And on the sixth day of the 12 Days of Cookbooks, I give you Mario Batali’s Holiday Food.

Published in 2000, this book has been around for almost ten years but I only discovered it earlier this year while perusing some titles on-line. I immediately snapped it up and haven’t been disappointed.

Besides being the perfect size to slip into someone’s Christmas stocking, it’s the perfect special book to have on your bookshelf when the holidays come around.

From what I can tell the recipes are a collection of ones that Mario Batali has presented on the Food Network so you can probably find most of the recipes on-line. Still, though, it’s nice to have them all collected in one place and they are fabulous recipes!

Based heavily on Italian holiday traditions, the book walks you through Christmas to New Year’s so this is the perfect time of year to buy it.

I made it my Flavour of the Month for December 2009 so I’m hoping to try many recipes, but for today, you’ll have to settle for the Gamberoni All’Acqua Pazza (Shrimp in Crazy Water). I apologize for the quality of the photo. I was basically drooling as I put the shrimp in the dish and couldn’t wait to dig in so my patience for snapping a photo was limited to say the least.

This would be a perfect dish as part of a traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast, which is usually comprised of fish and seafood only. It’s really easy to make and it’s fast so you can put it together quickly.

Besides having a lot of sweet recipes, what I especially love about the book is that there’s a heavy emphasis on fish and seafood.

It’s a gem of a little book so I hope you pick it up, if not for yourself, then for someone special!


Jumbo Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Mario Batali Holiday Food.

Serves 4.

1 pound jumbo shrimp, cleaned and deveined
olive oil
1/2 a large onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or you can use fresh hot pepper)
2 cups tomato puree
1 cup white wine
salt to taste
roughly chopped parsley (optional)

In a saucepan, pour in enough olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan (at least 3 or 4 tablespoons). Heat the oil.

Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and red pepper. Saute until softened. Adjust the heat so that you don’t burn the garlic or onions.

Add the tomato puree and the white wine and simmer for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add the shrimp to the sauce and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked. Don’t overcook the shrimp or it will be tough.

Plate the shrimp and sauce and sprinkle with parsley if you like. Serve hot.