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Benno and Leo Batali on Their New Cookbook and Chef Boyardee's Dark Side

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Forget the children's menu, underage foodies have have a new bible for whipping up tasty treats in la cucina: The Batali Brothers Cookbook. We caught up with authors Benno and Leo Batali, spawn of the Italian culinary juggernaut Mario Batali, to chat about their favorite recipes from the book, tips they've learned from their dad and Chef Boyardee's dark side.  

Which recipe included in this cookbook is your favorite and why?
Leo: I like the Italian corn. It's easy and you can pair it with any other dish. The blue cheese pocket burgers are delicious, but not the sort of thing you can have every night.  

What is your least-favorite food?
We do not like durian as a family.

Do you have a food that you disliked when you were younger but enjoy now? 
Leo: When I was a kid, I famously boasted that my favorite food was duck testicles. I guess when my dad makes something it's usually tasty. I still like them now.
Benno: Our dad always put food on the table, we'd try it and almost always liked it. but i must say I have grown to really like oysters a lot more than i used to, especially the kumamoto variety

What's the most important cooking tip that you've learned from your dad?
When it comes to seasonings, don't be shy. Red pepper flakes and Maldon sea salt go a long way.

I barely ever cook for myself and am looking for some easy recipes for making at home. If I was having a dinner party, what recipe included in your book would you recommend that I make?
The book was written over a summer in Michigan, so it's perfect for a cookout/barbecue. Pocket burgers and corn, Italian style. Both easy and so much better than the basic BBQ staples.  We also suggest having a breakfast party on the weekend.. pancakes, cinnamon swirl french toast and peach shortcake are all great and easy to do

Besides your dad's restaurants, where are your favorite places to eat in New York?
Benno: Pearl Oyster Bar is a family favorite.
Leo: We love Roberta's.

Do you ever order off the kids' menu when you go out?
We're pretty adventurous, but sometimes it's hard to resist a grilled cheese. But we would never ask for a kids menu at a good place

Who do you think would win in a fight: Chef Boyardee or the Swedish Chef from the Muppets?
Chef Boyardee, hands down. The Swedish Chef wielded a fish. Plus, there's something menacing about Boyardee's smirk. Never trusted him.

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