Mario Batali describes a good song the same way he would the perfect plate of pasta Bolognese: “delicious.” When asked if music sets the tone for different meals throughout the day, the James Beard Award-winning chef rattles off a list of artists like he would the ingredients for an intricate multi-course meal: Yo-Yo Ma for breakfast; Jack White, The Talking Heads and Gang of Four for lunch; The Allman Brothers, Tom Waits, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin for dinner — “but only after a milder start, like Miles Davis‘s Bitches Brew or a little Willie Nelson.”
Try to pigeonhole Batali as a rock n’ roll fanatic and he’ll as effortlessly talk Jay Z and Kanye. “[West] is the real thing — someone who understands that the melody is such a key, delicious component. I always love to see what’s new in the music world,” he says during a phone call from his West Village restaurant Babbo. “Plus, I’d never let my kids go to those shows alone.”
In Feedback Kitchen, the New York-based chef’s new online series released Jan. 26 on Dailymotion.com, Batali’s twin obsessions get equal airtime. For five episodes, rock stars including U2 guitarist The Edge, Patti Smith and The Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Flea dish on their craft and perform before chowing down in an expansive Bushwick-based warehouse. Each episode’s pot luck-style exchange allows Batali’s bonafide love of music to outshine his Crocs (he once infamously ordered 200 pairs of the shoes).
“I was curious about how my musician friends create their art and thought, ‘Maybe if I make them lunch, they’ll open up,'” he says of the show’s origin. And as for the recipes specially prepared for each artist? “I mostly made [them] up as I went. I know Patti is a fan of anchovies and black truffles — so that dish wrote itself.”
Batali shared the recipe he cooked up for the legendary singer-songwriter exclusively with Billboard. Check it out below.
LINGUINE WITH ANCHOVIES, BRAISED KALE, SWEET GARLIC & BLACK TRUFFLES
1 head garlic
1/2 cup peeled garlic
1 cup sweet vermouth
2 bunches cavolo nero
12 best quality oil packed anchovy filets
1 pound linguine pasta
1 cup medium dark toasted fat boy breadcrumbs
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bunch marjoram
2 large black truffles
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Wrap one head of garlic in tin foil and put in oven. Roast the head of garlic until tender.
While that garlic is in oven, take 1/2 cup of peeled garlic and cook it in some sweet vermouth. Simmer until the vermouth is like syrup and the garlic is tender.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons kosher salt.
In a large sauté pan, add the chopped cavolo nero and gently saute for about 5 minutes, until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Then add chopped anchovy, a couple of roasted garlic cloves and couple of the sweet garlic cloves.
Drop your pasta in the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the cavolo nero. Toss with chopped parsley and picked marjoram..
Divide the pasta among four warmed bowls. Garnish with breadcrumbs and grated black truffle. Serve immediately.