cover image Lidia's Italian Table: More Than 200 Recipes from the First Lady of Italian Cooking

Lidia's Italian Table: More Than 200 Recipes from the First Lady of Italian Cooking

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. Morrow Cookbooks, $30 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15410-3

Manhattan restaurateur Bastianich (La Cucina di Lidia, 1990) brings an infectious exuberance to this tie-in to a 26-part PBS series starting in September. While not breaking new ground, she presents an enticing selection of favorite dishes combining traditional flavors with simple gusto. Appetizers include Braised Peppers with Anchovies and Buffalo Mozzarella Poached in Tomato-Basil Sauce. The signature dish Frico, a Friulian specialty of Montasio cheese cooked in a skillet until it melts and crispens, that gave the name to FricoBar, the restaurant run by Bastianich's son Joseph, takes a place of honor here, served either alone or with a savory like Potato and Crabmeat Filling. Bread soups, fresh pastas with sauces, dried pastas and their appropriate sauces stir both the appetite and longings for a time when good taste was valued over trendiness. Rice dishes include the classic Creamy Risotto Milanese Style, golden with saffron, and, from the Piedmonte, Risotto with Barolo Wine on a Bed of Carrot Puree. Meats and fish range from Roasted Guinea Hen with Balsamic Glaze to Veal Ossobuco with Barley Risotto and Red Grouper in White Sauce Served with a Side Dish of Pasta. Nestled within dessert recipes for tarts and semifreddoes is Caramelized Tomatoes, an unusual topping for vanilla ice cream. This is a most worthy addition to the crammed Italian cookbook shelf. Editor, Pam Hoenig; agent, Jane Dystel. BOMC/Good Cook selection. (Sept.)