Lidia Bastianich and the art of Italian cuisine

Written by Lidia Bastianich, coauthored with her daughter Tanya, comes just before Christmas Lidia’s Mastering the art of Italian cuisine - Everything you need to know to be a great Italian cook, a beautifully produced definitive guide to Italian cooking, covering everything from ingredients to techniques to tools, plus more than 400 delectable recipes / Leggi in italiano

Lidia Bastianich, from the Emmy-winning host of Lidia’s Kitchen, best-selling author, and beloved ambassador for Italian culinary traditions in America comes the ultimate master class, Lidia’s Mastering the art of Italian cuisine – Everything you need to know to be a great Italian cook: a beautifully produced definitive guide to Italian cooking, coauthored with her daughter, Tanya, covering everything from ingredients to techniques to tools, plus more than 400 delectable recipes.

Teaching has always been Lidia’s passion, and in this magnificent book she gives us the full benefit of that passion and of her deep, comprehensive understanding of what it takes to create delicious Italian meals. With this book, readers will learn all the techniques needed to master Italian cooking. Lidia introduces us to the full range of standard ingredients – meats and fish, vegetables and fruits, grains, spices and condiments – and how to buy, store, clean, and cook with them. The 400 recipes run the full gamut from classics like Risotto alla Milanese and Tagliatelle with Mushroom Sauce to Lidia’s always-satisfying originals, like Bread and Prune, Gnocchi and Beet Ravioli in Poppy Seed Sauce. She gives us a comprehensive guide to the tools every kitchen should have to produce the best results. And she has even included a glossary of cuisine-related words and phrases that will prove indispensable for cooking, as well as for traveling and dining in Italy. There is no other book like this; it is the one book on Italian cuisine that every cook will need. She tells to La VOCE more about the book and what she will cook for Christmas.

Lidia's mastering the art of Italian cuisine, the new book, is more than a guide. How would you describe this book?

t1Some of my books have been about Italian-American cuisine, some about regional Italian food, and Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine is really my most comprehensive book to date, with lots of cooking tips and techniques, detailed descriptions of products and how to use them and store them. Technique is very prominent in this cookbook, and I address it in detail, when one should consider whether to braise, roast, boil, grill, or saute their meat, fish or vegetables for a meal.

What we need to know to be great Italian cook?

Italian cuisine is based so much on seasonality so be informed with regard to what is in season and don’t be afraid to make substitutions so that the products that you are using are the best that you can find. Also, be prepared before you start cooking and make sure you have all the ingredients you need, the proper instruments, a good work surface and good knives. Invest some time beforehand to understand the recipe and the techniques used in the recipe. Once you have become familiar with the recipes and have mastered some of the cooking techniques, you can begin to move away from it a little bit in small steps and begin to make the dishes your own.

What guided you on selecting 400 recipes?

I wanted to include many of the traditional dishes like Bolognese sauce, Linguine with clam sauce, Pasta e fagioli and basic Marinara sauce. But I also wanted to include some of my lifetime favorites and some brand new more innovative dishes. I tried to make sure that there was a balance of recipes: a good selection of simple and easy dishes; holiday favorites and some recipes that are more complex for special occasions or when the cook just wants to try something new and different. A book should have a balance of appetizers, first courses, second courses, vegetables and desserts and each category needs to be well represented.

What you will cook for this upcoming Christmas?

Antipasto with prosciutto and torte salate, cod fish, octopus salad, lots of vegetables, potato salad, sweet potatoes capon soup, pasta rings, cabbage and roast beef for lunch. Zeppole, Bugie, and Apple pie for dessert.

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