5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
Lidia Bastianich is an Emmy award-winning television host, best-selling cookbook author, and restaurateur. She has held true to her Italian roots and culture, which she proudly and warmly invites her fans to experience at the Shubert Theatre January 26th.
SD: How did you choose / develop recipes for your new cookbook – “Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine”?
LB: It contains over 400 recipes. This cookbook was a lot of work for me. I choose recipes that are basic for a beginner to some of my best-loved Italian-American recipes. What I love about this cookbook is that I created it with the recipes that are part of my life and tell my cooking story.
SD: What is the one Italian dish everyone should know how to cook?
LB: Everyone should learn how to make a great marinara and bolognese sauce. Any new dish or recipe can be overwhelming the first time. I always recommend making a dish that is easy and straight-forward, like a spaghetti and meatball dish.
SD: What are the most important keys to success for the home cook?
LB: You must understand the product you are going to cook with. Always relate to its seasonality. Cooking is all about the product and the technique that is needed to cook with it. In my new book, I have a dedicated chapter to choosing the best products and the techniques that will be very helpful to all.
SD: Is the one ingredient you can’t live without?
LB: Olive oil! It is the one ingredient that should be found in every kitchen.
SD: What was the first dish you mastered?
LB: I don’t remember exactly, but my best guess would be eggs. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother on her farm and I was always in charge in collecting the eggs and breaking them. She probably taught me how to either scramble or fry them first.