ITALIAN-AMERICAN MEAL RECIPES
BY LIDIA BASTIANICH
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
Lidia's Italy in America
(Alfred A. Knopf) ISBN 978-0307595676 0307595676
Lidia Bastianich shares recipes from Italian-Americans living across the USA. Through her descriptions and photos, you meet Italian immigrants and their families who grow, prepare, bake and cook Italian food.
Some of the recipes were handed down by their ancestors. Others originated in Little Italies and Italian communities in America.
The 359-page cookbook is organized by courses in an Italian meal. Many of its 175 recipes (e.g., ricotta and sausage-filled ravioli) come from episodes of Lidia's Italy in America, a PBS TV series cooking show.
Italian-American restaurants contributed recipes to Lidia's book, such as fried marinated artichokes from Liuzza's in New Orleans. Italian bakeries also shared their recipes, like the butter rum cake made by Scialo Bros. Bakery in Providence, Rhode Island.
Italian food in America
At the beginning of each chapter and recipe, Lidia Bastianich introduces you to Italian cheese makers, bakers, deli-owners, chefs, sausage-makers, fishermen, seafood vendors, vegetable-growers, vintners and restaurant-owners, from New Jersey to California. She explains how their Italian-American dishes can be similar to or completely different from the cooking of Italy.
Lidia's Italy in America includes recipes for Italian meals that originated in the USA, such as penne rigate in a vodka sauce, chicken tetrazzini, Chicago deep-dish pizza and lobster fra diavolo.
Mozzarella and macaroni
Lidia's cookbook includes Italian recipes for antipasti (asparagus fritters), pasta (spaghetti with basil pistachio pesto), meat (lamb with roasted peppers), vegetables (spinach with bacon), seafood (shrimp Parmigiana), desserts (almond pine nut cookies) and drinks (homemade limoncello).
Recipes for Italian seasonings in Lidia's Italy in America include wild fennel rub and dry porcini rub.
Chef Lidia tells you about Italians in America who started businesses to provide ingredients for Italian cooking, such as Pittsburgh Macaroni Co. and Mozzarella Company in Dallas.
Italian dish translations
The name for each Italian dish is translated into English (e.g., scarola farcita is translated as stuffed escarole).
Notes and sidebars add kitchen tips, such as boiling vegetables in unsalted water to enhance their flavors before seasoning them with coarse salt after cooking.
Some of Lidia's cooking tricks come from Americans of Italian descent, e.g., Maria Merante Palmiere, from Merante Gifts, in Pittsburgh's Little Italy, adds the skin from half an orange to the top of a coffee pot to flavor coffee as it brews.
Thirty-six color photos by Christopher Hirsheimer and 123 photos by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich depict Italian-Americans, their markets, bakeries, restaurants, shops and fields, as well as delicious dishes prepared from recipes in Lidia's Italy in America. Step-by-step photos show you how to make gnocchi gorgonzola and peas, as well as other traditional Italian recipes.
The book includes a list of Italian clubs and organizations in the USA, e.g., the National Italian-American Foundation (NIAF).
- Cold Antipasti
- Hot Antipasti
Sandwiches & Pizza
Vegetables & Sides
- Rubs, Marinades and Glazes
- Italian Clubs and Organizations in the U.S.
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is the owner of restaurants in NYC, Pittsburgh and Kansas City, host of American Public Television cooking shows and author of several cookbooks.
Tanya Bastianich Manuali is co-author of two cookbooks, with her mother, and co-developer of Lidia's Pasta and Lidia's Sauces. She also co-created Experienze Italy, which offers Italian food, wine and art custom tours.