July 3, 2008

Mario's Past a la Norma

Let me start this post off by stating that I am totally and completely in awe of Mario Batali . The man is just brilliant and his food is truly inspiring. One of his restaurants here in NYC, Babbo, is nearly impossible to get into (I've only been once and the hubby-to-be had to pull some major strings to even make that happen), but oh-so-worth the 11 pm seating time that is the only option you'll have if you call in 2 minutes past the "30-day advanced reservation" time period. He also has a number of other extremely successful restaurants that are constantly packed with hungry patrons. Otto is my personal favorite - great for groups, surprisingly inexpensive and amazing food. Trust me, if you ever try any of his food you will understand why this quick-talking, orange-clog-wearing man has practically become a NYC institution.

I ventured to attempt one of his recipes the other night when we had our talented and fun friends over for dinner (the same night we made the delicious zucchini carpacio ). Although slightly intimidate to try a new recipe when we were having guests over (or even cook myself for that matter!), I took comfort in knowing that rescue delivery food was only a phone call away. No need though - the dish was surprisingly easy to cook and it seemed to be a hit with everyone at the table! Yay!! The only execution problem I had was that my saute pan was in no way big enough to accommodate all the cooked pasta and cheese that you are supposed to add while "on the heat" at the end. Instead I got a handful of the pasta in the pan and the rest just ended up mixed together in the serving bowl. I do wish I would have added more salt though, as it lacked a bit of flavor and needed some salt once it was served.

Overall, it was pretty simple to prepare and makes a great dish if you are tying to cut back on your meat. The eggplant is delicious with the tomato sauce and is a nice change from your typical meat sauce. Not only was it a hit for the guests, but it was also a healthy way for me to carbo-load before a 10-k race the next morning!

Please visit the link below for the recipe:
Mario's Pasta a la Norma
Adapted from Molto Mario - Mario Batali

No comments: