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Lidia's Italy: 140 Simple and Delicious Recipes from the Ten Places in Italy Lidia Loves Most
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Who better to take fans on a culinary tour of Italy, than Lidia Matticchio Bastianich? Her new cookbook, Lidia's Italy (a companion to her new public television series of the same name) covers "ten places in Italy Lidia loves most": Istria, Trieste, Friuli, Padova and Treviso, Piemonte, Maremma, Rome, Naples, Sicily, and Puglia. In addition to 140 simple and delicious recipes, Lidia's Italy also offers a short introduction to each locale, featuring cultural treasures not to be missed (as defined by Lidia's daughter and coauthor, Tanya). For the cook as well as the armchair traveler, Lidia's Italy is a rich and satisfying gastronomic journey through Italy. --Daphne Durham

An Exclusive Video Message from Lidia

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10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

Q: What new recipes, tips, and lessons do you have to share in Lidia's Italy? Did you learn anything new while creating this book and the series?
A: There is so much in the Italian culinary tradition, that it amazes me. Every time I go back to Italy and visit another corner, I learn dozens upon dozens of recipes. And today's consumer is ever more educated about food. Cookbook readers want to be challenged by a recipe, and hence recipes that were once considered too traditional, such as "Bigoli" pasta from the Veneto or "Antico Peposo" braised beef with crushed peppercorns, from Maremma, are sought out today.

Q: What was it like to collaborate with your daughter Tanya to write this book?
A: For me to share and collaborate with my children is the greatest reward as a mother and a business woman. To have my children follow my passion and build upon it with their knowledge, spirit and passion affirms to me that they understand and appreciate my art and passion and want to carry on the tradition. My daughter?s passion for and knowledge of Italian art history is a natural compliment to Italian food and life. It is Italy!

Q: How did you start cooking and when did you know it was your calling?
A: I always loved being around food. I loved preparing and cooking it, as well as growing and producing it. As a child, I helped my grandma Rosa tend her garden, feed the animals and prepare the vegetables, eggs and cheeses to sell at market. I would also stay by her side when she cooked, helping her knead bread and make pasta and gnocchi. For me, touching and preparing food always felt good. I can still recall the silkiness of the pasta dough she made and strive for that texture when I make pasta at home and at my restaurants. Being introduced to food at a very young age, and carrying these culinary traditions with me, I'm sure had a great deal to do with my chosen profession.

Q: What is your favorite dish?
A: I do not have one favorite dish. That is like asking me which is my favorite child. I love them all the same, but for different reasons, and at different times. But if I were stranded on a deserted island, give me pasta for the rest of my life and I would be happy.

Italy with Lidia
We asked Lidia to share her favorite itineraries for a few locales from her book, including Piedmont, Friuli, and Florence. Enjoy!

Piedmont for Wine Lovers
Day 1: Journey through the magnificent rice fields, stopping to visit and have lunch with a producer in Vercelli to learn more about where the essential ingredient for risotto is grown, then slowly move into the hills of Piedmont known as the Langhe and Roero. Spend the afternoon wandering the streets of Alba. In the early evening depart for a visit to the Castle of Barolo for a tour and tasting in its dungeon cellar. Dinner is best at the nearby Locanda del Borgo Antico where the husband and wife team of Massimo and Luciana serve up top-notch Piedmontese food in their home.
Day 2: Tuesday is market day in Dogliani and affords the opportunity to experience a local Piedmontese market. Piedmont is well known for its many types of cheese. Occelli Agrinatura produces some of the best. This morning see their production and taste some of their exquisite products. Continue your morning with a visit to the cantina of a local Barolo producer. Lunch at the country restaurant Rosa dei Vini is fabulous, where locals enjoy authentic home-style meals. In the afternoon return once again to Alba for a dinner drink with the locals in its very active bars and find a good local place to delight in the capital of the truffle.
Day 3: Up at the crack of dawn, out with the dogs, embark upon a truffle hunt. Find a local trattoria and have lunch with the hunters and in the afternoon enjoy the sweeping vistas from the hill town of La Morra. Don't miss dinner at the charming La Contea. With the fire ablaze, Tonino keeps the atmosphere hopping and the food coming.
Day 4: This morning head to the city of Asti and enjoy strolling through the city. For lunch visit the local restaurant near the Braida Estate with a tasting of their production. In the afternoon sit in a piazza and enjoy the local production of Asti Spumante which has earned a bad reputation in the United States, but which has some excellent production in recent years.
Day 5: Depart this morning for the Saluzzo area outside of Torino to see one of the most magnificent fresco cycles in Italy in the Castello della Manta, where nine heroes and nine heroines await your arrival in courtly fashion in fresco. Have lunch in the charming town of Saluzzo and arrive in Torino in the early afternoon. Save the rest of the day for shopping or to experience the wonderful coffee houses that Torino is famous for.
Day 6: This morning learn about and visit the residences of the Kings of Italy: the magnificent Racconigi Castle a short distance outside of Torino and the palatial residence in the city of Torino. In the evening have your farewell dinner at La Prima Smarrita where owner and chef Moreno awaits your arrival.

