For his newest cookbook, aptly titled “Big American Cookbook,” Mario Batali searched far and wide for outstanding recipes from all corners of the United States. Then, applying the same sense of excitement and passion for cooking he famously brings to regional Italian and Spanish fare, he created his own interpretations of some of our country’s most beloved dishes. On Friday, Nov. 18, Batali’s Las Vegas chefs – including Culinary Director Nicole Brisson and Executive Chef Brett Uniss – will select 10 of those recipes to come to life for a one night only dining event at B&B Ristorante at The Venetian.
The “Big American Cookbook” extravaganza will feature a multi-course dinner for just 40 guests. The dinner will begin at 7 p.m. with Batali’s chefs explaining the inspiration behind each of the dishes and special tips and techniques. Each guest will also receive a signed copy of the cookbook and a special take-home surprise at the end of the event. This dinner is the only one of its kind being held to showcase Batali’s newest collection of recipes.
Published by Grand Central Life & Style, “Big American Cookbook” features more than 250 of America’s best dishes, celebrating everything from the treasures of state fairs to shared dishes from church socials, as well as prized specialties from every ethnic group in the American melting pot. While Batali demonstrates reverence recipes passed down through the generations, he also incorporates his personal touches in each one.
The dinner will feature the following dishes with descriptions including anecdotes from the book:
- Oyster BBQ: In the book, Batali notes “oysters will tell you when they’re ready” to be taken off of the grill to pop open. For this hors d’oeuvre, the oysters will be served with lemon, butter and chipotle Tabasco.
- Deviled Eggs: This “official” food for of picnics and potlucks is one that Batali likes on the spicy side with a squirt of Sriracha on half of these “just because.”
- Clam Rolls: These rolls are served on hot dog buns that are toasted on the griddle with butter and streaks of tartar sauce with fried whole-belly steamer clams piled high.
- Corn Muffins: These muffins celebrate the sweetness of the corn, enhanced by sugar and honey, for a bread that is delectable as an accompaniment to nearly any dish.
First course (plated)
- Pierogies: The noble pierogi with its cheesy mashed potatoes stuffed in pasta dough is a favorite in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Second course (plated)
- Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino: This San Francisco-style fish stew features clams, Dungeness crab, fish fillets and shrimp and is served in wide, shallow bowls to ensure each bowl has some of each kind of seafood.
Third course (family-style)
- Bison Rib Eyes: Coffee is vital to this dish, bringing out a smoky, rich bitterness to the crust and transforming the meat into “something almost brooding in its complexity.”
- Scalloped Potatoes: This dish features russet potatoes dotted with butter, drizzled with half-and-half then dusted with nutmeg, salt and pepper and baked until the inside is tender and the outside is golden brown.
- Texas Caviar: In the ’50s, Helen Corbitt moved from New York to Dallas to take a job as a chef at Neiman Marcus. She was asked to put together an all-Texas menu. With that, she created this black-eyed pea dish as a way to cover up the flavor of actual caviar.
- Nopales Salad: The nopal is a Mexican cactus known for its pads and is a popular ingredient in Southwestern cooking. The nopales leaves feature a unique flavor that simultaneously evokes green beans, bell pepper and okra. The salad also includes onions, tomatoes and finely chopped jalapeños.
- Boston Cream Pie: This Massachusetts classic’s name originated in the 1800s when it was served at the Parker House Hotel. Known for not being a pie but a cake, this dessert would gain so much popularity that it would become the state’s official dessert.
- Grape-Nuts Ice Cream: In the New England seaboard (especially Maine) and parts of the Caribbean, Grape-Nuts is a popular mix-in to desserts. With its crunch, it makes this ice cream taste as though the cone is built right in.
- Take home surprise gift from the chefs!
“This new cookbook features so many beloved classic dishes from all corners of the states. For this dinner, we carefully selected dishes from every region so that no matter where the guest is from, there is something familiar and something new to try,” says Nicole Brisson, culinary director, Batali & Bastianich Restaurant Group Las Vegas.
The price is $135 per person and includes dinner, cocktails and an autographed cookbook by Batali. Click here to purchase tickets.
Batali counts 25 restaurants, ten cookbooks, numerous television shows and three Eataly marketplaces among his ever-expanding empire of deliciousness, including his four Las Vegas locations: B&B Ristorante at The Venetian; OTTO Enoteca e Pizzeria at The Venetian; B&B Burger & Beer at The Venetian and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse at The Palazzo. His cookbooks include the James Beard Award-winning, “Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home and “America – Farm to Table.” Appearing daily on ABC’s “The Chew,” a daytime talk show that celebrates and explores life through food, Mario and his co-hosts won their first Emmy for Outstanding Informative Talk Show Hosts in 2015. For more information, visit his website at www.mariobatali.com.