From all my experiences in preparing food, whether at one of my restaurants
in the U.S., the places I worked before venturing out on my own, or La Volta,
the quaint mountain trattoria where I was apprenticed in the Italian art of simplicity,
I have learned countless lessons on creating a wonderful meal. But perhaps the
most important is this: Success (in the form of the delighted looks on the faces of
your guests, and in knowing in your heart that you’ve met your own expectations)
is greatly dependent on your shopping. Simply put, if you don’t start with high-quality ingredients, you’re doomed to a mediocre result.
In Italy, this passion for shopping is a way of life throughout much of the country.
Restaurant owners and home chefs alike go to the local market daily to find the
best goods, then craft their meals around them. Excitement builds over the
primizie, the first-of-the-season arrivals—beginning with spring’s early vegetables,
continuing with the season’s first fruits, then spilling into the full bounty of
Of course, our shopping habits are much different in this country. We might
drive to a store once a week (or less frequently) to stock up, and we probably
aren’t on a first-name basis with the butcher or the produce stocker. Nonetheless,
shopping is still the start of any good meal. In fact, I’ll repeat what I wrote in the
introduction of my cookbook Molto Italiano: Ninety percent of the success of
your meal has already been determined when the food has been packed into
your car at the grocery store or farmers’ market. I really believe this!
This all brings me to this cookbook, Favorite Recipes The Costco Way, and to
Costco. Costco’s food buyers go to great lengths to find top-quality products,
whether it be specialty items such as Kirkland Signature extra-virgin olive oil or
a fine Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, staples such as Kirkland Signature Pugliese
bread made daily in the warehouse bakeries, fresh produce, fine cuts of meat or
wines from around the world. This dedication to quality is behind all the products
that buyers select for Costco. So the hard work has been done for you.
The recipes in this book feature products available at Costco. I hope you’ll
like trying them, including my shrimp and lobster recipes in the special “Chef’s
Choice” section. Also included at the beginning of this book are four full-meal
menus to take you from start to finis h.
Enjoy—and may all your culinary efforts be successful.
Costco member Mario Batali shares his passion for the authentic spirit of Italian food through
his restaurants, food and wine shops, cookbooks, television shows and products. For more from
Batali, see his Web site at www.mariobatali.com.