Kitchen, Tools & Tips

Tips for Using Olive Oil
By Lidia Bastianich

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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I hear it from you out there all the time: I love it, but how do I use it? Here are my tips for how to best use olive oil.

1. Extra virgin olive oil is best when used in its raw form—to drizzle on salads and before serving a bowl of soup or pasta.

2. Do not use olive oil for frying, canola or vegetable oil is best for that, but you can add a little olive oil to the pan for flavor.

3. When cooking or sautéing, use olive oil, but keep the heat at a low temperature. Olive oil has a low smoking point.

4. Olive oil is a great antioxidant for your body when ingested.

5. To prevent oxidation or rancidity, store olive oil in full, small bottles, tightly shut in a dark and cool place.

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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44."

Cooking Perfect Pasta
By Lidia Bastianich

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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Do not — I repeat, do not — add oil to your pasta cooking water! And that’s an order! Follow my 10 pasta commandments, and you will make a great bowl of pasta that rivals the delicious pastas at Becco, one of our New York City restaurants.

1. Cook the pasta in abundantly salted water.

2. And again, do not add oil to the pasta cooking water.

3. Add the pasta all at once to the boiling water so it cooks evenly.

4. Drain the pasta, but do not — do not! — rinse the pasta.

5. Once drained, add the pasta to the sauce and let the two cook together for about 1 minute.

6. Dressed pasta should be flowing — never sticky or soupy.

7. With the fire off, stir in grated cheese, right before you plate it.

8. To keep pasta nice and hot, serve it in a shallow, warm bowl.

9. For that extra touch, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil at the end.

10.  Finally — you deserve it now — pour yourself a delicious glass of Tuscan red wine like Morellino La Mozza. And cin cin to you!

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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44

Herbs
By Lidia Bastianich

Monday, August 9, 2010
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Wake up and smell the herbs!

Herbs are one of the quickest and healthiest ways to impart flavor to any dish. They release their fresh flavor when cooked in a dish and then help to reinforce that flavor when added to a dish.

Don’t be afraid to use herbs during cooking or as a way to finish any dish, and if you have any herbs left over, here is a great tip that I also share in my cookbook, Lidia’s Family Table. It will allow you to keep your herbs fresh and usable all year long.

—Divide the fresh herbs in an ice cube trays with deep cubicles.

—Pour cold water to cover the herbs and put in the freezer to freeze.

—The herbs and their flavors will remain embedded in the ice and great for plopping into any drink, or perking up any sauce or soup!

—You now have cubed your herbs for year round use!

To keep these herb “rocks” fresh all year long, seal them in a plastic storage bag and keep them in the freezer.
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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44."

Italian-Style Corn
Lidia Bastianich

Monday, August 9, 2010
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America loves and is obsessed with corn, and I happen to have an Italian-American love affair with corn! When it’s in season, we do wild things with it on the menu at Felidia, my flagship restaurant in New York City.

I know you grill it, in and out of the husk, or boil it and simply dress with butter and salt.

But for an alternative, when a delicious pot of tomato sauce is perking on your stove, try plopping in some sweet ears of corn. The sauce will be sweeter and the ear of corn, tangier.

Directions
Just shuck the corn
Remove all the silk and rinse the ears
Drop them in the pot of tomato sauce
It’s in and out — 2 minutes will do

And what you’ve got is a delicious new way of eating corn, Italian style!

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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44.

Grilled Peppers
By Lidia Bastianich

Monday, August 9, 2010
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Peter Piper picked a peck of…delicious peppers!

When you go shopping at your local reputable market, get yourself some peppers especially when they are in season. They are delicious, colorful, plentiful, nutritious, and usually inexpensive in the summertime! So what do I do with them, you ask me? It’s simple!

Directions
Grill whole peppers over an open flame, turning periodically until all of the skin blisters.

Set them in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap and let cool.

Peel and scrape off all of the skin under gently running water. Remove the stems and seeds.

Take these delicious morsels and put them in a casserole dish with sliced garlic, olive oil, salt, and fresh or dry oregano. Let steep for half an hour, and when you are ready to serve, add a drizzle of vinegar.

Serve these delicious peppers like we do at my Lidia’s restaurants, as an appetizer, side dish, or sandwich stuffer. Now go pick your peppers!

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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44.

Smell Your Herbs
By Lidia Bastianich

Friday, August 6, 2010
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Wake up and smell your herbs.

Fresh herbs are simply wonderful. The use of fresh herbs has exploded in the American kitchen today. I recall that as a young apprentice in Italy at my aunt’s apron strings, for every herb we had in the garden there was a pot on the stove to match.

Some herbs are better to cook with, while others were better added at the end to finish a dish. For example rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme are mostly used in long cooking where their oils are extracted slowly.

Meanwhile sage, oregano, and marjoram need very little cooking time. And herbs such as basil, parsley, and mint are great to toss in at the end—just enough to release their refreshing aromas.

And if you have small children, a wonderful way to introduce them to these aromas is to gently crush the herbs in your hands and let them smell it.

I always did this with my children and grandchildren when they were very small. It’s a great way to get them excited about the world of herbs and food at an early age.

At New York’s Felidia and Becco in New York and Lidia’s Kansas City and Pittsburgh we actually do spring herb menus where all these wonderful ingredients are used.

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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44.

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