Do you prefer being faithful to a recipe's ingredient list or intent?

Discussion in 'Q&A With Mario Batali' started by web monkey, May 9, 2010.

  1. web monkey

    web monkey

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    First, thanks for stopping by!

    On television, you sometimes cook using ingredients that come from specific regions of the world, and even then, are available only during part of the year. Specific mushrooms and some veggies come to mind.

    When cooking in the US, where some of these ingredients aren't always available (or might not be the quality you would prefer), would you be happier substituting a similar fresh, local ingredient and creating a dish that's excellent in it's own right but not exactly what would be made in Italy for example, or would you try to obtain the imported ingredient and create an authentic version using the exact ingredients, even though they might not be as fresh as the local substitute?

    On another note, I'd like to thank you for showing how simple food, done really well can be astonishingly wonderful.

  2. mariobatali


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    Professional Chef
    Exact ingredients may be hard to come by and may vary by region. It is best to go by what the recipe intends to create.

    On my shows, especially Molto Mario, I purposely try to introduce the viewer to unfamiliar ingredients and different regions of Italy, to give the viewer a taste of Italy, as well of a lesson of sorts, from home.  So yes, in the US, the ingredients might not be available everywhere, and I always encourage you to use what is available to you locally. In addition, it never hurts to try something new—to try to modify a recipe to include an additional ingredient or substitute an ingredient for another. Try it out. Let me know.