Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party

Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party

by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Tanya Bastianich Manuali


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The beloved TV chef offers the only cookbook you'll need to give any gathering—from a dinner for two to a wedding—a delectable, welcoming Italian flavor.

No one throws a party like Lidia Bastianich! And now, in this delightful new cookbook, she gives us 220 fantastic recipes for entertaining with that distinctly Bastianich flare. From Pear Bellinis to Carrot and Chickpea Dip, from Campanelle with Fennel and Shrimp to Berry Tiramisu—these are dishes your guests will love, no matter the occasion. Here, too, are Lidia's suggestions for hosting a BBQ, making pizza for a group, choosing the perfect wine, setting an inviting table, and much more. Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color photographs and filled with her trademark warmth and enthusiasm, this is Lidia's most festive book. Whether you're planning a romantic picnic for two, a child's birthday party, a holiday gathering, or a simple weeknight family dinner, Lidia's flavorful, easy-to-follow recipes and advice will have you calling to your guests: "Tutti a tavola a mangiare!"

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385349482
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/17/2017
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 24,492
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

LIDIA MATTICCHIO BASTIANICH is the author of 11 previous cookbooks and the Emmy award-winning host of Public Television's Lidia's Kitchen. She owns four acclaimed restaurants in New York including Felidia, Becco, Esca, and Del Posto, as well as Lidia's Pittsburgh and Lidia's Kansas City, co-owned with her daughter, Tanya. She is also a partner in the acclaimed Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world, in New York, Chicago, Boston, and São Paulo, and with a store opening in Los Angeles in 2017. Lidia is the founder and president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment company that produces high quality broadcast productions and she also has a line of pastas and all natural sauces called LIDIA'S. She lives on Long Island, New York.

TANYA BASTIANICH MANUALI is integrally involved in the production of Lidia's Public Television series as an owner and executive producer of Tavola Productions, and is active daily in the family restaurant business. She oversees the production and expansion of LIDIA'S food line alongside her husband, Corrado, and has coauthored six cookbooks with her mother, and one with her brother, Joe. She lives on Long Island, New York.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Planning a Party? Where to Start

The first thing to decide when planning an event is what type of party you want to throw. A major determining factor is the number of guests you are expecting and what kind of space you have available; the significance of the event and the budget are also important deciding elements. Will it be a family-style dinner, or a seated and plated meal? Or is it something more casual, with buffet service or perhaps an outdoor barbecue? You also need to take into consideration the time you have to prepare for the event, and whether or not you will have help making and serving the food and drinks. And do not forget the clean-up part; make sure you have planned for some help or allotted enough time for yourself. Make a list of the equipment, plates, utensils, and glasses needed. Do you have enough? Will you need to rent some, or will you use disposable versions? Do you have enough platters, glasses, silverware, and so on to make everything look fabulous?

Choose your table decorations wisely. I like to go back to nature and pick flowers, branches, and herbs from my garden to decorate the tables and the space. Also, you should make a rough plan or rendering of the space available and place the tables, chairs, and service stations appropriately. Do you have enough tables and chairs, or will you need to rent some of those as well? Do not crowd the buffet dishes all on one side, but distribute them evenly around, so people will not be crowded into one area of service.

If you’re entertaining on a larger scale, you must figure out the right quantities of food and beverage so that everyone has enough. You do not want to run out, but you do not want to go overboard, either—having too much just makes extra work and wastes food. You can really think it through carefully, down to deciding an approximate amount of stuzzichini per head or planning for a half-bottle of wine per person.

When it comes time to serve the food for a buffet, do not put it all out at one time. Divide it, and keep some aside to refresh the stuzzichini or buffet table if that is what you have chosen to do.

Once you have determined most of the above elements, you can begin to plan your menu. I find it best to vary the dishes to keep things manageable. If you are going to be serving an entrée that takes time to prepare and is a bit more costly, then maybe decide on a less expensive vegetable-based antipasto that can be made ahead of time to start. You should also consider planning your dishes based on the cooking method, so you do not end up with an oven or stove that is too crowded or unmanageable. Divide the menu by serving some salads or cold foods that can be prepared in advance, and some side dishes that can be served at room temperature or reheated fast.

If you are going to be garnishing your dishes, use items that are complementary to the recipes, such as produce or herbs you used to cook. It is also a good idea to have some “user-friendly” dishes: even if you are an adventurous cook and eater, not all of your guests may be as out there as you. Always mix some guaranteed ­crowd-pleasers—salads and pasta are a safe bet—in with your more ambitious dishes, so no one goes hungry and everyone leaves satisfied and happy.

