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Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking

Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking
150 Delicious and Simple Recipes Anyone Can Master
by Lidia Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali
Knopf, 2013

"I hope this book encourages you to use your common sense in cooking," writes TV chef and restauranteur Lidia Bastianich in the introduction to her ninth cookbook. "Don't be afraid to make substitutions. Don't be afraid to add or subtract Don't be afraid of anything when cooking."
Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking

Bastianich makes fearlessness in the kitchen easier with this collection of rather simple recipes with complex and satisfying flavors. The dishes are grouped as appetizers, soups, salads, vegetables, pastas, fish, meats and desserts. In each section there are traditional Italian favorites like Ippoglosso al Forno con Funghi Porcini (Halibut Baked with Mushrooms) and Gnocci di Formaggio (Cheese Gnocchi) as well as some casual innovations like Prosciutto Cotto al Marsala (Ham in Marsala Sauce) or Risotto all'Aglio (Garlic Risotto).

Like four previous cookbooks, this one is a companion to a public television TV series, "Lidia's Kitchen."

Bastianich sums up her commonsense approach to Italian cooking with these words of advice:

“Use local, fresh products; cook with the seasons; recycle rather than waste; make time to join family and friends at the table for a meal; do not forget to cook for yourself; and sit down and enjoy all of the above."

Recipe: Pollo all' Arancia e Olive

Chicken breast with orange and gaeta olives

Just about everyone loves chicken breast. It is one of the most Googled terms in recipe searches. I also love this recipe when it's done with drumsticks. If you decide to do that, make sure to double the wine and increase the cooking time until the chicken is done.

2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced chicken cutlets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
All- purpose flour, for dredging
1 large red onion, sliced
1 cup pitted Gaeta or Kalamata olives, halved
Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon fennel powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian Parsley

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and lightly dredge it in flour. Lightly brown the chicken in the skillet (you want the chicken to end up with a blond- colored crust) on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cook the chicken in batches if necessary, depending on the size of your skillet. Remove pieces to a plate as they color.

Pollo all' Arancia e Olive (photo by Marcus Nilsson)

Once the chicken is colored, add the butter and onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the olives, orange juice and zest, white wine, and fennel powder. Put chicken back in the skillet, and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce coats the chicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with remaining salt, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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Best of Lidia: Pasta


Charcuterie Gift Board with Knife and Cooler
Charcuterie Gift Board with Knife and Cooler


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