Emmy®-winning TV host, restaurateur and author Lidia Bastianich warmly invites viewers into her kitchen to share her extensive understanding of how to create delicious Italian meals for the entire family in season four of LIDIA'S KITCHEN. Throughout the 26-part series, Lidia shares a variety of valuable cooking tips, such as how to layer simple, bold flavors in a chicken parmigiana dish and how to coax flavor from an ingredient, whether using meat or vegetables. She also focuses on what some would say is the best part of a meal—dessert—and makes a few of her favorites, including a sweet chocolate and walnut crespelle, tasty nectarines and blueberries in prosecco, and a delectable plum crostata. Lidia's approach to Italian cooking is simple: find fresh, seasonal ingredients, use as few as you need for a delicious dish, and elaborate as little as possible.
Layering Italian Flavors
“Alla Parmigiana” is a technique applied in many southern Italian dishes that is all about layering simple bold flavors. In today’s episode, Lidia shows the viewers her chicken parmigiana light: a version of chicken parmigiana, a breaded chicken thigh layered with tomato and mozzarella and nestled in a bed of tomato sauce; steamed broccoli and egg salad: a simple steamed broccoli dish dressed with red wine vinegar and hard boiled eggs; and limoncello tiramisu: a real “pick me up” made with lady fingers, mascarpone and limoncello zabaglione.
The egg is a staple ingredient in any kitchen and should not be overlooked or overcooked. In this episode, Lidia shows the classic technique of poaching an egg and making a warm mushroom salad: a bed of frisee with a warm medley of mixed wild mushrooms, pancetta and a poached egg; eggs poached in tomato sauce: a simple and delicious tomato sauce poached egg served with slices of grilled country bread and brutti ma buoni, a classic Italian hazelnut cookie made with meringue.
All About Chicken
This episode features a “Best of Chicken” with some of Lidia’s favorite dishes from the oven to the stovetop. Recipes include a succulent roasted chicken; a simple and earthy seared chicken breast with mushrooms; and finally a dish with a little kick – paprika drumsticks with peppers.
Salting your food is an important step in any kitchen, and the type of salt used can make a huge difference in your meal. Today’s menu includes: salted cod fritters: crispy chunky cod fritters made for the perfect salty snack; penne rigate in vodka sauce: an iconic Italian pasta dish with penne rigate in a creamy pink vodka sauce; beef chuck and beer; a rick and flavorful braise that will beckon everyone to the table.
They have been called the “gnocchi family” and in this episode, Lidia shares two of her more unusual versions of this dish: her butternut squash gnocchi are light and slightly sweet as they showcase this welcome vegetable in the potato mix. Her next dish is plum gnocchi, which is typical of her homeland and even sweeter, sometimes eaten as a dessert. Made with toasted breadcrumbs, cinnamon and butter, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Cooking with Wine
Italians love to drink wine with their meals and cook with it as well. In this episode, Lidia shares a meal where wine plays a part of each delicious dish: sausage crostini: a toasted piece of bread topped with sweet Italian sausage and topped with taleggio cheese; linguine with white clam sauce: a simple white wine clam sauce served with linguine pasta; braised beef rolls: stuffed beef rolls oozing with the flavors of prosciutto, provolone and golden raisins served in a red wine tomato sauce.
Eggs - All Different Ways
It’s an episode devoted to the fresh, simple egg, and it highlights some of Lidia’s all-time favorites: stracciatella: a simple chicken stock laced with ribbons of egg and tender spinach; frittata with ricotta: a luscious frittata filled with ricotta, tomatoes, onions and basil; baked eggplant and eggs: a baked dish showing off of one of summer’s best vegetables.
Italian Taste for Bitter Vegetables
Italy is one big garden with a year round growing season. Vegetables are often the stars of the meal, and today Lidia will highlight the versatility of delicious bitter vegetables like broccoli rabe, radicchio and escarole. She makes baked radicchio. Sweetened by the cook time this dish caramelizes into a tender hearty bite. broccoli rabe and sausage: a classic combination with sweet Italian sausage and bitter broccoli rabe; escarole and white bean Soup: a heart warming escarole and white bean soup.
