Mario Batali’s Grilled Cheese Hack Is Oh So Perfect (Photo)

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By Cooking Panda

Mario Batali approaches his Italian-style grilled cheese less like a panini and more like a French-toast sandwich. Stick around to read this, and you’ll soon make yours the same spectacularly delicious way.

As a guest on ABC’s “The Chew,” Batali enlightens the audience with a recipe inspired by the sandwich he ate as a child after long days of “tobogganing and winter merriment.”

“My dear mamma would have a deliciously gooey grilled cheese sandwich waiting for me at every turn,” he says. “But now, it’s time to put a new spin on this cheesy classic, and I promise you’ll never look at a grilled cheese the same way again.”

What’s so “ultimate” about Batali’s grilled cheese? It’s that he dips the sandwiches in an egg batter before he puts them in a hot pan, much like you would with French toast. The result is bread that’s extra crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and it makes for an even thicker and heartier grilled cheese. In Italian, he explains, it’s called “mozzarella in carrozza,” or a fried cheese sandwich.

Batali begins his sammies with good ol’ sliced white bread, because, at the end of the day, it is an American dish.

He then gets started on his batter, which includes four eggs, plus three egg yolks and whole milk for added richness. He also whisks in Pecorino cheese and thyme. The cheese forms a fine crust on the bread, while the thyme “adds a beautiful herbalness that brings the cheese back to its pasteural birthplace,” Mario explains. (No, those aren’t real words, but a nostalgic chef can get away with that sort of thing.)

Once the pale yellow mixture is thoroughly whisked and flecked with beautifully green bits of thyme, it’s time to dip. The bread has been layered with two kinds of cheese: Fontina and Mozzarella di Bufala.

“The trick again, as with all good Italian things, is not too much of anything,” Batali explains, adding a touch of charred onion to the sandwiches.

“Gently, but with firm intensity,” he presses the top layer of bread onto each sandwich. He dredges each one in the egg mixture before tenderly placing them in a hot pan coated with, of course, olive oil. He cooks them until golden brown, about two minutes on each side.

Most people would be ready to devour the sandwich then and there, but Batali isn’t done yet: He adds onions to a saucepan with orange juice and sugar, making an onion marmalade to go with the sandwich. That seems to be a great call, as one of the guests exclaims, “This tastes like dipping a grilled cheese in onion soup!” Plating each sandwich with a dollop of marmalade, he sprinkles the dish with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Behold, a delicately crispy yet pillowy soft dish that is both a sandwich and savory French toast, filled with oozing Italian cheeses and herbal wonder. You’d likely crave this after a day of tobogganing on a snow-covered hill, too — or maybe just after a long day at the office.

Hungry? Watch the video and read the recipe here.

Source: ABC / Featured Image: Treefort Music Fest/Flickr / Embedded Image: ABC

Tags: cheese, grilled cheese, hack, italian, mario batali, sandwich
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Hugh Jackman Breaks His ‘Wolverine’ Diet With Pasta (Video)

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By Cooking Panda

We’ve all been through our fair share of failed diets. So it’s easy to appreciate how much of a sacrifice Hugh Jackman has had to make over the last 17 years starring as everyone’s favorite Wolverine … sustaining himself on a diet of steamed chicken.

According to Foodbeast, Jackman’s final “Wolverine” movie will be released on March 2, 2017, and he stopped in to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” while making his rounds to promote the new movie. After competing in Fallon’s famous Whisper Challenge, Jackman was offered a reward for his “win.” You’ll see in the video below that he didn’t quite win, but he’s winning at life, so it counts.

Fallon’s reward is a healthy portion of diet-breaking pasta, prepared by Chef Mario Batali. Jackman’s surprise was well worth Batali’s dramatic pasta entrance — featuring a giant bowl of what appears to be fettucine noodles dressed in parmesan to the max. Chef Batali also brought in a few giant glasses of red wine to wash it down. Surely, this is the perfect answer to the end of a strict diet and a marvelous movie saga.

When Jackman witnessed the surprisingly large (you’ll see, it’s like the size of two of their heads) bowl, he exclaimed, “That is the greatest freaking thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” Yes, yes of course it is. There’s a reason the rest of us struggle with diets. A big part of that reason is the fact that pasta is just so tasty.

Check out the video below to witness the Whisper Challenge, followed by Jackman’s surprise reward. Try not to get too jealous! He has earned it, after all.

Sources: Foodbeast, The Tonight Show / Photo Credit: Mario Batali/Twitter

Tags: Diet, Hugh Jackman, Jimmy Fallon, mario batali, pasta, Wolverine
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Here’s Mario Batali’s Mouthwatering State Dinner Menu

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By Cooking Panda

On Oct. 18, Mario Batali will head over to the White House to prepare the very last state dinner of the Obama administration (can you believe they’ve been in office for eight years now?).

The black-tie soiree will be held in honor of Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, and by the looks of the menu, Batali is serving up an incredible feast.

Batali, in collaboration with White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford and executive pastry chef Susan Morrison are basically capitalizing on the best of the best seasonal flavors.

What’s more, Gwen Stefani will perform a concert for the diners after they’re done enjoying their four-course meal (complete with a petit fours display).

The actual dinner is said to take place al fresco, in a tent on the White House’s South Lawn which will be completely ornate, with mirrored tables, fall floral arrangements, and chandeliers to light the experience.

Per Eater, here is the proposed menu and wine pairings slated to be served that evening. If somebody offered this meal to us, we’d sure have a hard time finding any flaws with it!

First Course

Sweet Potato Agnolotti with Butter and Sage

Patina Vermentino “Santa Ynez” 2015

Salad Course

Warm Butternut Squash Salad with Frisee and Pecorino di New York

Villa Ragazzi Sangiovese “Napa” 2012

Main Course

Beef Braciola Pinwheel with Horseradish Gremolata and Broccoli Rabe

Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel “East Bench” 2014

Dessert

Green Apple Crostata with Thyme Caramel and Buttermilk Gelato

Petit Fours Display:

Sweet Corn Cream and Blackberry Cup

Concord Grape Bittersweet Chocolate Leaf

Orange Fig Slice

Pumpkin Cranberry Tart

Tiramisu

Source: Eater / Photo credit: Daniel Krieger via Mario Batali

Tags: mario batali, obama, state dinner, white house
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