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March 19, 2014

St. Joseph’s Day treats


March is a month that is very dear to Italians, as today marks Italian Father’s Day, or la Festa di San Giuseppe. The tradition of setting out a bountiful feast every year on this day dates back to Sicily in the Middle Ages, when St. Joseph is said to have ended a period of terrible drought and famine. When the heavy rains finally arrived, people gave thanks by inviting the poor inside to feast with them at their table. Every year the Feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated with a big table full of delicious food, so give these traditional St. Joseph’s Day Creampuffs a try! Or these neat little St. Joseph’s Fig Cookies.

 

st.-josephs-fig-cookies-sma

 

March 5, 2014

All About the Rossini Dinner


rossini dinner

Yesterday evening I had the great pleasure of hosting The Rossini Dinner at Del Posto.

The event launched the William Tell Project which is dedicated to bringing the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio Torino to the North America for its debut.  The Teatro Regio Torino will tour North America with Rossini’s grand opera William Tell performed in concert in December of this year, beginning in Chicago and continuing to Toronto, New York, and Ann Arbor.

I co-hosted with Maestro Gianandrea Noseda–Music Director of the Teatro Regio Torino and a dear friend of mine for many years. The Dinner allowed a hundred guests to experience Rossini’s greatest recipes paired with movements from the Sonate a Quattro string works the genius composed at the age of twelve performed by Eric Jacobsen, Colin Jacobsen, Ariana Kim and Shawn Conley, Members of The Knights, an internationally acclaimed ensemble based in New York. The evening began with a reception featuring the “Rossini” cocktail which was followed by the first performance of the evening: star soprano Angela Meade singing the aria “Selva opaca” from William Tell; Ms. Meade will be performing the role of Matilde in William Tell at staged production at the Teatro Regio Torino in May 2014 and on the North American tour with the opera company in December 2014.

Throughout the evening, I provided some insight on the Rossini Dinner menu that I crafted in collaboration with Del Posto Executive Chef Mark Ladner. My friend Maestro Noseda spoke passionately about the need for Italy to change its ways when it comes to funding the arts and his goal to encourage more private philanthropy. He thanked supporters of the Dinner for playing a major role in starting the process for the funding of the William Tell Project and for setting an example. He stressed the importance of having an Italian opera house continue performing opera to provide an Italian standard for the world. He continued by expressing the need to invest in culture and the arts–especially during difficult economic times–and thanked the donors for their support and belief in his vision.   

Contributions to the William Tell Project are tax-deductible via The Opera Foundation, Inc., a tax-exempt organization pursuant to section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Please contact williamtellproject2014@gmail.com if you are interested in supporting the William Tell Project 2014. All contributions will be acknowledged by a tax statement from the Opera Foundation. More information about The Opera Foundation, Inc. at www.operafoundation.org.

February 26, 2014

“Sauce” or “Gravy?”


In America, Italian food enthusiasts will fight to the death for the name they use for their precious pasta topping. Is it sauce or is it gravy? The fact is, in Italy, sauce and gravy are different things. Sauce translates to salsa, which has a light, fresh flavor, often involving oil, garlic, and tomato with a short cooking time. Gravy, on the other hand, is called sugo in Italian, and takes much longer to cook. It has a denser consistency, more complex flavor, and often contains meat.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (Spaghetti con Polpette di Carne) - sauce

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2014

Chocolate Recipes for Late Winter


February can be a dreary month, but this year it feels like we’ve had more cold, snow, and ice than usual. As a chocolate lover, I find that Valentine’s Day always arrives just in time. And as it happens, there is another decadent day around the corner as well: Carnevale, which means, “say goodbye to meat.”  
 
Italy may be famous for its pasta, but Italians love chocolate. In the last decade alone, the country’s annual chocolate consumption has doubled, but as you might have guessed, no one is sacrificing quality for quantity; chocolate is still meticulously crafted from Piedmont down through Tuscany and all the way down to Sicily.
 
This year, Carnevale, or Martedi Grasso (Fat Tuesday), falls on March 4th. Italians will be celebrating with costume parties, rich meat dishes, and plenty of sweets, so this month our chefs are sharing some of their favorite chocolate recipes from the restaurants. Before we say our final farewells to winter, maybe a little last minute indulgence is in order as we get ready for spring?

Lidia for Carnevale copy

Crostoli: This is one name for the most popular carnevale dessert: fried dough. You will find variations on this delicious recipe throughout Italy; in much of southern Italy they are called chiacchiere, a fun Italian word meaning “chatter” or “chitchat.”

