Lidia’s Italy in America by Lidia Bastianich. Okay so this is not really Italian cooking. Anyone who has had a Primanti Brothers Sandwich in Pittsburgh and a Panini in Italy knows there is nothing remotely Italian about a Primanti Brothers Sandwich. Italians may eat patate fritte, but they don’t put them on their sandwich.
What this book does have is recipes for the foods that many of us consider to be comfort food. Oh and by the way, don’t knock french fries on your sandwich until you have tried them.
After taking us on journeys into her own kitchen and into kitchens across Italy, Lidia Bastianich now invites us on a road trip into the heart of Italian American cooking today. Traveling around the United States, Lidia visits Italian American communities that created something new out of the recipes passed down from their ancestors.
As she explores this utterly delectable and distinctive cuisine, Lidia shows us that every kitchen is different, every Italian community distinct, and little clues are buried in each dish: the Sicilian-style semolina bread and briny olives in New Orleans Muffuletta Sandwiches, the Neapolitan crust of New York pizza, and mushrooms (abundant in the United States, but scarce in Italy) stuffed with breadcrumbs, just as peppers or tomatoes are. Lidia shows us how this cuisine is an original American creation that redefines what we know as Italian food while always paying tribute to Italy, and she gives recognition where it is long overdue to the many industrious Italians across the country who have honored the traditions of their homeland in a delicious new style.
And of course, there are Lidia’s irresistible recipes, including
• Baltimore Crab Cakes
• Pittsburgh’s Primanti’s Sandwiches
• Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza
• Eggplant Parmigiana from the Bronx
• Gloucester Baked Halibut
• Chicken Trombino from Philadelphia
• authentic Italian American Meatloaf, and Spaghetti and Meatballs
• Prickly Pear Granita from California
• and, of course, a handful of cheesecakes and cookies that you’d recognize in any classic Italian bakery
This is a loving exploration of a fascinating cuisine—as only Lidia could give us.