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January 30, 2012

Auguri, Erminia!

Erminia turns 92! Buon compleanno!

January 18, 2012

All about pesto–as featured on Dr. Oz!

Tune in today to see Lidia on Dr. Oz! To find out when the episode airs near you, click here.

When I say the word “pesto” to people in America (or anywhere outside Italy), I know they are thinking of pesto alla Genovese, with its lush green color and intense perfume of fresh basil leaves. Indeed, though there are countless fresh sauces that are also termed “pesto” in Italian cuisine, it seems that pasta with basil and pine nut pesto is so well known that it might as well be the national Italian dish!

For the most authentic flavor in a basil pesto, use a sweet, small-leaved Genovese basil for the pesto-perhaps you can find it at a farmers’ market in summer, or grow it yourself. Large basil will be delicious, too. Make extra pesto when basil and parsley are plentiful in the summer, and freeze it in small containers to use through the winter.

Of course, use the best extra-virgin olive oil available, in the pesto and on the pasta, preferably pressed from the marvelous taggiasca olives of Liguria.

Try making one of the delicious recipes below. You’ll notice pesto can indeed be made of anything, and is often made with different kinds of nuts–one of my favorites in the winter is the rich, creamy walnut pesto.

Trenette with Pesto, Genova-Style

This recipe is for a classic, simple, basil pesto.

Anna’s Spaghetti and Pesto Trapanese, as seen on Dr. Oz!
The beauty and delight of this dish is that it is so fresh and clean–and it is a cinch to make. It’s important to make the pesto with the best ingredients then just toss in the hot cooked spaghetti to coat it and enjoy.

Spaghetti with Basil Pistachio Pesto

Everybody is familiar with pesto made with basil and pinoli nuts, but during one of my visits to Sicily, I enjoyed a pleasant pesto surprise: the pinoli were replaced with pistachios. Although Sicily is known for its delicious pistachios, 98 percent of the pistachios eaten in the US come from California. So do try this pesto rendition.

Walnut Pesto

This uncooked dressing, enriched with ricotta and butter, is delicious and quite different from the herb-based pestos I’ve found in other regions. You can blend it together in a bowl while the pasta water is heating up and have a distinctive pasta appetizer or main course in minutes. To retain its vibrant, fresh flavors, it is important not to cook the pesto, just toss it with the pasta and serve.

Basil and Walnut Pesto

This distinctively flavored pesto is a superb dressing for maccheroni alla chitarra, spaghetti, or linguine, and would work on a short dry pasta such as gemelli, lumache, or rigatoni. It’s a great condiment, too: put a spoonful on fish or chicken hot off the grill for a real treat.

Strangozzi with Chard and Almond Sauce

This is a fresh and extremely flavorful preparation for strangozzi. The dressing has two components, tender cooked Swiss chard and an uncooked pesto of fresh basil and mint leaves and toasted almonds. Other leafy greens, such as spinach, chicory, and arugula, could be used, and walnuts could replace the almonds, but the recipe here is true to the region).


January 3, 2012

Grandma’s Words of Wisdom, by Tanya

Advice from my Nonna Erminia

“Ho insegnato a molti, pero ho imparato da tutti.”

“I have taught many, but have learned from everyone.”

Nonna Mima always spoke to me about the importance of listening to people and learning from life experience. – Tanya


December 27, 2011

Watch Lidia’s Empire: From Italy to Eataly online!

“Chef Lidia Bastianich, the doyenne of Italian cooking in America, has built a multi-million dollar empire of restaurants, cookbooks, television shows, and products. We trace her journey as a pioneer of the culinary celebrity business model.”

Watch it here!

December 22, 2011

A Great Review of Lidia’s Italy in America on the Huffington Post

Chef and author Rozanne Gold begins, “Lidia Bastianich is one of my personal heroes and, in a moment’s notice, I would lead the campaign to make her our next Ambassador to Italy.”

Read it here!

December 21, 2011

Christmas Gifts, My Way

The holidays are a wonderful but busy time of year for me. I know it can be difficult to pull together all the holiday shopping, decorating, and cooking.