Chocolate Star Cookies: Why not embrace the snow? These snowflake-shaped cookies are fun to make with the family and a perfect way to celebrate the end of winter.

Chocolate Bread Parfait: This dessert recalls for me the chocolate-and-bread sandwiches that were sometimes my lunch,  and always a special treat. How simple but how delicious those two piece of bread with chocolate in between were. This is another inventive way to recycle leftover bread as the foundation of an elegant layered dessert. Though it is soaked with chocolate-and-espresso sauce and buried in whipped cream, the bread doesn’t disintegrate, and provides a great textural contrast in every heavenly spoonful.

January 24, 2014

My recipe for Chocolate Soup


Nothing warms me up more on a cold day than a bowl of hot soup. But I’m also a chocolate lover, so I thought, why not kill two birds with one stone?

I hope you’ll give my recipe for Chocolate Soup a try this weekend. The kitchen is often the warmest room in the house, so luring the family to the table should be a snap, Chocolate Soup or not!

a walk in the falling snow

A walk in the falling snow this past week certainly works up an appetite!

January 17, 2014

Ever been to Prato?


Adoro visitare qualsiasi luogo in Italia e sono rimasta piacevolmente sorpresa quando ho visitato Prato, in Toscana. Mia figlia Tanya ha vissuto per quattro anni a scrivere la sua tesi di dottorato incentrata sul Palazzo Datini. Il Duomo ha un pulpito esterno circolare disegnata da Donatello e ospita la sacra reliquia della cintura della Vergine Maria, la Sacra Cintola. La città ha una storia ricca di produzione tessile ed è stata la città natale di Filippo Lippi, un favoloso pittore rinascimentale. Con tutti gli splendori del Rinascimento, come la Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Carceri progettata da Antonio da Sangallo, la città è anche sede del primo museo in Toscana ad essere dedicato all’arte contemporanea, il Centro Pecci. Devo tornare presto!

Basilica Cattedrale di Santo Stefano a Prato

 

Filippo Lippi, Salomè riceve la testa del BattistaPhoto credit

I love visiting any place in Italy and was pleasantly surprised when I visited Prato, in Tuscany.  My daughter Tanya lived there for four years writing her PhD thesis focused on the Palazzo Datini.  The Duomo has a circular external pulpit designed by Donatello and houses the sacred relic of the Virgin Mary’s belt, the Sacra Cintola.  The city has a rich textile producing history and was the native hometown of Filippo Lippi, a fabulous Renaissance painter.  With all the Renaissance splendors, like the Church of Santa Maria delle Carceri designed by Antonio Sangallo, the town is also home to the first museum in Tuscany to be dedicated to contemporary art, The Pecci Center.  I must go back soon!

 

 

January 13, 2014

Trulli


La campagna dell’Istria è costellata di piccoli ripari di pietra circolare, utilizzato per contenere attrezzi agricoli. Questi sono stati costruiti senza l’uso di malta. Edificio simile si trova in tutta Europa e soprattutto in Puglia. Questo è in Galizana.

trulli

The countryside of Istria is dotted with small circular stone shelters, used to hold agricultural tools.  These were constructed without using any mortar.  Similar building can be found throughout Europe and especially in Puglia.  This one is in Galizana.

January 9, 2014

There’s a Lidia MARATHON on Create TV this weekend!


Create TV is happy to present a weekend marathon of Lidia’s Italy in America on January 11 and 12. The marathon will celebrate Lidia’s recent Daytime Emmy win and, of course, her delicious Italian dishes. Tune in to watch at the times below!

Saturday JANUARY 11:

05:30 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
From Bloomfield to the Strip in Pittsburgh • Episode #207
Braised veal shank; olive oil mashed potatoes; peas with bacon.

06:00 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian Style Breakfast for Dinner • Episode #201
The Season 2 premiere features frittatas, including ricotta frittata; sausage, eggs and pepper frittata; and an asparagus-and-onion frittata. Also: How Italian-American sausage is made at Brooklyn’s Faicco restaurant.

06:30 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
New York Italian Style • Episode #202
Italian-American comfort food, including zucchini-and-eggplant parmigiana; chicken piccante; and skillet cauliflower torrisi.

07:00 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Heartwarming Italian-American Classics • Episode #203
Chicken trombino; Italian-American meatloaf.

07:30 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Sicily in New York City • Episode #204
Stuffed calamari; broccoli with garlic and anchovies; cappuccino cake.

