Lidia’s Egg-citing Farm Adventure
Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking
Lidia’s Family Kitchen: Nonna’s Birthday Surprise
Lidia’s Favorite Recipes
Lidia’s Italy in America
Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen
Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy
Lidia’s Family Table
Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen
Lidia’s Italian Table
La Cucina di Lidia
THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF
Copyright © 2015 by Tutti a Tavola, LLC
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York, and in Canada by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada, Ltd., Toronto.
Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Lidia’s mastering the art of Italian cuisine : everything you need to know to be a great Italian cook / by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, with Tanya Bastianich Manuali.—First edition.
ISBN 978-0-385-34946-8 (hardcover) —ISBN 978-0-385-34947-5 (eBook)
1. Cooking, Italian. I. Manuali, Tanya Bastianich. II. Title. III. Title: Mastering the art of italian cuisine.
Cover illustration by Anthony Volpe
Cover design by Kelly Blair
eBook ISBN 9780385349475
TO ALL THE PASSIONATE COOKS IN THE WORLD:
For those of you who have invited me and my recipes into your kitchen, thank you. Let’s continue to create more delicious and easy Italian dishes together.
For those who are new to my recipes and guidance, I look forward to being part of your kitchen as I share with you my passion for and knowledge of Italian food.
LET’S GET COOKING!
Tutti a tavola a mangiare!
INGREDIENTS AND TECHNIQUES
Fruits and Vegetables
Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings
Olive Oil, Vinegar, and Condiments
Rice, Seeds, Grains, and Bread
Fish and Seafood
Wine, Beer, and Other Drinks
Vegetables and Sides
Polenta, Rice, and Pizza
Fish and Seafood
Italian Culture and Language
MY INFINITE GRATITUDE for my first experiences in the kitchen, which are the foundation and the basis for my passion and love of cooking today, belongs to my maternal grandmother Rosa, who nurtured me, inspired me, and taught me much about food and about life in that small courtyard, more than sixty years ago. An equal amount of gratitude I have for my mother, Erminia, who has always encouraged me and been by my side helping me and sharing with me the raising of my family, so that I could pursue my passion and my profession, cooking. Much love and gratitude also to my coauthor and daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Without her brilliant organizational, research, and writing skills this book might never have happened. Her loving support, encouragement, and collaboration give me the strength and desire to write ever more recipes and carry on with her our culinary traditions.
Such a comprehensive book can only be a collaboration of many. Deep appreciation goes to Amy Stevenson, who is always by my side as we cook, measure, and create: she is a true gem and I am honored to be her friend. A big thank-you to Peter Gethers and Christina Malach, whose ideas, tweaking, and input made this a better book. Thank you to Jenna Brickley for not letting any of the details escape us. Thank you to Paul Bogaards for our many years of working together and for his friendship. To the Knopf promotional team of Sara Eagle and Erin McGrath, much thanks for getting the word out there and supporting this book. It is always a pleasure to work with Kristen Bearse and, in addition, her keen eye and sense of design are incomparable. Kelly Blair, thank you for making the cover look wonderful and knowing what we want to put our best foot forward. For the wonderful drawings, I give heartfelt thanks to Anthony Volpe, who really worked con passione.
Thank you to my restaurant and office staff; only with their support am I able to find the time to write my books. Thank you to the American Public Television team for always doing a stellar job distributing my show. And thanks to the wonderful team at my presenting station, WGBH in Boston—Laurie Donnelly, Anne Adams, Bara Levin, and Matthew Midura. Their enthusiasm is contagious and their professionalism is exemplary. My show would not be possible without my sponsors: Cento and Il Consorzio del Grana Padano, and thanks to the wonderful s
chicken casserole recipes, funny birthday cake, asian side dishes, plant based meals, greek food,
k-a-block with fresh gorgeous vegetables and fruit along with fish, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. And maybe even a glass of red wine along with a healthy pasta dish. The diet is light on meat and sweets and uses heart-healthy olive oil instead of butter or lard.
