In emotionally distressing times, a home-cooked meal often provides comfort when needed most. But as most people limit their grocery store trips as a result of the coronavirus, fresh ingredients may be more difficult to come by.
That's why renowned chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich has been posting simple meals she's calling, #PantryRecipes on Instagram. All the dishes are made up of just a handful of ingredients most people might already have on the shelf, such as rice and pasta.
“Rice, you can make a risotto, in all of the soups — you can boil rice and serve it next to a vegetable with a protein. Rice is endless, us Italians use a lot of rice,” Bastianich, host of the long-running PBS show, Lidia’s Kitchen, told Emily Rooney on WGBH News’ Greater Boston Thursday.
And when it comes to vegetables, Bastianich said to go the frozen route.
“Green vegetables everyone loves, but they’re always hard to maintain. Frozen vegetables are perfectly fine. Frozen peas, frozen fava, frozen broccoli stems — perfectly fine,” she said.
After that, Bastianich said the next best thing is to stock up on is dried legumes. If you can’t find them in-store, she said try ordering them online.
“Yesterday, I made three pounds of split pea soup…. Beans, dried beans, lentils — these are great things to have in your cupboard,” she said.
For those worried about gaining weight or eating things they normally wouldn’t during this time, Bastianich said don’t.
“Food is a common denominator to all of us. No matter where you are on this earth, we all eat…. So, we all revert to that comfort that gives us security that we’re going to continue to live,” she said. “Food is a way of communicating, of showing emotion, of showing you care, of sharing love. Food is a medium like no other.”