely chopped fresh
Freshly grated Parmigiano-
Penne alla Puttanesca
Courtesy of Molto Gusto, by Mario Batali
Q: So what are the benefits of
following this eating plan?
A: The idea is to enjoy a kind of
happy, passing sense of content and
fullness not associated with the consumption of a huge steak or chop. A
balanced meal creates energy for
our constantly moving lives and our
brains, and our laughing and singing and dancing and playing.
Q: You’ve said that, to Italians, a meal is
more than just food. What is it?
A: Italians feel that it’s their birthright to
have something homemade and delicious
every meal. The meal is not only about food,
but about maintaining the crucial connection
between family members as we all get even
busier than we thought possible. A simple
and perfect pasta night once or twice a week
bring families together around delicious
Avid Costco shopper
Katie Goodman from
New Mexico shares
her recipes at www.
1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon Kirkland Signature™
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder,
Half each red, green and yellow bell
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
¾ cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 to 8 ounces baby spinach
1 bunch cilantro
;/; cup cheddar or feta cheese
1 avocado, diced
Quinoa Taco Salad
Cook the quinoa according to package
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over
medium-high heat; add onion and
sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until translu-
cent and tender. Add garlic, cumin,
oregano, chili powder, cayenne and
peppers; sauté an additional 2 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in the black
beans, tomatoes and the juice of
1 lime. Stir in quinoa. Season to taste
with salt and pepper. Chill.
Roughly cut baby spinach into strips.
Remove about 1 cup of cilantro leaves
from the bunch, rinse and pat dry, and
toss with the spinach. Divide spinach
and cilantro mixture evenly among 4
salad plates. Top each plate with a
scoop of the quinoa salad. Top each
salad with your choice of cheese and
diced avocado. Cut the remaining
lime into slices to garnish the plates.
Makes 4 servings. C
Put the anchovies in a small bowl and
set it in the sink under a light stream
of cold running water for 20 minutes.
Drain the anchovies, pat dry and
coarsely chop them.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large
pot and add 3 tablespoons kosher salt.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, onion,
garlic and anchovies in another large
pot and cook over medium heat, stirring,
until the onion is lightly browned and
the anchovies have broken down, about
5 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and
red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, until
fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from
Drop the pasta into the boiling water and
cook until just al dente. Drain, reserving
¾ cup of the pasta water.
Add the pasta and the reserved pasta
water to the pasta sauce mixture; stir and
toss over medium heat until the pasta
is well coated. Stir in the capers, olives
and parsley, and serve immediately, with
Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side. Makes
6 servings. C