Lidia's Italy in America

by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

Lidia's Italy in America

Hardcover, 359 pages, Random House Inc, List Price: $35 | purchase

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Book Summary

Lidia Bastianich takes her readers on a U.S. roadtrip to visit Italian-American kitchens around the country, where recipes of the ancestors are being adapted to the tastes and appetites of the present day.

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Best Books Of 2011

2011's Best Cookbooks: Revenge Of The Kitchen Nerds

Lidia Bastianich's book — in contrast to Colman Andrews' Country Cooking of Italy — is a treasure trove of crowd-pleasing gutbusters (e.g., Baked Stuffed Shells, Spaghetti With Breaded Shrimp) proudly served at many a 2 p.m. Sunday supper table in the exurbs. Although I believe the two authors may actually be friends, I like to imagine that if you placed Andrews'

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Recipe: 'Spaghetti With Breaded Shrimp'

Spaghetti with Breaded Shrimp (Spaghetti con i Gamberi Impannati)

This dish embodies Chicago Italian style, and although the sauce for the pasta has all the makings of a primavera, the fried shrimp on top is very much Sicilian.

Serves 6

For the shrimp:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

Kosher salt

2 cups fine dry bread crumbs

18 jumbo shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled and deveined, tails on

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 lemon, cut in 6 wedges

For the spaghetti:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 cups small broccoli florets

2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms

1 cup 1-inch pieces asparagus

1 teaspoon kosher salt

pinch peperoncino flakes

1 pound spaghetti

1 bunch scallions, finely chopped

1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Once boiling, slip the spaghetti into the pot, and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, pour the flour into one shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in another, and spread the bread crumbs in a third. Season the shrimp with salt, then dredge them in the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the shrimp in the egg, letting excess drip back into the bowl, then dredge them in the bread crumbs. Set the breaded shrimp aside while you start the pasta sauce.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil in a large skillet oven medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and let sizzle for a minute until fragrant. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, and asparagus and season with the salt and peperoncino. Saute the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until they begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. Ladle in 1/2 cup pasta water, cover the skillet, and let cook until the vegetables are almost tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2-inch vegetable oil in another skillet over medium heat. When the oil is ready (the tip of a shrimp will sizzle on contact), fry the shrimp in 2 batches until crispy and golden, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep the shrimp warm while you finish the pasta.

Once the vegetables in the sauce are almost tender, uncover, and add the scallions and 1 cup pasta water. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until reduced and the vegetables are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

When the pasta is al dente, plop it directly into the sauce. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and toss to melt. Remove from heat and toss with the grated cheese. Serve the pasta in bowls, topping each serving with 3 breaded shrimp. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over the shrimp.

From Lidia's Italy In America by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Copyright 2011 by Tutti a Tavola, LLC. Reprinted with permission of Knopf.

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