11th Day of Christmas: Give Lidia Bastianich’s Cookbook

"Lidia's Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine" is perfect for anyone passionate about Italian cooking.

This article, written by Bill Daley, appears on Chicago Tribune.

Lidia Bastianich’s new book tells you how to be a great Italian cook

635804213552672813-Lidia-s-Mastering-the-Art“Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine” (Knopf, $37.50) promises right on its cover to provide “everything you need to know to be a great Italian cook.” The Lidia in question, Italian cooking authority Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, goes all-out to deliver, offering more than 400 recipes covering all types of Italian food, from appetizers to desserts, simple to challenging.

Buttressing the recipes are detailed, often-lively notes on ingredients, cooking techniques and Italian culture, so that you’ll come away knowing how to gauge the freshness of an artichoke (it should squeak when squeezed), how to make a delicious simple cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) pasta dish for “days when you need simplicity in your life but still want a wallop of flavor”; and how to tell a trattoria from an osteria in Italy (the former has tablecloths and service; the latter is more informal with no linens and often has shared tables).

“This is information that makes you really understand how and why you cook, and techniques and all of that. It is my comprehensive philosophy of Italian cooking,” said Bastianich. The book is loaded with the advice, the tricks, the discoveries gathered over her 40-plus years as a restaurateur, television cooking show star, entrepreneur and author.

“They make a person a better cook,” she said. Read more on Chicago Tribune.

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