We watched Mario Batali make orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe yesterday afternoon in front of a large crowd at the Festa Italiana Seattle. He was appropriately fun and informative, explaining the rationale behind using hard semolina flour for his orecchiette, then busting a little on Emeril (he added a clove of garlic to the sauce he was cooking and said, “Bam. Now you’ll notice that’s the only ingredient that makes a noise going in…. Don’t get me wrong, I like Emeril a lot. But we have different styles. I prefer to let the food do the talking.”)
Mario also managed to set a towel on fire. He had been letting his saute pan heat over a gas burner, and as soon as he added oil flames jetted up a good two or three feet into the air. He said, “Now when this happens in our kitchen we don’t get loud or panicky. We just say, ‘Smokey, put that fire out!’” He then proceeded to try to smother the flames with a towel, which promptly caught fire. He tossed it to the stage and stomped it out into the green plastic carpet. Afterwards his dad (who runs a great salumeria in Seattle) crept onto the stage to retrieve the towel and could be heard saying, “It’s stuck…”
Afterwards we tried out some of his dad’s salumi, which were tremendous, and got an autographed copy of Babbo, Mario’s cookbook. It was a good time.