Joe Bastianich is the brains to chef Mario Batali’s brawn; he's the restaurateur behind the world-famous chef’s restaurants, including Babbo, Del Posto, and Otto. The son of chef, cookbook author, and cooking show host Lidia Bastianich, Joe is a renowned gourmand, so when we chatted with him about his involvement with Progresso soup last week, we couldn’t help but ask what his Thanksgiving plans are.
"I'm going to Berlin, so I’m having a very avant-garde, sprachen Thanksgiving," he joked. Interestingly enough, his traditional Thanksgiving is neither Italian or traditional American. "Normally, Thanksgiving is sauerkraut and choucroute," he added. "We come from Northeastern Italy, so we eat a lot of pork with sauerkraut in it. Prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella, lasagna Bolognese with green béchamel, and veal Bolognese, baccala whipped with garlic and olive oil, and then turkey, but only if we get to it. Those are the kind of dishes that pop out and speak 'Thanksgiving' to me."
And like all Thanksgiving devotees, Bastianich knows that the day after is almost as big a deal as the day itself, and he’s got a thorough plan of attack. "You know, it's a whole process," he said. "You start with baccala and champagne for breakfast, and then tortellini and brodo for lunch, then turkey leftovers."
One thing that became clear during our chat is that turkey is certainly not the centerpiece in the Bastianich household on Thanksgiving. "The turkey thing is just, I don't know," he added. "Once a year, it's fine, it's great. But there are so many things I'd rather eat."