Lidia's Family Table

Lidia's Family Table

Book - 2004
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From one of America best-loved and most-admired chefs, an instructive and creative collection of over 200 recipes that bring simple, delicious Italian cooking to the family table, with imaginative ideas for variations and improvisations.

Lidia's Family Table features hundreds of fabulous new dishes that will appeal both to Lidia's loyal following, who have come to rely on her wonderfully detailed recipes, and to the more adventurous cook ready to experiment.

* She welcomes us to the table with tasty bites from the sea (including home-cured tuna and mackerel), seasonal salads, and vegetable surprises (Egg-Battered Zucchini Roll-Ups, Sweet Onion Gratinate ).

* She reveals the secret of simple make-ahead soup bases, delicious on their own and easy to embellish for a scrumptious soup that can make a meal.

* She opens up the wonderful world of pasta, playing with different shapes, mixing and matching, and creating sauces while the pasta boils; she teaches us to make fresh egg pastas, experimenting with healthful ingredients-whole wheat, chestnut, buckwheat, and barley. And she makes us understand the subtle arts of polenta- and risotto-making as never before.

* She shares her love of vegetables, skillet-cooking some to intensify their flavor, layering some with yesterday's bread for a lasagna-like gratin, blanketing a scallop of meat with sautéed vegetables, and finishing seasonal greens with the perfect little sauce.

* She introduces us to some lesser-known cuts of meats for main courses (shoulders, butts, and tongue) and underused, delicious fish (skate and monkfish), as well as to her family's favorite recipes for chicken and a beautiful balsamic-glazed roast turkey.

* And she explores with us the many ways fruits and crusts (pie, strudel, cake, and toasted bread) marry and produce delectable homey desserts to end the meal.

Lidia's warm presence is felt on every page of this book, explaining the whys and wherefores of what she is doing, and the brilliant photographs take us right into her home, showing her rolling out pasta with her grandchildren, bringing in the summer harvest, and sitting around the food-laden family table. As she makes every meal a celebration, she invites us to do the same, giving us confidence and joy in the act of cooking.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781400040353
1400040353
Characteristics: xxiv, 419 p. : col. ill. ; 24 cm.

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VaughanPLGraeme Oct 31, 2019

This cookbook is so much more than a collection of recipes. I own two of Lidia Bastianich's cookbooks and have borrowed two or three others from the library and this is definitely my favourite.

This book has a great section with very detailed instructions on how to make fresh pasta. I particularly like that it explains how to make the pasta in a variety of ways, depending on what equipment you have (making the dough either by hand or in a food processor and rolling out the dough with a pasta machine or just with a rolling pin). This section actually has three different pasta dough recipes with different amounts of egg yolks, whole eggs, and olive oil and explains when you might use each (for example, pasta with fewer egg yolks and more olive oil is recommended for making filled pastas like ravioli). I’ve made fresh pasta following these instructions twice and it turned out well both times.

For anyone that grows tomatoes at home and wants to make a big batch of sauce, there’s a section with detailed instructions on how to efficiently process large amounts of fresh tomatoes.

There is also an excellent section on how to make risotto that explains not just how to do it, but why each step is important and what to pay attention to at each stage. At the end of this section it describes how to incorporate a variety of different ingredients into the basic risotto recipe. The mushroom risotto I made following these instructions turned out quite well.

To me, these longer sections of instructions and tips for making fresh pasta and risotto (as well as polenta, gnocchi, strudel, and more) are what make this book unique, but I've tried several of the more typical recipes in the book and had good results with them as well. The spicy tomato sauce made with bacon and pickled hot peppers in particular is really good.

Overall, I really recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about Italian cooking.

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