Day 1: Arrive in Trieste and check into the Duchi d'Aosta hotel. Start a historical walk through Trieste starting in Pza. Unita and heading for the canal that ends with the Church of San Antonio. Enjoy an evening drink the Pza. Unita` as the sun sets out on the water and head to Trattoria da Giovanni for a lively dinner.
Day 2: This morning we will depart for the Friulian countryside to visit the production of the important Montasio cheese and Prosciutto di San Daniele. Lunch should be at the renowned Subida in the hills near the Slovenia border. After lunch visit the star shaped city of Palmanova, walk around and stay for dinner.
Day 3: This morning wear comfortable shoes and begin your walk in Trieste by stopping at the roman amphitheater. Keep heading up hill for the Cathedral of San Giusto with the uneven fa?ade and wonderful reliefs. Have lunch in the Carso hills at Savron and then continue towards Muggia and leave time to walk around the picturesque port and old Venetian town of Muggia followed by dinner in one of the regions best restaurants, Risorta.
Day 4: This morning depart for Grado and Aquilea, important centers for Early Christian history. Visit the Churches of S. Eufemia and S. Maria delle Grazie in Grado followed by lunch at Androna. Then continue to Aquilea where the Basilica holds some of the most important and magnificent early Christian mosaics. Return to Trieste in the late afternoon where the evening should be spent relaxing after such a busy day.
Day 5: This morning depart for Cividale del Friuli where you should visit the Museo Archeologico and the Tempietto Longobardo. Have lunch in the countryside at la Frasca before heading to the city of Udine where you should visit the Duomo and the Oratorio della Purita. Stop and see the quaint towns of Gemona and Venzone before heading back towards.
Day 6: This morning have a walking tour of Trieste famous for its pastries and coffee houses. Be sure to visit Caffe degli Specchi and La Bomboniera. In the afternoon visit the very moving site of San Saba, a concentration and refugee camp during World War II, now a museum. On the sade side outside of town, you can also visit the Illy coffee factory.