Legendary Italian actress Sophia Loren once famously said, “Everything I have I owe to spaghetti.” And pasta tossed with olive oil along with fresh vegetables and herbs is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. Though olive oil is high in fat, it’s filled with monounsaturated fatty acids, which are the “good” type of fatty acid for the heart. That, combined with the benefits of a diet that’s low in sugar and doesn’t rely on processed food or copious amounts of meat, means that it has health benefits ranging from heart health to glucose control. Also, people who eat the Mediterranean diet have lower reported incidences of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The Mediterranean Way
In the middle of living a bustling American life, more and more families are turning to the relaxed simplicity of Mediterranean cuisine. The mere mention of Mediterranean cuisine conjures an idea that is likely two parts fantasy and half reality—oversized wooden farm tables surrounded by families, everyone sun-kissed and wearing loose gauzy clothes, wide-opened windows overlooking the Mediterranean, sea air wafting gently through homespun curtains.
The Mediterranean area is just mysterious enough, old enough, and far away enough to intrigue us. Of course, that intrigue becomes all the more interesting when there are real life reports from a multitude of studies that indicate Mediterranean countries experience lower rates of coronary disease, and lower rates of some diet-related cancers, than there are in the United States.
The Mediterranean lifestyle does have a focus on family, siestas, big-hearted enjoyment of life, and balanced work hours, which makes the consumer-driven fast-paced American lifestyle look overwhelming and unsustainable. And the fresh, simple flavors and nutrition-packed foods of the area complement this lifestyle.
Many Mediterranean dishes are made with low-cost ingredients. Look for recipes in this book that focus on beans versus meat and that use affordable vegetables (like carrots, onions, and potatoes) to bulk up a diet without breaking the bank.
The popularity of the Mediterranean diet in recent years must be attributed to more than just the ingredients listed in a cookbook. A focus on Mediterranean eating is a focus on fresh and local, slow and savory—on flavorful food grown by hand, by farmers in your own village (or at least in your own state). It’s about food made to be shared with a table full of people, as simple and satisfying as feeding a crowd with a bowl of pasta.
Mediterranean eating is a call to slow down, to stop the madness, to fill body and schedule with less and more: Less processed food, more produce. Less microwaving, more oven baking. Less beef, more seafood. Less hurry up, more sip and breathe and enjoy. Mediterranean food is as much about the flavor combinations as it is about the focus on priorities.
With this in mind, and recognizing that lifestyle and diet changes take time, cooking Mediterranean-inspired foods in the slow cooker is an excellent first step toward a healthier whole-food, whole-body approach to daily living. The slow cooker offers a simple way to prepare fresh ingredients and have a home-cooked meal ready and waiting at the end of a long day. Quick and easy prep steps leave you with precious leisure time during the workweek.
The Mediterranean way invites a fuller focus on true health. It’s about the food—brightly colored vegetables, rich sauces, fresh fish, flavorful herbs. But it’s also about the culture of community and connection. It is the sewing together of the nostalgic comfort of a simpler time with the obvious demands of modern living. A way to bring past and present into one healthful, vibrant human experience in a way that is approachable, enjoyable, and utterly delicious.
Why Eat Mediterranean?
In a simplified nutshell, food has undergone a lot of trends over the last several years. French cooking was popularized by Julia Child in the 1970s and 1980s, and beloved for its rich, flavorful approach to cuisine. Unfortunately, French cooking wasn’t always approachable. Coq au vin, often considered one of the finest French food experiences, typically takes more than an hour and forty-five minutes to prep, cook, and complete.
There was the hippie, simplistic approach to food in the ’70s, with chefs like Alice Waters beginning the move toward fresh, local eating. The comfort, farm-food from the 1950s continued to grace American tables (mashed potatoes, gravy, steak, grits, fried chicken, casseroles) and while there was some focus on the connection between health and diet, fitness superstars like Jack Lalan
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Simple, really! How great would it be if this were easy?
Well, it absolutely can be. I want you to know that you
Listen and Lose Weight
truly deserve to be healthy, happy, and in good shape.
