In this inspiring new book, Lidia Bastianich awakens in us a new respect for food and for the people who produce it in the little-known parts of Italy that she explores. All of the recipes reflect the regions from which they spring, and in translating them to our home kitchens, Lidia passes on time-honored techniques and wonderful, uncomplicated recipes for dishes bursting with different regional flavors--the kind of elemental, good family cooking that is particularly appreciated today.
Penetrating the heart of Italy--starting at the north, working down to the tip, and ending in Sardinia--Lidia unearths a wealth of recipes:
From Trentino-Alto Adige: Delicious Dumplings with Speck (cured pork); apples accenting soup, pasta, salsa, and salad; local beer used to roast a chicken and to braise beef
From Lombardy: A world of rice--baked in a frittata, with lentils, with butternut squash, with gorgonzola, and the special treat of Risotto Milan-Style with Marrow and Saffron
From Valle d'Aosta: Polenta with Black Beans and Kale, and local fontina featured in fondue, in a roasted pepper salad, and embedded in veal chops
From Liguria: An array of Stuffed Vegetables, a bread salad, and elegant Veal Stuffed with a Mosaic of Vegetables
From Emilia-Romagna: An olive oil dough for making the traditional, versatile vegetable tart erbazzone, as well as the secrets of making tagliatelle and other pasta doughs, and an irresistible Veal Scaloppine Bolognese
From Le Marche: Farro with Roasted Pepper Sauce, Lamb Chunks with Olives, and Stuffed Quail in Parchment
From Umbria: A taste of the sweet Norcino black truffle, and seductive dishes such as Potato-Mushroom Cake with Braised Lentils, Sausages in the Skillet with Grapes, and Chocolate Bread Parfait
From Abruzzo: Fresh scrippelle (cr?pe) ribbons baked with spinach or garnishing a soup, fresh pasta made with a "guitar," Rabbit with Onions, and Lamb Chops with Olives
From Molise: Fried Ricotta; homemade cavatelli pasta in a variety of ways; Spaghetti with Calamari, Shrimp, and Scallops; and Braised Octopus
From Basilicata: Wedding Soup, Fiery Maccheroni, and Farro with Pork Rag?
From Calabria: Shepherd's Rigatoni, steamed swordfish, and Almond Biscottini
From Sardinia: Flatbread Lasagna, two lovely eggplant dishes, and Roast Lobster with Bread Crumb Topping
This is just a sampling of the many delights Lidia has uncovered. All the recipes she shares with us in this rich feast of a book represent the work of the local people and friends with whom she made intimate contact--the farmers, shepherds, foragers, and artisans who produce local cheeses, meats, olive oils, and wines. And in addition, her daughter, Tanya, takes us on side trips in each of the twelve regions to share her love of the country and its art.
Bastianich, acclaimed restaurateur, star of a PBS cooking show and author (Lidia's Italy, etc.), and her daughter Manuali offer a stellar array of regional Italian recipes in this tantalizing and lavishly photographed collection. They serve up authentic, hearty fare including such favorites as wedding soup from Basilicata, braised veal shanks from Lombardy and spaghetti with clam sauce from Le Marche. They celebrate and honor the cuisine of lesser-known parts of the country including Emilia-Romagna's sweet and sour little onions, Molise's braised octopus with spaghetti, Calabria's spicy calamari and Liguria's stuffed vegetables. In her trademark style, Bastianich places each recipe in the context of its Italian heritage, sharing insight into the people and highlights of the region. Offerings run the gamut from fish and beef to pasta and vegetables and provide insight into the traditional Italian kitchen and lifestyle. Readers will enjoy this volume not only as a cookbook but as a vicarious travel guide, flipping the pages to take in the culture as well as the cuisine. Bastianich's fans will delight in this superb volume, which no kitchen should be without. (Sept.)
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
October 18, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
Frittata with Asparagus and Scallions
1 pound fresh, thin asparagus spears
4 ounces prosciutto or bacon, thick slices with ample fat (about 4 slices)
1/2 pound scallions
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
8 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
A sturdy 12-inch nonstick skillet with a cover
A heat-proof rubber spatula
Serves 4 as a light meal or 6 as an appetizer
This is a different sort of frittata, not the neat golden round of well-set eggs that's probably most familiar. Here the eggs are in the skillet for barely a minute, just long enough to gather in soft, loose folds, filled with morsels of asparagus and shreds of prosciutto. In fact, when I make this frittata or the "dragged" eggs--uova strapazzate, page 143--I leave my eggs still wet and glistening so I can mop up the plate with a crust of country bread. That's the best part of all.
Snap off the tough bottom stubs of the asparagus, peel the bottom few inches of each spear, and cut them crosswise in 1 1/2-inch pieces. Slice prosciutto or bacon into strips, or lardoons, about 1 inch long and 1/3 inch wide. Trim the scallions, and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
Pour the olive oil into the skillet, scatter in the lardoons, and set over medium heat. When the strips are sizzling and rendering fat, toss in the cut asparagus, and roll and toss them over a few times. Cover the skillet, and cook, still over moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the asparagus is slightly softened, 5 minutes or so.
Scatter the scallion pieces in the pan, season with a couple pinches of salt, and toss the vegetables and lardoons together. Cover the skillet, and cook, shaking the pan and stirring occasionally, until the scallions and asparagus are soft and moist, 7 or 8 minutes more. Meanwhile, beat the eggs thoroughly with the remaining salt and generous grinds of black pepper.
When the vegetables are steaming in their moisture, uncover the skillet, raise the heat, and cook, tossing, for a minute or so, until the water has evaporated and the asparagus and scallions seem about to color.
Quickly spread them out in the pan, and pour the eggs over at once. Immediately begin folding the eggs over with the spatula, clearing the sides and skillet bottom continuously, so the eggs flow and coagulate around the vegetables and lardoons.
When all the eggs are cooked in big soft curds--in barely a minute--take the skillet off the heat. Tumble the frittata over a few more times to keep it loose and moist. Spoon portions onto warm plates, and serve hot and steaming.