Day 1: You should visit the religious and civic centers of 14th and 15th century Florence. The Duomo or Cathedral is crowned with an engineering masterpiece, Brunelleschi's dome. Brunelleschi devised a system of pulleys and weights, chose his building materials and constructed a double dome, all the while looking to the Pantheon for inspiration, to create what was Italy's largest dome. Inside the Cathedral one will find the tombs and frescoes that decorate the interior, from famous figures on horse back to the elevating frescoes decorating the interior of the dome by Giorgio Vasari. At the Palazzo Vecchio, there are the unfinished frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo that were to decorate the walls. Then head to the first town hall and later prison, the Bargello, a museum that now houses sculpture by some of the Renaissance's most important artists such as Donatello and Michelangelo. Donatello's courageous St. George and Michelangelo's inebriated Bacchus are the highlights. For lunch, keep it light because you should head to Fabio Picchi's Cibreo tonight for dinner!
Day 2: This morning head to Florence's central market, the San Lorenzo market where you'll see specialties of the Tuscan gastronomic repertoire. Right around the corner is the church of San Lorenzo that contains Medici masterpiece tombs by Michelangelo. Michelangelo's muscular and overbearing figures appearing to be sliding off the tombs of Dukes Giuliano and Lorenzo, in their faces shadows of deep significance, the meaning of which scholars today are still uncertain of. Next door is the jewel like family chapel by Benozzo Gozzoli in the palace. After lunch, visit one of the world's finest art collections, the Uffizi Gallery, to see works by Lippi, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo, among others followed by a visit through the Vasari corridor which was used to connect the Uffizi gallery (or Medici offices) the their residence, the Pitti Palace.
Day 3: This morning depart for the Chianti region and stop at Tuscany's most famous butcher, Dario Checchini, who butchers while singing or reciting Dante's Inferno. Visit the vineyard and cavernous cellars of Monsanto where the Bianchi family will greet you and allow you to taste their wines. Afterwards, visit the terracotta production center of Impruneta, where terracotta has been made since medieval times, and visit an artisan production of terracotta garden pots and wares.
Day 4: Depart this morning for San Gimignano, the town of towers, and for Colle Val D'Elsa, the largest crystal production in Europe, where artisans blow one of a kind crystal in a traditional fashion, a profession that has been passed on from generation to generation. Have lunch at the acclaimed Da Arnolfo and then continue onto Siena, the financial capital of medieval Italy. Visit the Palazzo Pubblico, outside of which the Sienese perform the traditional Palio horse race, and inside of which the Madonna reigns supreme. Marvel at the famous Guidoriccio fresco with its controversial attribution to Simone Martini, the Lorenzetti Good and Bad Government frescoes, and Simone Martini's Maesta'. Then head up the hill to the religious center of Siena, the Cathedral complex, and marvel at one of the most stunningly beautiful masterpieces of the Renaissance, the Piccolomini Library. Then head to the campo square and enjoy a gelato while watching the Sienese meet and their children play.
Day 5: Enjoy your last day in Florence. Head over to the museum of Orsanmichele in the morning to see the original statues by Ghiberti and Donatello and peak into the wonderful building that used to be a marketplace but now is a church. For lunch, enjoy a bowl of ribollita or pappa al pomodoro at one of the trattorias on Borgo San Jacopo. Then head up to Fiesole-up above Florence where the rich and famous live. Have a drink on the terrace of the Villa San Michele while overlooking the Duomo by Brunelleschi. Then enjoy a light dinner inside.

Lidia's Must-Have Cookbooks

The Fine Art of Italian Cooking

The Silver Spoon

Ultimate Pasta

Marcella's Italian Kitchen

Molto Mario

See all of Lidia's must-have cookbooks

In this exciting new book the incomparable Lidia takes us on a gastronomic journey—from Piemonte?to Puglia—exploring ten different regions that have informed her cooking and helped to make her the fabulous cook that she is today. In addition, her daughter Tanya, an art historian, guides us to some of the nearby cultural treasures that enrich the pursuit of good food.

, In Istria, now part of Croatia, where Lidia grew up, she forages again for wild asparagus, using it in a delicious soup and a frittata; Sauerkraut with Pork and Roast Goose with Mlinzi reflect the region’s Middle European influences; and buzara, an old mariner’s stew, draws on fish from the nearby sea.

, From Trieste, Lidia gives seafood from the Adriatic, Viennese-style breaded veal cutlets and Beef Goulash, and Sacher Torte and Apple Strudel.

, From Friuli, where cows graze on the rich tableland, comes?Montasio cheese to make fricos; the corn fields yield polenta for Velvety Cornmeal-Spinach Soup.

, In Padova and Treviso rice reigns supreme, and Lidia discovers hearty soups and risottos that highlight local flavors.

, In Piemonte, the robust Barolo wine distinguishes a fork-tender stufato of beef; local white truffles with scrambled eggs is “heaven on a plate”; and a bagna cauda serves as a dip for local vegetables, including prized cardoons.

, In Maremma, where hunting and foraging are a way of life, earthy foods are mainstays, such as slow-cooked rabbit sauce for pasta or gnocchi and boar tenderloin with prune-apple Sauce, with Galloping Figs for dessert.

, In Rome Lidia revels in the fresh artichokes and fennel she finds in the Campo dei Fiori and brings back nine different ways of preparing them.

, In Naples she gathers unusual seafood recipes and a special way of making limoncello-soaked cakes.

, From Sicily’s Palermo she brings back panelle, the delicious fried chickpea snack; a caponata of stewed summer vegetables; and the elegant Cannoli Napoleon.

, In Puglia, at Italy’s heel, where durum wheat grows at its best, she makes some of the region’s glorious pasta dishes and re-creates a splendid focaccia from Altamura.

There are 140 delectable recipes to be found as you make this journey with Lidia.?And along the way, with Tanya to guide you, you’ll stop to admire Raphael’s fresco Triumph of Galatea, a short walk from the market in Rome; the two enchanting women in?the Palazzo Abbatellis in Palermo; and the Roman ruins in Friuli, among many other delights. There’s something for everyone in this rich and satisfying book that will open up new horizons even to the most seasoned lover of Italy.

Customer Reviews:

  • Amazing as usual!!!!!
    Lidia's recipes and commentary are wonderful. She makes it seem as if you are talking to a friend. The sense of cooking for family is always there!...more info
  • Lidia's Italy
    Good but not as good as earlier books. If I wanted a book on Italy I wouldn't recommend an Italian recipes book....more info
  • You've just gotta love it
    This book is a wonderful resource for Americans interested in cooking authentic Italian food. Organized by region, the book offers classic meat, vegetable, pasta, and dessert dishes for the various cuisines of Italy. In addition to ingredients and instructions, the book offers serving suggestions for each dish, as well as variations. The instructions are clear and detailed; and the ingredient lists, as befit authentic food, are short.

    My favorite recipe is from Tuscany, and is for beef braised with peppercorns and red wine. This dish, served with polenta to soak up the juices, has already become a staple in our house....more info
  • I just thought I was a good cook!
    I have been considered a good cook for most of my life. Mama Lidia has increased one of my best qualities, exponentially. To be watching one of her PBS shows, with the cookbook that accompanies it on my knee, is empowering. Lidia would be the ideal way for a beginner cook to get off to a spectacular start. But be warned! Once you feed people you can't get rid of them. What your Mother told you about stray puppies and kittens applies to people too....more info
  • Beautiful eating
    Lidia is my favorite cook. The photographs in this cookbook are
    breath-taking. As usual, the recipes look wonderful. I look
    forward to trying as many as I can. Lidia's recipes are never
    too complicated. Reading this book is "mouth watering" throughout....more info
  • A tour of Italy
    Recipes are wonderful. Lidia has simple instructions, easy to find ingredients and the results are great....more info
  • Lidia's Italy
    I enjoyed reading the book I wish there was more about Toscany becuase I never been in Italy and thats where my duaghter is getting married next Oct. But the book was very interesting.

    Thanks Marilyn...more info
  • Excellent Culinary Travelogue and PBS Tie-in. Buy It.
    `Lidia's Italy' by PBS Italian Cooking teacher extraordinare, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, is another entry in one of those `little trends' in cookbooks which swirl about in eddies running off the greater currents of national cuisines (Italian, French, Mexican, Spanish, Thai, you name it), regional cuisines (mostly Italian, Spanish, and American), fast cooking (Rachael Ray and company), grilling, low carb, and what have you.

    This mini-genre deals with personal tours of culinary highlights through various venues in Italy. The two earlier heavyweights in this recent trend are `Biba's Italy' by notable restauranteur and cookbook writer, Biba Caggiano and `jamie's italy' by `The Naked Chef', Jamie Oliver. Both books impressed me, but for somewhat different reasons. Caggiano gave us the insider's catalogue of recipes for great classic Italian dishes, while the effervescent Oliver gives us the brilliant outsider's enthusiasm for seeing Italian cuisine with fresh eyes. Bastianich's book is naturally more similar to `Biba's Italy', since both are professional cooks who were born and raised in Italy. All three are great foodie books, but Bastianich's book appeals to me over Caggiano for three reasons. But before I get into these, let me give you the lay of the land in `Lidia's Italy'.