This is your right, and you are going to learn to embrace
these new beliefs on a deep level. When you do this, you
won’t need to diet or struggle anymore. Instead, you will
automatically accept that you are a healthy eater and in
control of your weight. By taking back control in a com-
pletely natural way through learning to reprogram your
thoughts, you can genuinely learn to love healthy food
and exercising, while teaching yourself to dislike sweet,
fattening junk food and high-calorie drinks. When you
absorb and assimilate these beliefs on a deeper uncon-
scious level, staying in control of your weight becomes
natural and easy.
In my hypnotherapy practice the most common prob-
lem I help people with is weight loss. Having helped
thousands of people achieve their weight loss goals in
one-on-one sessions and via my weight loss CDs and
DVDs, I have a good understanding of the role the
unconscious mind plays in losing weight. Have you ever
started on a new weight loss program with great enthu-
siasm and resolve, only to slip back three months later
into those old, destructive eating patterns? The only way
to guarantee lasting change is to reprogram your mind.
Even the very best weight loss programs only teach you
to eat healthily and to exercise on a conscious level.
It is said that the conscious part of our brain accounts
for about 10 percent of our minds. It seems an awful waste
to me that we cart this big brain around but then fail to
make full use of it. Well, you are going to learn to tap into
How Hypnosis Works
the creative, resourceful part of your brain and use more
than the standard 10 percent. The key is using the inner
worlds of meditation, visualization, and self-hypnosis.
This is where your innate power and creativity reside.
As you can see, working with a weight loss program on a
superfi cial, conscious level will not create lasting change.
To succeed in the long term, you also need to work at a
deeper, unconscious level.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be a struggle anymore.
You want to lose weight and feel good while you do so.
Therefore, enjoying the whole process is important.
When you reprogram your thought processes through
hypnosis that is exactly what will happen. You will feel
good about yourself and learn how to develop a powerful new self-esteem and a real motivation to exercise. Having a holistic approach to your health is the key to mak-
ing a lasting change to your weight.
How Hypnosis and Self-Hypnosis Work
Throughout this book there are a number of self-
hypnosis techniques and visualizations designed to help
you focus on different weight loss issues.
Don’t let the thought of being under hypnosis scare
you, as it is often misunderstood. When you experience
hypnosis you are simply in an altered state of conscious-
ness. When you go to sleep at night and you drift between
consciousness and unconsciousness it feels natural, but as
Listen and Lose Weight
you drift asleep your brain waves are actually slowing.
When you go into a hypnotic trance the same thing hap-
pens, although you are still aware of your surroundings
even as you drift into deeper states. It can sometimes feel
as though very little is happening and that you can open
your eyes at any time and be wide awake. This is true, but
you can still achieve lasting changes even from being in
the lightest trance.
Being in an altered state of consciousness or in a hyp-
notic trance is actually something you will experience
naturally many times in your life. For example, just before
you fall asleep each night and before you are fully awake
in the morning you are in a
trance state that everyone on
We all experience
the planet experiences. These
hypnosis at least
morning and evening trance
states are called the hypnogogic
twice a day. The
and hypnopompic states. Day-
hypnogogic and hyp-
dreaming is another naturally
nopompic states are
occurring trance state that is
familiar to all of us. Now you can
natural trance states
learn how to create those states
that occur as you are
at will to empower yourself and
waking up and drift-
develop a healthy lifestyle.
ing off to sleep every
Imagine an iceberg with the
tip above the water and the huge
morning and night.
bulk below the surface. This is
often used to describe the con-
scious and unconscious minds. We spend most of our time
in our conscious thoughts and only sporadica
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tomatoes, you may need no thickening at all. You should always evaluate the thickness of the braising liquid and decide if it is precisely what you’re after. If it’s too thick, add more stock or wine. If it’s too thin, you have various options for thickening, depending on how you began your braise and how you want it to taste.
As with all sauces, starch is the primary thickening tool, and it couldn’t be simpler to use. The two primary options for all sauces, whether a classic sauce Robert or Thanksgiving gravy, is whisking in a cornstarch-water or flour-fat mixture.
