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Lidia's Family Table: More Than 200 Fabulous Recipes to Enjoy Every Day-With Wonderful Ideas for Variations and Improvisations Hardcover – November 23, 2004


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Lidia's Family Table: More Than 200 Fabulous Recipes to Enjoy Every Day-With Wonderful Ideas for Variations and Improvisations + Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen + Lidia's Italian Table: More Than 200 Recipes From The First Lady Of Italian Cooking
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (November 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400040353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400040353
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Warm and calmly authoritative, Lidia Bastianich has won the trust of many cooks, who also devour her TV shows and books including Lidia's Italian Table and Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen. Lidia's Family Table also presents homey Italian fare--savory dishes like Cauliflower Soup with Poached Garlic Purée; Potato, Leek, and Bacon Ravioli; Skillet Green Beans with Gorgonzola; and Grilled Tuna Rollatini Under Tomato-Lemon Marinade--over 200 recipes in all. But Family Table is equally about technique; readers will find it crammed with instructive asides like "Using 'Pasta Water' to Make a Quick Sauce" (the water's starchiness can add body to sauces) and "Reduced Wine Vinegar for Vegetables" (heat-concentrated vinegar makes a deliciously mellow seasoning).

But the teaching doesn't stop there. Bastianich's discussions of risotto and polenta are particularly good (when preparing risotto, for example, the liquid must simmer for the dish to become properly toothsome), while a section on quick skillet sauces, like one made with sausage, onions, and fennel, will get many readers to the kitchen pronto. Bastianich also offers advice for preparing lesser-known yet attractive meat cuts like shoulder and butt, as well as quick-take recipes for the likes of whole corn cooked in tomato sauce and eggplant with scrambled eggs. The Bastianich approach also applies to the dessert section, which offers simple fruit-based sweets like Fig Focaccia, and Crostata with Poached Apricots and Pignolala. (Included, too, are a number of simple strudel recipes, a bow to the cooking of Istria, Bastianich's birthplace.) Color photos make succinct technical points as well as showing Lidia's extended family at table and very much in action. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Fans will appreciate this companion book to Bastianich's latest PBS series of the same name (after Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen), and it may win her some new admirers as well. It presents the food Bastianich prepares at home for her large family (which includes children, grandchildren, siblings and her 80-plus-year-old mother and her companion, who live upstairs), but it's also proof that home cooking need not be oversimplified, with plenty of projects for those who relish a challenge. There are also many photographic illustrations offering gentle guidance to readers attempting Grilled Tuna Rollatini under Tomato-Lemon Marinade, or Pasticciata Bolognese. Elegant recipes, such as Fresh Pear and Pecorino Ravioli, are sprinkled throughout, but the majority are for hearty dishes that lend themselves to serving family-style, like Zucchini and Country Bread Lasagna with day-old bread in place of pasta and Braised Beef Shoulder Roast with Venetian Spice, which incorporates cinnamon and coffee beans. As testament to both Bastianich's creativity and the endless supply of good food from Italy, there are authentic, unusual treasures here, like Riso Sartù, which packs risotto into molds for individual towers. Bastianich is also generous with clever tips and brainstorms: Why not use poached garlic purée for those with delicate digestion, or poach corn on the cob in tomato sauce? The range is impressive, the flavors strong. It's enough to make readers clamor to be adopted into the Bastianich clan. 85 color photos.
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Customer Reviews

Thanks Lidia...you rock!!!
Julia Marr
If you like Italian food this is a great book to have in your collection.
C. Ojeda
Recipes are very well presented, easy to follow.
Katherine Douglas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 200 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
`Lidia's Family Table' is Lidia Matticchio Bastianich' fourth book and probably the 826th book on Italian cuisine published in English in the last 50 years. The book fully comes up to expectations of quality, given the very experienced team of Bastianich, editor Judith Jones, and publisher Alfred A. Knopf. So, why do we want to add another book on Italian cuisine, this book, to our collection?

