Mario Batali, rolls into Eric Ripert's kitchen on his massive motorcycle. Watch the two chefs banter over who will be in charge of the kitchen as they whip up Mario's signature dish, Two-minute Calamari: Sicilian Lifeguard Style. After an authentic Italian toast, the guys talk about life, family, fortune and — of course — good cooking.
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Set up an ice bath nearby. Cook the couscous in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and immediately plunge it into the ice bath. Once cooled, remove and set aside to dry on a plate.
In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil until just smoking. Add the pine nuts, currants, and red pepper flakes, if desired, and sauté until the nuts are just golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the caperberries, tomato sauce, wine, and couscous and bring to a boil. Add the calamari and scallion whites, stir to combine, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the calamari is just cooked and completely opaque. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, pour into a large bowl, sprinkle with scallion greens, and serve immediately.
Basic Tomato Sauce
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt. Add the thyme, red pepper flakes, if desired, and carrots and cook 5 minutes more, until carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt. Sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Place all ingredients in the food processor until pureed. Reserve leftover jalapeno pesto in the refrigerator for up to one month.
1 cup Israeli couscous
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for serving
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes, optional
3 tablespoons Jalapeno Pesto (recipe follows)
1/4 cup caperberries
1 cup basic tomato sauce (recipe follows), or Mario Batali Marinara Pasta Sauce
¼ cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds cleaned calamari, tubes cut into ¼ to ½-inch rounds, tentacles halved
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
Basic Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Kosher salt, to taste
3 cups Jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup red onions, chopped Salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil