Lidia’s Italy has been part of my collection of cookbooks for a few years now, and is one of the Italian recipe books I use more often, especially for those special occasions, when I want a real taste of my country. Recipes and instructions are generally easy to follow, and the graphic work is great.
The diverse selection of recipes takes the reader on a journey through some of the most beautiful areas of Italy, from Sicily to Puglia, Rome, Naples, Tuscany, Padua and the whole North East of Italy, including Istria, the land where she was born, now part of Croatia. Each chapter includes a rundown of the grand culinary traditions of these areas, as well as their art, architecture and local culture, told in small summaries called “Tanya’s Tour”, by Lidia’s daughter Tanya Bastianich Manuali.
Some of the recipes included in Lidia’s Italy will please the audience of the Italian food lovers’ at large, bringing new homemade cooking inspiration, both for special occasions and everyday menus. Try the Beans and Sausage with Polenta, the Fennel and Orange Salad, or the Tuscan Meat and Tomato Ragů and even the Stuffed Escarole. These are simple and original Italian recipes that will make your family and guests happy to be at your table any time.
As Lidia says in her introduction, some other of the Italian recipes presented in the book are “more strictly traditional and demanding”. For this reason, they might result more interesting for cooks who like the adventure of new gourmet territories, and for those – like me – who share with Lidia irreplaceable memories, including flavors and tastes, of their life in Italy before moving in another country. These recipes may look at first more sophisticated or just less easy to prepare, because of the non ordinary variety or ingredients. However, Baked Radicchio, Truffle Risotto, Seafood Brodetto with Couscous or Fettuccine with Tomato and Chicken Liver Sauce are recipes not difficult to prepare, and the final product will be rewarding.
Finally, all the Italian recipes chosen by Lidia Bastianich reflect the spirit of this cookbook and its title: Lidia’s Italy, that Italy which is not found in glitzy television food shows or fancy travel magazines, but never the less, is true Italy she loves and wants you to know. And she knows you’ll like it.
The book Lidia's Italy: 140 Simple and Delicious Recipes from the Ten Places in Italy Lidia Loves Most is available online at Amazon.com.
Note: this book is part of my own personal cookbooks and I was not compensated by the publisher for this review.