The first part of the answer is that the book follows in the footsteps of Jacques Pepin's latest book where a prominent culinary writer / educator is writing about what they cook at home. And, they write about it in a way that makes it exceptionally useful for the amateur home cook. This means the book may be more useful to us than the first, a study of the cooking heritage of northeastern Italy based in Bastianich' homeland of Istria, near Trieste and Venice. Or the second, which is Lidia's survey of Italian cooking in general, or her third, which is her survey of `Italian-American' cuisine. Since reviewing this third book, I have read and reviewed several other books on `Italian-American' cuisine and I find Bastianich' work to easily lead the pack in overall quality of recipes.

Our current subject does not bill itself as `easy' or `fast' cooking, only as 'everyday cooking at home'. This seems to be a much more satisfying and realistic target for an author of good recipes. Since the fast cooking cookbook field is so crowded and so well dominated by Rachael Ray, why not do what you know best rather than trying to buy into a trend. This book is also not billed as being authentic anything. While a really excellent implementation of Italian cooking principles, there is no claim that these recipes come from anywhere but Ms. Bastianich' own imagination.
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111 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Krandall Kraus on August 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Lidia's book is a truly wonderful cookbook. And, because she cleverly doesn't give you any amounts for ingredients on her PBS cooking show, Lidia's Family Table, you practically need this book to make any of those recipes. The photos are also a tremendous help. How wonderful to actually see pasta being made or a lasgne taking shape step by step. This book is worth every cent. Another reviewer says it is a book of true northern or northeastern Italian cooking. I would have to disagree only slightly. There are some strong central and southern influences here, especially in recipes like the pasta and the risotta, where she adds olive oil rather than only butter. It's a minor thing, but for those of us who come from northern Italia we notice the flavor immediately in such a dish. Risotta with olive oile is a totally different experience than risotta with butter.

For a book that is still the "bible" of Italian cooking, I would refer you to Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Italian Cooking", a combination of two earlier books (The Classic Italian Cook Book and More Classic Itallian Cooking)where she gives you details and insights that Lidia often leaves out. This comes from her Old-World style cooking, which she employed for decades in her intimate master classes taught in her own kitchen in Venice and New York City.

For example, Marcella never adds olive oil to her pasta; eggs and flour only. She would never place fried eggplant directly on paper towels; fried things must be drained on a rack. And when making bechamel sauce, or salsa balsamella, Marcella tells you to add the flour to the butter off heat to avoid lumping and to add the hot milk no more than 2 tablespoons at a time until it is smooth. Little things like that.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Rica Fiesolana on December 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am thrilled with Lidia's latest book which talks even more about her family. The pictures of the kids just have to make you smile. I have tried several of the family style dishes baked in the oven, such as the pasticciata, and my family just can not get enough. The do ahead tips make my life as a busy mom so much easier while still cooking real food for my family. I just can not get enough of this book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By The Italian Tailor on February 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I first discovered Lidia on public television, flipping through channels. I was impressed with the show and decided to give the book a try, even though I usually find cookbooks a waste! Usually I might find one or two recipes and that it's! But that is not the case at all! I use this cook book constantly and it's recipes are user and ingredient friendly! And there are some great quick tips and quick basic recipes, like the 5 minutes sauce recipes, there are several. Great for after work!

I am Italian, and grew up in an Italian home. But unfortunately my mom died fairly young from cancer ( as did my aunts as well) so many family recipes were lost. But I find when I make many of these recipes the flavors, textures and ingredients are all very similar to what I remember. So this cookbook has been a blessing, to try and retrieve a little piece of my sweet mom and the beautiful culture she gave us!

If you get anything from this review! No matter how young you or your mom/or even grandma (nonna) WRITE DOWN THE FAMILY RECIPES NOW! Even the ones you think you don't like now. You will later, I promise! They will be a treasure to you and your children some day!
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