The Chew: Mario Batali Grab Bag Challenge Pasta Recipe & Tomato Season

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The Chew: Grab Bag Challenge

Picture this: you learn at the last minute that you are having dinner guests, and you have to whip something up in a hurry. That is the idea behind The Chew’s grab bag challenge, which puts hosts on the spot to whip up some favorite meals in a hurry. Check out this Mario Batali Grab Bag Challenge recipe.

The Chew crew insisted that Mario Batali had no idea what ingredients he would be working with on this show. But Mario said it didn’t really matter, because he is so good in the kitchen that he could do anything. Self-confidence is a good quality.

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The Chew: Fresh Tomato Season

The Chew: Mario Batali Grab Bag Challenge Pasta Recipe & Tomato Season

The Chew issued Mario Batali a Grab Bag Challenge to create a pasta dish with surprise pantry ingredients. When are fresh tomatoes at their best? (ABC/Lou Rocco)

Mario Batali said you should only use fresh tomatoes when they are in season and at their very best. He said that tomatoes are at their best from August through October.

The Chew: Mario Batali Grab Bag Pasta Ingredients

  • 1 lb Vermicelli Pasta
  • 1/4 lb Shrimp
  • 1 Onion
  • 28 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 15.5 oz Olives
  • 15.5 oz Artichokes
  • 1/3 cup Fennel Fronds
  • Chili Flakes
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

The Chew: Grab Bag Pasta Directions

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  1. Boil a pasta pot of water, adding salt and pepper to season it as it heats.
  2. Cook vermicelli for one minute less than the directions on the box.
  3. In a saute pan on medium-high, heat olive oil with onions, salt, and pepper. Coat onion and cook about two minutes, until soft.
  4. Mix in tomatoes, olives (drained), and artichokes (drained), seasoning with chili flakes.
  5. Let the sauce reduce for about five minutes. Then add in the shelled shrimp with fennel. Remove after shrimp has cooked through, which should take about a minute.
  6. Drain pasta and mix it with your sauce in the saute pan, cooking until evenly warmed, less than a minute.
  7. Season with olive oil and serve immediately.

In the spirit of the grab bag challenge, you can dress this up with any substitutions or ingredients you might happen to have on hand in the house. What is your go-to grab bag meal that you could make with ingredients that are in your kitchen right now?

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