    While Mama Lidia does the culinary tour of ten (10) of her favorite venues, daughter Tanya, a highly educated guide of cultural tours through Italy does verbal snapshots of historical and artistic places of interest at each of these venues. I will not address Tanya's contribution except to say that while it did add value to the book, it does not contribute much to my appreciation. It may have had a bigger impression on me if pictures of the sites were included. For me, this book is primarily about the recipes of these regions.

    The ten regions are:

    Istria, the peninsula east of Venice and Lidia's ancestral home, which is now part of Croatia
    Trieste, the Italian city at the northern end of the Adriatic, which for centuries belonged to Austria/Hungary
    Friuli, the center of the second most interesting culinary venue in Italy, after Emilia-Romagna
    Padova and Treviso, inland from the city of Venice
    Piedmonte, with the cities of Turia and Alba, near France, and `truffle central' for the world.
    Maremma, in southern Tuscany, the site of the Bastianich' newest vineyard.
    Rome, the traditional slaughterhouse of Italy, and `artichoke central'.
    Naples, which needs no introduction to American lovers of Italian food.
    Western Sicily, including Palermo, Trapani, and Marsala, the home of the Italian sherry.
    Puglia, the Italian bread basket and a heavy olive producer. Famous for its breads.

    The first thing I like about the book is that seven (7) out of ten (10) of these regions are on the fringes of Italian culinary terroir, which means they reflect more outside influences than the typical `Italian-American' fare based on Tuscan, Roman, and Neapolitan cuisines. Even better, the first four (4) of these venues are in the northeastern part of the country, where the German and Slavic influences are at their strongest. Thus, we get lots of dishes with cabbage, apples, braised pork, and delicate pastries, reflecting the relatively recent 200 plus years of rule of the region from Vienna, so they feel quite familiar to my Austro-Hungarian ancestry.

    The second, less personal reason is the great mix of the familiar and the new. On the one hand, we have many great familiar pasta, risotto, polenta, and gnocchi recipes from various regions (Note that Friuli and not Rome has the greatest variety of gnocchi recipes). On the other, I find recipes for at least five (5) varieties of fresh pasta (gramigna, bigoli, makaruni, tajarin, and maltagliati) which are unfamiliar to me. Another dimension that separates this from a conventional Italian cookbook is the abundance of recipes for popular Italian ingredients such as organ meats and game.

    The third reason I'm fond of this book is that I have always found Lidia's recipes to be better written and easier to follow than many other restauranteur / chef / authors such as Caggiano and Batali. Her books (and `Molto Italiano') are the first I go to when I want to try a new type of Italian dish, since I have never failed to enjoy the results of following her recipes.

    A potential fourth reason (which I cannot judge, since I never saw her PBS series) is that her books, unlike all the books from the Food Network celebrity hosts, closely follows her broadcast plan. That would make it doubly valuable if you happen to like her shows.

    One last personal impression is that while the book does not give an `in depth' philosophy of the craft of cooking as you get from either Marcella Hazan's `Marcella Says' or the great `Chez Jacques', you are given the sense that cooking is not about these particular recipes, it's all about what you can take away from them and do for yourself. Bastianich clearly states that you simply take what works for you, with no obligation to follow the whole recipe. This is great advice, especially since the subtitle which starts with `140 Simple ... Recipes...' is just a tad misleading, as there are some recipes here which are both labor and time intensive.

    On the other hand, there is nothing here which requires much in the way of fancy equipment. And, Ms. Bastianich has cleverly told us for each recipe what size and shape of special kitchenware we may need. Even better, the list of Internet sources at the back of the book is one of the best I have seen in quite some time, as it gives good sources for items specific to individual recipes. And, it even plugs the very best `latticini' (Italian cheese maker and grocery store) in Manhattan, DiPalo's on Grand Street in Little Italy.
    ...more info
  • delicious, wonderful cookbook
    Lidia's Italy: 140 Simple and Delicious Recipes from the Ten Places in Italy Lidia Loves Most I love this book, not only the recipes but all the information that Lidia's daughter gives. The illustrations are beautiful....more info
  • Lidia is the Queen
    The thing about Lidia's books and cooking show is she actually teaches me something. She tells me about the regional cooking and how to prepare authentic recipes - simple and straight forward. I love that she's not just another celebrity chef. She's the real deal.