The cornstarch-water mixture is called a slurry. (A slurry can also be made with arrowroot, potato flour, or any other gluten-free starch combined with stock, wine, or chilled braising liquid.) Starches thicken sauce by absorbing liquid, swelling, leaking chains of starches, and eventually creating a kind of mesh of starch chains (again, consult McGee for a detailed and illustrated explanation). Because cornstarch doesn’t have gluten, the particles remain separate rather than gumming up in water.
Put gluten-containing flour into water, though, and that water unlocks the gluten, which starts binding with itself and would, if cooked, become a kind of dumpling. Thus, to use flour as a thickener, you have to separate the granules with fat. It can be any fat (turkey fat for Thanksgiving gravy, chicken fat to thicken a jus for roast chicken), but butter is most common. The flour-fat mixture is called a roux if you cook it and a beurre manié (kneaded butter) if you don’t.
I prefer flour-fat thickeners because I find that the texture is more luxurious, and the fat also adds flavor. Thickening with a pure starch such as cornstarch results in a more gelatinous texture. (Hot and sour soup is typically thickened with a slurry, and if the chef has gone overboard with it, as so many Chinese restaurants seem to do, the soup is unpleasantly textured.) But slurries are valuable because they’re quick and, in small quantities, great for last-minute thickening. For people who must, or want to, avoid gluten, slurries are the easiest way to go. But you can also make a roux using a starch that doesn’t contain gluten, such as rice flour or any commercially prepared gluten-free baking mix.
I always make a slurry by sight, stirring into the cornstarch just enough liquid to make a mixture that is the consistency of heavy cream, then adding the slurry slowly to the sauce until it has reached the consistency I want. The ratio of cornstarch to liquid is roughly 1:1. I usually use water, but if I have extra stock on hand, I’ll use that, or sometimes wine; any liquid will do the trick.
Beurre manié is also easy to make, though not as quick as slurry. You can make a batch of it and refrigerate it or freeze it to use as needed. Simply combine equal volumes of butter and flour and mash the flour into the butter with a fork or by hand until you have a uniform paste. (Obviously, the process is faster and easier if your butter is at room temperature.)
Generally speaking, plan on using about 1 tablespoon of slurry or 2 tablespoons of beurre manié to thicken 1 cup of liquid. But it depends on the strength of the slurry or beurre manié, so thicken gradually, keeping in mind that you can always make the sauce thicker, but if you overthicken it, you will be forced to dilute it in order to thin it.
Roux is the most interesting thickener, because the flour cooks in the fat and takes on different flavors, and it will impart these flavors to the sauce. I make roux by sight, but you can also measure equal volumes of butter and flour or use three parts butter with two parts flour by weight. I melt the butter first, add the flour, and stir till it’s combined and the flour has developed the aroma of baked piecrust. The more you cook the flour, the nuttier and more flavorful your roux will become, though the more you cook it the weaker its thickening power.
It should be noted that the water in the butter can weaken the roux, so roux is traditionally made with clarified butter. To partly compensate for this at home, I let most of the water bubble off when I’m melting the butter before adding the flour. And there’s nothing wrong with browning the butter somewhat before adding the flour.
A roux can be thick or thin; the thicker it is, the more flour it contains and therefore the less of it you’ll need to thicken a sauce. A common ratio for how much roux you’ll need to thicken a given sauce is 1 to 10 by weight—1 ounce of roux will thicken 10 ounces of liquid; 30 grams will thicken 300 grams of liquid. This is merely a guideline, though, as it all depends on what you are thickening and how thick you want it.
Any roux (or beurre manié) you have left over can be refrigerated for two weeks or frozen for several months.
It’s also possible to thicken a sauce without starch. If you’ve braised with vegetables in addition to liquid, which is typically the c
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ge (here) is easily adapted to suit any seasonal berry mix, nut or seed. It will gently satiate a sweet tooth without causing blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes. The energy in the oats is released slowly, tempered by the good fats and vital protein in the nuts and seeds. More to the point, baked porridge, and, in the warmer months, Bircher Muesli (here), can be swiftly prepared the night before they are needed. A batch of Bircher muesli will last for a few days in the fridge, ready for portions to be topped with fresh juice and/or your favourite milk and fruits. Overnight Smoky Baked Beans (here) can also be made well ahead and even frozen in portions, if sweet breakfasts are not to your taste.