Gifts are often the trickiest because we want to be thoughtful. One of my favorite gifts to receive (and therefore also to give) is something homemade—something that was created with me in mind.  One year I made homemade red wine vinegar and put it in little bottle tied with a plaid bow.  Homemade gifts not need be large or extravagant; it really is the thought that counts.  A little tin filled with spice cookies, a small bottle of fruit infused grappa, a jar filled with candied pecans, or a bagged homemade trail mix are all gifts that show time, effort, and truly capture the spirit of the holidays. The most valuable commodity today is time, so the most appreciated gifts need not cost even a dime if we gave of ourselves to make them.

You can even use gift-making as an excuse for family time. Here are a couple of cookie recipes I like to make with  my grandchildren that also make lovely gifts: Chocolate Star Cookies, Crostoli, and Ricotta Cookies.

December 9, 2011

Christmas at My House

If you’ve read my children’s book, Nonna Tell Me a Story, you know I enjoy reminiscing about my childhood Christmases. Nowadays, I’m in charge of Christmas dinner.

I begin cooking early in the morning, and I always start with dessert. The meal on Christmas Day was and still is usually served during midday in my family, and starts with some type of stuffed pasta in brodo, or broth.  I remember having stuffed pasta in capon broth, followed by a stuffed capon as our main course.  In Italy you will typically find turkey, goose or capon served as a main course, and each bird has a different stuffing.  Once my family arrived in America, I learned that turkey and ham are often found on the Christmas table.  A few years ago, I decided to add luscious roasted pork to our Christmas meal.

Rich desserts and spiced breads are the way to finish an Italian holiday meal.   At our table you will find the traditional Milanese panettone, apple strudel, chocolate cakes, cookies and amaretti pudding.  My favorite holiday dessert, however, is crostoli, or ribbon shaped fried dough cookies. Recently, while I was filming Lidia Celebrates America: Holiday Tables and Traditions, I learned that buñuelos, a Mexican dessert, are quite similar to crostoli. You can read more about these two delicious desserts on my Lidia Celebrates America blog.

During the holiday season I love to sprinkle my centerpiece (or even the whole table) with seasonal fruit.  For me, the aroma of clementines signals a good holiday feast about to happen on our table.  A big bowl of citrus with a few sprigs of pine makes the perfect centerpiece. In Istria, we would even peel some of the citrus fruit and leave the long strand of peel hanging from the tree as garland or maybe as popcorn would be threaded and used today.  Citrus fruit make for wonderful holiday desserts as well.  Either finishing with the fresh fruit or including some candied orange rind on your decadent chocolate cake, citrus truly is a sign of the holiday season for me.

It can be hard to make time for traditions, but my family–and my grandchildren especially–always appreciate when we do. While filming Lidia Celebrates America, I was fortunate to learn about the holiday traditions that define a variety of cultures in the US. From a Mexican-American Christmas Eve to a Jewish-American Passover and Chinese-American New Year, I’ve witnessed first-hand some of the many diverse traditions that bring American families together.

Lidia Celebrates America airs on Tuesday, December 20th at 8pm on PBS! Check your local listings here.

December 8, 2011

Watch Lidia on Good Day Austin!

Lidia whips up Garlic and Oil Shrimp Marinara with Penne.

Watch it here!

December 8, 2011

KLRU loves Lidia Celebrates America!

Each month, KLRU chooses a program for your family to enjoy together. This month’s Family Choice program is: Lidia Celebrates America where Celebrity Chef Lidia Bastianich Encourages Viewers to Cook Together, Eat Together, Be Together.

Read more here!

Read more about Lidia Celebrates America!

December 6, 2011

Listen to Lidia LIVE on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders, 12/2

Food Books and Dvds Tableware

Lidia's Italy in America
Lidia brings viewers on a road trip into the heart of Italian-American cooking.
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read more ›

Lidia's Pasta and Sauces
Enjoy Them Now!
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Lidia's Stoneware Collection

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see all tableware ›

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