    Lidia and Mario Batali are true teachers of their craft. I constantly learn from both of them. ...more info
  • Lidia's Italy is molto bene.
    Lidia Bastianich has again produced an outstanding book of recipes and cultural information, this time touring Italy and matching the regions to their gastronomical differences in food and wine.

    The recipes, though far from simple fare, have such clear directions that you are tempted to eat the page they are printed on!

    If her PBS television program is available in your area, it is great to see her create these recipes in her own kitchen and to hear her comments about the region from which they came....more info
  • I love Lidia!
    Most excellent cookbook! Did you know Lidia once cooked for the Pope? This is a must have for any one who wants to cook genuine Italian food, or is just looking for an awesome cookbook....more info
  • Great Cookbook
    Knew everything I wanted to know checking out the contents of this book at amazon. Great recipes in this book. It arrived in perfect condition. Being on a fixed income, this is a great way to purchase books!
    I will purchase all of my reading material from Amazon....more info
  • All's well
    The book was in excellent condition, was exactly what we wanted and arrived in a timely fashion. Wouldn't hesitate to purchase again. Thanks...more info
  • Great book!
    If you like watching Lidia's show, you'll love this book. The recipes are very earthy and there's a lot more than recipes. She goes into detail about the places in Italy, the history, etc....more info
  • A history lesson within a cookbook
    This book is like a "mini history lesson" about SOME (not all) regions in Italy. And also, this is a cookbook about some of the interesting regional foods mentioned in each Chapter.

    Lidia and her daughter Tanya took a tour of some of their favorite regions in Italy (not ALL regions,but SOME regions), for example: Piedmont, Romagna, etc...

    Then, Lidia and Tanya wrote this book by describing each of the Italian regions visited, broken down into Chapters. Also, at the end of each Chapter (and there are 10 chapters) Tanya ,who has a PHD from Oxford, added her own personal take on the visits to each region, by sub-categorizing many of the "sights" worth visiting.

    Along with the mini history lessons throughout this book, there are many recipes that Lidia has developed, or recipes that Lidia has discovered during her Italian travels.

    I think this is a very "different" Italian cookbook, and not your average Italian cookbook seen in most bookstores. Therefore, if you collect a variety of cookbooks (not only Italian cookbooks, but multi-national cookbooks in general) then this book could be a very nice addition to your library.

    Many of the recipes would be difficult to reproduce because of "difficulty" levels. To me, some of the recipes did not seem "simple" as stated in the title.

    It seems to me that most of the recipes are not for an average or beginner cook. Also, since many of the recipes come from obscure towns that have their own "flavors", I would say that many of the recipes may not appeal to the average taste buds. For example, here are a few recipes that are either too difficult to reproduce by a novice, and/or recipes that would entail an acquired taste:

    ~~Farro with Tuna and Tomatoes, p.333
    ~~Anchovy Garlic Dip,p.141
    ~~Pasta with Anchiovi-Onion Sauce,p.108
    ~~Tiella filling of Octopus with Garlic and Oil, p. 250
    ~~Filet of Wild Boar with Prunes and Apples,p.193
    ~~Cooked Duck Sugo with Pasta,p.183

    On the other hand, there are a few recipes that COULD be duplicated and enjoyed...(although,some of these recipes are quite "common" and are often included in most Italian cookbooks):

    ~~Water Soup, p. p.168
    ~~Asparagus and Rice, p. 11
    ~~Peaches with Almond Crust, p. 118-119
    ~~Tiramisu Limoncello,p. 120
    ~~Chicken Cacciatore,p.301
    ~~Beef Braised in Peppercorns, p. 195
    ~~Braised Pork Chops with Savoy Cabbage, p. 83

    The last thing I should mention is that I would have loved to have seen more photos of the recipes,and especially those recipes that are very unusual.

    All in all,though, I give this book 4 stars because of it's novelty and because of the interesting mini-history lessons scattered throughout.

    ...more info