And never forget the grand finale, dessert. Italian desserts are much less complicated and certainly less sweet than American ones. Beautiful fruit in season; dolce al cucchiaio, a dessert that is creamy and soft and usually eaten with a spoon, which can be prepared a day in advance; or some biscotti, cioccolatini, and good espresso are all you need to triumph in the end. For that extra Italian touch, bring out the amaro, a bitter after-dinner drink, and the grappa. The more you plan ahead, the more effortless your Italian-style meal will be.


An opener to festivities, an aperitivo, can be a cocktail made with hard liquors such as gin or vodka, or a service of sparkling wines, such as champagne or prosecco. More often than not, at the beginning of an Italian dinner party or cocktail party an aperitivo is made with softer, gentler liquors, such as Aperol or Campari, to which prosecco, wine, juices, or amaro can be added. These are drinks meant to “open the appetite,” or wake up your palate, and prepare you for the meal to come. But to invite someone for an aperitivo in Italy could simply be a social invitation to get together without a meal to follow. The tradition of going out for an aperitivo prior to eating is still quite strong in Italy, and some bars serve elaborate finger foods during the aperitivo time slot prior to dinner, usually starting somewhere around 7:00 p.m. And, more often than not, these elaborate aperitivo settings, which are usually short, can turn into the perfect Italian all-night cocktail party. To pull this off at home, put together some drinks from this chapter along with a nice selection of food from the appetizers chapter and ecco là, you are all set for an Italian-style cocktail party to celebrate important events like a birthday, graduation, or retirement. To make it really Italian, put on some Pavarotti, Bocelli, or Lucio Battisti to set the mood. You should also complement your cocktails with the bounty of the season. Dress your aperitivo with spring herbs such as mint and basil, especially if you will be entertaining on a terrace outside. Or get into the citrus family with lemons, tangerines, blood oranges, and bergamot for the holiday season.

Aperol Spritz
A spritz is a light drink in which club soda or seltzer water is added to a liqueur or wine or a combination of both. Light in taste and alcohol, and quite refreshing, it is also easy to scale up and serve in larger quantities in a pitcher. You can stir together the Aperol and white wine and chill them ahead of time, but add the club soda at the last minute. The orange-flavored element is essential, so if you do make a batch of it make sure you add orange slices to the pitcher.
Makes 1 cocktail

Ice cubes
2 ounces Aperol
1 cup dry white wine, chilled
Club soda, chilled
Orange slice, for garnish

Fill a white wine glass halfway with ice. Add the Aperol and white wine, and stir. Pour in club soda (up to ½ cup) to top off the glass.

Garnish the side of the glass with the orange slice, and serve.

Aperol Veneziano
This is a very refreshing and festive apéritif. The club soda makes it lighter in alcohol, but it is also delicious with just Aperol and prosecco. Do not forget the orange slice.
Makes 1 cocktail

Ice cubes
2 ounces Aperol
1 cup chilled prosecco
Club soda, chilled
Orange slice, for garnish

Fill a white wine glass halfway with ice. Add the Aperol and prosecco, and stir. Pour in club soda (up to ¼ cup) to top off the glass.

Garnish the side of the glass with an orange slice, and serve.

Campari and Soda
I like to serve this refreshing apéritif in a tall highball glass, with some ice cubes and an orange slice or an orange or lemon peel.
Makes 1 cocktail

Ice cubes
3 ounces Campari
¾ cup club soda, chilled
Orange slice, or orange or lemon peel, for garnish

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add the Campari, and top with the chilled club soda. Stir.

Garnish the side of the glass with an orange slice, and serve each drink with a stirrer so your guests can mix the drink well.

Campari Americano
The recipe here is for the original Americano, but I sometimes like serving it in a highball glass with more club soda added.
Makes 1 cocktail

Ice cubes
2 ounces Campari
1 ounce Cinzano Rosso vermouth
Club soda, chilled, to taste
Strip of orange peel, for garnish

Fill a rocks glass or an Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes. Add the Campari and Cinzano Rosso. Top with a splash of club soda, and stir.

Twist the orange peel over the top of the glass, drop it in, and serve.

Fragolì Prosecco
Fragolì is a sweet liqueur made with alcohol-infused wild strawberries. It can also be mixed with ginger ale instead of prosecco for a less alcoholic but much sweeter version of this drink. And it is good poured over vanilla ice cream for a quick dessert. It is bright red and sweet, with an intense strawberry flavor. Other flavorful fruit liqueurs can be substituted, such as peach liqueur, banana liqueur, or limoncello.
Makes 1 cocktail

1 ounce Fragolì (strawberry liqueur)
Prosecco, chilled
2 small strawberries, halved

Pour the Fragolì into a champagne flute, and fill the flute with prosecco. Stir.

Thread the strawberries onto a plastic pick, place in the drink, and serve.

Fragolì Daiquiri
To give a new, fruity twist to a standard daiquiri, try adding Fragolì, fresh strawberries, and, to balance the sweetness, some simple syrup. To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water, and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Cool completely, and chill. Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a week or so, tightly covered, and can be used in a number of cocktails or to sweeten iced tea or iced coffee.
Makes 1 cocktail

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 ounce chilled simple syrup (see headnote)
2 medium strawberries, stemmed and chopped, plus 2 whole strawberries halved for garnish
4 fresh basil leaves
2 ounces Fragolì (strawberry liqueur)
About 6 ounces prosecco, chilled

Chill a highball glass in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

In the highball glass, combine the lime juice, simple syrup, chopped strawberries, and basil. With a muddler (or use the back of a spoon), crush and press the berries to make a chunky purée and bruise the basil leaves. Remove the basil and discard.

Add the Fragolì, and pour in prosecco to fill the glass. Thread the halved strawberries on a plastic pick, place this in the drink, and serve.

This is a classic Negroni. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can also just stir all of the ingredients together in the glass. Negroni can be served on the rocks, as in this recipe, but it also makes for a very elegant drink when served straight up in a chilled martini glass.
Makes 1 cocktail

Ice cubes
1 ounce gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Cinzano Rosso vermouth
Strip of orange peel, for garnish

Chill a rocks glass or an Old Fashioned glass in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the gin, Campari, and Cinzano Rosso. Shake to combine. Pour over fresh ice in the chilled glass.

Twist the orange peel over the top of the glass, drop it in, and serve.

Vodka all’Aceto Cocktail
On its own, the vinegar syrup makes a refreshing nonalcoholic drink—just add more club soda. With vodka, it’s a perfect summer cocktail.
Makes 6 cocktails

Vinegar Syrup
2 cups red wine vinegar
½ cup honey

Ice cubes
Vodka (optional)
Club soda, chilled

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and honey. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to a syrup that coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. You should have about ¾ cup syrup. (This is enough for three or four drinks.) Let the syrup cool completely.

For each drink, fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add 2 tablespoons syrup and 1 ounce vodka (if using), and stir. Add club soda to fill the glass, about 1 cup, and stir again.

Pear Bellini
The recipe for the pear purée makes about 1½ cups, enough for about eight cocktails, but if you have any left over it will keep in the refrigerator for several days, or can be frozen. The purée can also be made with peaches or apricots.
Makes purée for 8 Bellinis

Pear Purée
3 ripe medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Prosecco, chilled
A strip of candied ginger, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the pears, sugar, lemon juice, and 2 cups water. Simmer until the pears are very tender, about 20 minutes. When it is cooled, purée the mixture in a blender, then chill.

For each Bellini, pour 1 ounce purée into a champagne flute and fill the flute with prosecco. Stir, drop in a piece of candied ginger, and serve.

Amaro Bellini
A Bellini is usually a somewhat fruity, bubbly, sweet apéritif, but here I give it a bitter twist with some amaro, a bitter liqueur usually served as a digestif at the end of a meal.
Makes 1 cocktail

2 sugar cubes
About 2 teaspoons amaro, to soak the cubes
Prosecco, chilled
Strip of orange peel, for garnish

Drop the sugar cubes into a champagne flute, and pour amaro over them to soak them. Let sit a few minutes.

Fill the flute with prosecco. Twist the orange peel over the flute, drop it in, and serve.

Limoncello Martini
If you are a martini drinker, there is nothing like a dry straight-up martini with an olive, but today martinis are found in many different renditions. I do like the apple martini, but for a more Italian drink, here is a limoncello martini with a daiquiri presentation.
Makes 1 cocktail

Kosher salt, for rimming the glass
½ lemon
Ice cubes
1½ ounces limoncello
1½ ounces vodka
4 fresh basil leaves

Spread a layer of salt in a saucer. Rub the rim of a martini glass with the cut side of the lemon half. Lightly dip the rim of the glass in the salt, to coat.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the limoncello and vodka, roughly tear the basil leaves, and add. Shake vigorously.

Strain the mixture through the shaker into the prepared glass, and serve.

This cocktail swaps rye (or bourbon, if you prefer) for the gin in a traditional Negroni, ­making it an ideal choice in cooler months.
Makes 1 cocktail

Ice cubes
1 ounce rye or bourbon
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Cinzano Rosso vermouth
Strip of orange peel, for garnish
Chill a rocks glass or an Old Fashioned glass in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the rye, Campari, and Cinzano Rosso. Shake to combine. Strain into the chilled glass.

Twist the orange peel over the top of the glass, drop it in, and serve.

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