First, this is not a review of a dish from their restaurant, but a review of the recipe for the dish from their website.

I’ve mentioned before that I received a box of Eataly foods for Christmas.  Two items in the bag were paccheri (large cylindrical pasta) and canned cherry tomatoes.  I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with those so I started poking around online and found many recipes that put the two items together, but only Eataly’s used 1 can of tomatoes.

In retrospect this should have been a sign.  Compare their picture of the dish to mine.

There is a lot more sauce.  Also, the cheese is still inside the pasta vs melted into a puddle on the bottom.  The flavors of the dish were fine – like lasagna.  Overall, though, it was unnecessarily complicated.  And, it came out nothing like the picture.

I found there were some other oddities as well.  For example, the steps (paraphrased) were in this order:

  1. Make tomato sauce.  Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
  2. Make the cheese filling.
  3. Boil the pasta.  Drain and cool.
  4. Stuff pasta with filling.  Top with sauce.  Bake.

Basically the entire recipe is written as if done at different stations at a restaurant.  The parts of the dish would be done filling, pasta, sauce by a single home cook to keep things at the right temperature.  Also, with the ingredient quantities listed, there is far too much pasta for the amounts of filling and sauce.  You would need three times the sauce (3 cans of tomatoes per pound of pasta was the typical amount I found in other recipes) and double the cheese filling.

All in all I found this disappointing as Mario Batali has plenty of cookbooks.  I’ve never tried cooking from one so I don’t know if they present similar problems.  But, I did try the Risotto with Tomato & Basil from Eataly and its instructions were similarly odd/insufficient.  This is definitely an area they need to work on.

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