Waffle batters can be made well ahead and are especially popular with small people, who invariably love to help make them. The Spiced Buckwheat Waffles with Mango (here) don’t have to be sweet. Drop the fruit and swap in snipped chives for the sweet spices, if you prefer. Make the crisp-edged waffles following the same method (they will also work as little drop scones if you don’t have a waffle iron), but serve them with fresh ricotta cheese, a few drops of balsamic vinegar and roast peppers; or a poached egg, sliced spring onion, avocado and cherry tomatoes; or seared tempeh slices, toasted pumpkin seeds, rocket and pumpkin cubes you have roasted the day before.
Likewise, eggy bread works brilliantly in a savoury incarnation. Use your favourite bread – a stale sourdough or seeded loaf is ideal – dipped into a bowl of beaten egg, a touch of milk and a spoon of chopped herbs, until just shy of sodden. You can add a whisper of crushed garlic, finely grated vegetarian Parmesan or spices such as paprika, too. Fry the doused bread in oil or butter until lacy and golden on both sides, then top with roast tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms or wilted spinach and goat’s cheese.
Using wholegrain and unrefined ingredients wherever possible has become second nature in my home cooking. If you can choose ingredients with a lower glycaemic index and more fibre (which, invariably, wholegrain and unrefined versions possess), your body will take longer to break them down, ensuring blood sugars remain steady. This means plumping for wholemeal flour instead of refined white, or reaching for proper, jumbo oats instead of ‘instant’ porridge powder. You will also be adding natural flavour and character to your food in the process.
If eating, or even sitting down, first thing simply isn’t an option, nut- or seed-packed protein snacks, such as my Cashew and Coconut Bites (here), offer more sustenance than a mid-morning biscuit. Health food shops and even supermarkets sell variations on this theme, but they are expensive; besides, they’re very easy to make at home. You will be able to adapt the flavours and, if they suit your lifestyle, mix up bulk batches to freeze, saving money on ingredients. They make a clever snack to have on hand when travelling, as they keep very well, boost flagging energy levels and are easy to eat.
Use quiet moments to stock up for the week ahead. Blitz soaked nuts and seeds into dairy-free milks, or make your own indulgent nut butters, ready for toast and smoothies (here and here). Almost-instant jams can be whipped up from seasonal fruit, chia seeds and not much more (here). It takes some effort and forethought, but prioritising good, nutritious food doesn’t just set you up for the day, it lays down the tone for your daily eating and can help to form better habits in everything you cook.
Many-grain Porridge with Brown Butter Pumpkin and Apple
I’m sure you don’t need a recipe for basic porridge. But this is a rugged incarnation and warrants a recipe of sorts for the longer simmer and the sheer amount of liquid involved. To cook the grains – use whatever varieties you have or favour – in relatively little time, steep them in water before you go to bed. You can make the porridge a day or two before and reheat servings with extra water or whole milk. You could serve this with any fruit compote, honey or syrup, but sweet, buttery pumpkin, softened with apple and warming spices, makes a welcome change.
To make this vegan, swap almond milk for the dairy milk and use coconut butter in place of the butter (but forget about browning it first).
– 250g mixed whole grains (in groat form, if applicable) such as amaranth, barley, buckwheat, freekeh, kasha, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt and/or teff…
– pinch of sea salt, or more, to taste
– 25g salted butter
– 250g dense and firm pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped
– 1 firm eating apple, such as a Cox, cored and finely chopped
– 1 small cinnamon stick
– 2 tbsp coconut sugar
– 300ml whole milk
Put the grains in a large mixing bowl and cover generously with cool water. Leave to soak overnight, or for at least a couple of hours if time is short.
Drain the grains and transfer to a large sau
sent.” Carbonized malted grain residue at Roman fortress excavations in Bearsden and Caerleon indicate that not only did Caesar’s legions stationed abroad drink large quantities of beer, they got so desperate for it they made it themselves—proof, if nothing else, that standing around guarding Hadrian’s Wall all day was just as dull as it sounds.
