Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes

Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes

Language: English

Pages: 432

ISBN: 0307267512

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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 (crêpe) 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 Ragù
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.


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white wine 3 to 4 cups light stock (chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth) RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: A meat mallet; wooden toothpicks; a heavy, high-sided sauté pan or braising pan, 12-inch diameter or larger, with a cover To slice the beef into scallops: Lay one hand open on the top of the roast to hold it in place. With a sharp chef’s knife, begin slicing the meat on a slant, cutting across the grain, and continue with parallel angled cuts every ½ inch or so, slicing the meat chunk into a

journey: Montisola, a big island smack in the middle of the lake. It is a beautiful and a natural culinary nexus, filled with olive and lemon orchards, and a great lake for fishing products that complement each other perfectly. On one particularly memorable visit, in early summer, my friend Mario and I took the ferry there from Sale Marasino. No cars are allowed, and one can either rent a bike or walk the island, which we did for the entire day. We visited the monastery and peeked into the

dish. Moisten these slices with another cup or so of stock; top the bread with all the remaining cheese, scattered evenly. Tent the pasticciata with a sheet of heavy aluminum foil, arching it so it doesn’t touch the cheese topping, and pressing it against the sides of the baking dish. Set the dish in the oven, and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking for 10 minutes or more, until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Take the dish from the oven, and

us. She was a schoolteacher, yet she had time to make a lovely meal for us—a crostata stuffed with shredded zucchini, rice, and cheese. My first bite into that warm crust, redolent of sweet, buttery Ligurian olive oil, still lingers in my taste memory. After that came a steaming vegetable soup. Surely, it is not often that a child has an epiphany when eating vegetable soup. So why do I recall Cousin Lidia’s zuppa di verdure so vividly, many years later? It was the garlic: Liguria is known for

buffet table. If you want to turn it into a main course, just add shrimp, clams, mussels, or canned tuna. Though farro is the best choice for this recipe, you can substitute spelt, barley, or other grains, adjusting cooking times. And in place of bell peppers, you can flavor the dish with other vegetables such as zucchini or eggplant in the summer, or squash and/or mushrooms in the fall. FOR THE PEPPER SAUCE 2 medium red bell peppers 2 medium yellow bell peppers 6 tablespoons

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