08:00 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Kansas City Alla Parmigiana • Episode #205
Penne rigate alla vodka; chicken parmigiana; tiramisu. Also: how chickens are raised in Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

08:30 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Yummy Pastas • Episode #206
Baked ziti; fettuccine Alfredo; spaghetti with basil-pistachio pesto.

09:00 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
From Bloomfield to the Strip in Pittsburgh • Episode #207
Braised veal shank; olive oil mashed potatoes; peas with bacon.

09:30 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
It’s Chicken Time • Episode #208
Braised chicken with smoky provola; chicken cacciatore dishes; a panzanella salad, which is made with tomatoes and day-old bread.

10:00 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian American Sandwiches • Episode #209
A New Orleans muffuletta sandwich; St. Louis’ veal hamburger parmiciano; Chicago’s Italian beef sandwich.

10:30 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
New England’s Italy • Episode #210
Calamari fra diavolo over linguine; a salt cod, potato and string bean salad; zuppa Inglese.

11:00 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian-American Sandwiches #2 • Episode #211
Baltimore’s Italian-American civic club sandwich; a Primanti sandwich; a prosciutto, scallion and egg sandwich; celery, artichoke and mortadella salad.

11:30 AM
Lidia’s Italy in America
St. Louis’s Little Italy • Episode #212
Spaghetti and meatballs with arancini (rice balls).

12:00 PM
Chef John Besh’s Family Table
Creamy Heirloom Tomato Soup; The Perfect Frittata; Warm Any Fruit Crumble • Episode #115
Heirloom-tomato soup; frittatas; warm fruit crumble.

12:30 PM
Simply Ming
On the Road in the Azores • Episode #1017

1:00 PM
Julia/Jacques Cooking at Home
Potatoes • Episode #121
Potatoes are prepared in a variety of ways. Included: mashed potatoes, baked potatoes and potato casserole.

1:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Kansas City Alla Parmigiana • Episode #205
Penne rigate alla vodka; chicken parmigiana; tiramisu. Also: how chickens are raised in Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

2:00 PM
Cook’s Country/Test Kitchen
Irish Country Cooking • Episode #608
How to make Guinness beef stew; and brown soda bread. Also: the best whisks.

2:30 PM
Cooking With Nick Stellino
Halibut With a Kick & Aristocratic Risotto • Episode #112
Halibut with tequila and jalapeño pepper sauce; risotto with zucchini, goat cheese and prosciutto.

3:00 PM
Chef John Besh’s Family Table
Creamy Heirloom Tomato Soup; The Perfect Frittata; Warm Any Fruit Crumble • Episode #115
Heirloom-tomato soup; frittatas; warm fruit crumble.

3:30 PM
This Old House
Arlington Italianate Project 2014: A New Project in Arlington, MA • Episode #3309
Work begins on an 1872 Italianate-style home in Arlington, Mass., that has an awkward layout.

4:00 PM
R. Steves’ Europe
Poland Rediscovered: Krakow, Auschwitz and Warsaw • Episode #310
A visit to Poland includes stops at Krakow (“the next Prague”), Auschwitz and Warsaw.

4:30 PM
Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope
Taiwan Lantern Festival • Episode #712
A visit to Taiwan during the Taiwan Lantern Festival, a Chinese holiday that’s more than 2000 years old.

5:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Kansas City Alla Parmigiana • Episode #205
Penne rigate alla vodka; chicken parmigiana; tiramisu. Also: how chickens are raised in Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

5:30 PM
Cook’s Country/Test Kitchen
Irish Country Cooking • Episode #608
How to make Guinness beef stew; and brown soda bread. Also: the best whisks.

6:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian Style Breakfast for Dinner • Episode #201
The Season 2 premiere features frittatas, including ricotta frittata; sausage, eggs and pepper frittata; and an asparagus-and-onion frittata. Also: How Italian-American sausage is made at Brooklyn’s Faicco restaurant.

6:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
New York Italian Style • Episode #202
Italian-American comfort food, including zucchini-and-eggplant parmigiana; chicken piccante; and skillet cauliflower torrisi.

7:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Heartwarming Italian-American Classics • Episode #203
Chicken trombino; Italian-American meatloaf.

7:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Sicily in New York City • Episode #204
Stuffed calamari; broccoli with garlic and anchovies; cappuccino cake.

8:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Kansas City Alla Parmigiana • Episode #205
Penne rigate alla vodka; chicken parmigiana; tiramisu. Also: how chickens are raised in Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

8:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Yummy Pastas • Episode #206
Baked ziti; fettuccine Alfredo; spaghetti with basil-pistachio pesto.

9:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
From Bloomfield to the Strip in Pittsburgh • Episode #207
Braised veal shank; olive oil mashed potatoes; peas with bacon.

9:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
It’s Chicken Time • Episode #208
Braised chicken with smoky provola; chicken cacciatore dishes; a panzanella salad, which is made with tomatoes and day-old bread.

10:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian American Sandwiches • Episode #209
A New Orleans muffuletta sandwich; St. Louis’ veal hamburger parmiciano; Chicago’s Italian beef sandwich.

10:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
New England’s Italy • Episode #210
Calamari fra diavolo over linguine; a salt cod, potato and string bean salad; zuppa Inglese.

11:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian-American Sandwiches #2 • Episode #211
Baltimore’s Italian-American civic club sandwich; a Primanti sandwich; a prosciutto, scallion and egg sandwich; celery, artichoke and mortadella salad.

11:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
St. Louis’s Little Italy • Episode #212
Spaghetti and meatballs with arancini (rice balls).
- See more at: http://createtv.com/CreateProgram.nsf/ScheduleLookup?ReadForm&date=01/11/2014#06:00AM

FOR SUNDAY JANUARY 12:

12:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian Style Breakfast for Dinner • Episode #201
The Season 2 premiere features frittatas, including ricotta frittata; sausage, eggs and pepper frittata; and an asparagus-and-onion frittata. Also: How Italian-American sausage is made at Brooklyn’s Faicco restaurant.

12:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
New York Italian Style • Episode #202
Italian-American comfort food, including zucchini-and-eggplant parmigiana; chicken piccante; and skillet cauliflower torrisi.

1:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Heartwarming Italian-American Classics • Episode #203
Chicken trombino; Italian-American meatloaf.

1:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Sicily in New York City • Episode #204
Stuffed calamari; broccoli with garlic and anchovies; cappuccino cake.

2:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Kansas City Alla Parmigiana • Episode #205
Penne rigate alla vodka; chicken parmigiana; tiramisu. Also: how chickens are raised in Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

2:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Yummy Pastas • Episode #206
Baked ziti; fettuccine Alfredo; spaghetti with basil-pistachio pesto.

3:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
From Bloomfield to the Strip in Pittsburgh • Episode #207
Braised veal shank; olive oil mashed potatoes; peas with bacon.

3:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
It’s Chicken Time • Episode #208
Braised chicken with smoky provola; chicken cacciatore dishes; a panzanella salad, which is made with tomatoes and day-old bread.

4:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian American Sandwiches • Episode #209
A New Orleans muffuletta sandwich; St. Louis’ veal hamburger parmiciano; Chicago’s Italian beef sandwich.

4:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
New England’s Italy • Episode #210
Calamari fra diavolo over linguine; a salt cod, potato and string bean salad; zuppa Inglese.

5:00 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
Italian-American Sandwiches #2 • Episode #211
Baltimore’s Italian-American civic club sandwich; a Primanti sandwich; a prosciutto, scallion and egg sandwich; celery, artichoke and mortadella salad.

5:30 PM
Lidia’s Italy in America
St. Louis’s Little Italy • Episode #212
Spaghetti and meatballs with arancini (rice balls).

January 8, 2014

Two reasons to celebrate in January


Dear Friends,

January 1st is the start of the New Year, but personally, I’m more excited for January 23rd, which marks my mother Erminia’s birthday.

Every year the whole family gets together to celebrate this special occasion. Last spring, I even wrote a book about it–Nonna’s Birthday Surprise–in which I tell the story of my grandchildren’s quest to cook the perfect birthday dinner for Grandma.

On the subject of favorite meals, I recently asked the chefs at Felidia, Becco, Lidia’s Kansas City, and Lidia’s Pittsburgh what they like to make in January–at home, and in the restaurant. Be sure to read my latest newsletter to get the recipes, and sign up on the homepage to receive them in the future!

Happy New Year and happy birthday to Grandma Erminia!

Warmly,
Lidia

Lidia Bastianich

January 5, 2014

Warm up with this cheesy baked pasta recipe


This is a delicious Sicilian pasta dish, and as I discovered in Palermo while researching Lidia’s Italy, you will find it on just about every restaurant menu. In Sicily they fry the eggplant cubes before they add them to the pasta, but here I instruct you to bake the eggplant; it is just as good, but with much less fat. I am asked for this recipe over and over again–everyone seems to love eggplant, ricotta, and Grana Padano, and this dish is the perfect combination of those ingredients. Get the recipe here.

Lidia Bastianich

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