The real history of English beer drinking, however, doesn’t start until after the Roman Empire’s collapse in the fifth century, with the appearance of a couple feisty Germanic tribes called the Angles and the Saxons. When Rome finally abandoned its British outposts, the indigenous Celts were left unprepared to deal with the warlike tribes of Picts and Gaels that leered at them menacingly from the island’s wild fringes. Out of desperation, the British Celts invited Angles and Saxons as mercenaries to come across the Channel and help them out. And the arrangement of money-for-protection went off more or less without a hitch—until it became clear that, just like the Hells Angels at Altamont, these unruly Germanic bodyguards did not much appreciate being told what to do. One can almost imagine the tremendous lump in the Celtic king Vortigern’s throat when he realized his belligerent, beer-guzzling guests were not only refusing to do as he asked, they were in fact bringing a few thousand of their kinsmen from northern Germany and southern Denmark to join them.* Battles between the native Celts and Anglo-Saxons would rage for centuries, with Celtic civilizations living on in Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. But “Angle-Land,” as it came to be known, was born—a rather bellicose beginning for Jolly Old England.
But just who were these rowdy Anglo-Saxons? One might describe them as precursors to the Vikings. They hailed from the same northern Germanic world, they worshipped roughly the same pantheon of war-hungry gods, they plundered the same foreign lands, and most important for our purposes, they had the same robust thirst. The Anglo-Saxons drank a variety of beverages, including wîn (wine), medo (meade), ealu (ale), and beor (you can figure that one out on your own). Mead and wine were certainly feasting hall favorites, but they were upper-class drinks, perhaps even special-occasion tipples not unlike modern-day champagne; the honey needed to make mead was a rare commodity, and wine had to be imported at great cost from the warmer, more grape-friendly parts of the European continent.
But beer? That was the everyday, every man’s drink. Anglo-Saxon lexicon wasn’t overly concerned with alcoholic distinctions, and the terms ealu and beor were used interchangeably to mean various drinks made from fermented grains. What didn’t vary was their love for the stuff. In the late ninth century A.D., Alfred the Great described “weapons and meat and ale and clothes” as the only thing an Englishman really needed. In the famously inscrutable Old English poem Beowulf, King Hrothgar—technically a Scandinavian, but described through an Anglo-Saxon lens—evokes Grendel’s scorn by constructing his massive beor hall Heorot, where warriors boasted of their deeds over brimming beor cups. Inevitably, such bragging often ended in a good old-fashioned beor brawl, a central part of Anglo-Saxon life, and a source of concern for those in charge. King Ine of Wessex passed an eighth-century law that stated: “If, however, they quarrel at their drinking of beor, and one of them bears it with patience, the other is to pay 30 shillings as a fine.” Oftentimes, though, the dispute went beyond what a few shillings could fix. The venerable chronicler Cynewulf would also condemn those bewitched by alcohol, writing that “drunk on beor, they renewed old grievances . . . being stricken with wounds, they released their souls to flit doomed away from their body.” In Anglo-Saxon England, beer was a part of everyday social life, albeit one that could turn dangerous at the drop of a helmet.
In the centuries that followed, England changed immensely. The arrival of Christianity banished the old gods, the Norman conquest upset the social order, and the florishing of the High Middle Ages pulled the English further from the primordial murk of Grendel’s moors. At last, it seemed, those rowdy Anglo-Saxon tribesmen had put on their tights, picked up their lutes, and come into the fold of pan-European culture. One thing that would not change was the English fondness for beer. Or beers, more accurately, because by the early Middle Ages, English brewing had evolved enough to provide them with a panoply of options. There was sweet ale, new ale, Welsh ale, double-brewed ale, clear ale, sour ale, honey ale, good ale . . . why, there was even a mild ale, which one can only imagine was akin to modern near beer. But they were all ales. By medieval times, that name had won out, used to describe the generally sweet, dark, alcoholic drink that the English preferred above all others. It wasn’t especially hard to make