The key to a delicious meal is coaxing a lot of flavor from an ingredient, whether it is meat or vegetables. In this episode, Lidia shares two ragu recipes: lamb and pepper ragu; and a chestnut and mushroom ragu: a heart, flavorful medley of chestnuts and mushrooms that make for a satisfying vegetarian ragu.
Italian American Favorites
Italian American food: Is it Italian, American or a piece of Americana with Italian roots? Today Lidia pays homage to the cooking of Italian American immigrants. Recipes include: caesar salad; a luscious baked eggplant stuffed with meat and vegetables; and finally stuffed mushrooms, a true crowd pleaser.
Fruit desserts have always been an Italian tradition; they are simple, delicious and the perfect way to showcase nature’s bounty. In this episode, Lidia highlights some of her fans’ preferred seasonal sweets with: strawberries with balsamic vinegar, a light and creamy panna cotta with seasonal fresh fruit; juicy nectarines and blueberries in prosecco and a plum crostata, a free form Italian tart with juicy plums.
Italians love their crepes either savory or sweet and in this episode, Lidia shows two of her favorite crespelle dishes, along with some great chef tips. She starts by highlighting the thin pancakes that can be made into so many things; then she makes a savory Italian favorite with them – manicotti and for a sweet version, she shows the chocolate and walnut crespelle that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Sweet and sour is a classic combination of flavors that can be found in almost every cuisine around the world, and in Italy it’s called agrodolce and produces delicious, balanced dishes of savory and sweet. Lidia demonstrates a marinated winter squash: fried and soaked in a sweet and tangy marinade made from vinegar, garlic and sugar; swordfish in sweet and sour sauce, showcasing a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity in each bite; sesame candy: a flavor packed sesame candy with citrus zest.
Herbs and Spices
Fresh herbs are simply a must in Lidia’s kitchen and today she makes three dishes that highlight herbs and spices. She begins the menu with pickled carrots: a quick pickle of tiny carrots packed with the flavors of parsley, garlic and mint; braised beef in guazzetto: rich, braised beef filled with enticing aromas and skillet cauliflower with lemon and mint: cauliflower florettes showered with lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh mint.
Steak House Favorites
Steak is a favorite in many American households, and this episode is a tribute to the nice juicy dish and showcase not only one of Lidia’s preferred preparations but two other recipes that work well for a special steak house evening at home. Featured recipes include seared steak with mushroom sauce and braised escarole; baked potatoes with pancetta and oregano; and an almond cake with chocolate chips.
Sweet and Savory
It’s all about the balance today as Lidia pairs some unexpected ingredients that result in the best of flavors. She starts the meal with her prosciutto and fig bruschetta: grilled bread topped with a salty sweet combination of prosciutto and fig jam; spaghetti with fennel and bitter greens: spaghetti tossed with fennel, escarole and a splash of balsamic; chocolate anise biscotti: the “twice cooked” Italian cookie made with chocolate and anise.
Italy is a garden year round, and Lidia celebrates an array of beautiful vegetable dishes including: celery stalks stuffed with gorgonzola and apples; an elegant asparagus and scallion salad; a refreshing fava sesame dip, that pairs beautifully with flat breads and finally a linguine with swisschard made with walnuts and creamy fresh ricotta.
Italians love cheese, and with more than 460 varieties made in Italy, it leads to many mouth-watering cheesy recipes. In this episode, Lidia shares her cheese baked in a crust:gorgonzola wrapped with puff pastry and baked as crispy cheesy bites; celery, artichoke and mortadella salad: a flavorful and fresh mix of celery, artichoke and mortadella; and finally meatloaf ricotta: a family favorite meatloaf dish packed with three different cheeses.
My Favorite Braises
Braising is a preferred technique in Lidia’s kitchen and today she prepares one rich braised meat dish, along with two braised vegetable choices for the home cook. Recipes include: beef braised in barolo; a braised kale with bacon; and finally braised cauliflower.
The tomato Is not native to Italy, but it made a big impact on Italian cuisine when it arrived centuries ago. From canned to vine ripened, Lidia shares with you several of her favorite tomato dishes including: stuffed tomatoes: stuffed with rice, mozzarella and basil; braised pork ribs with rigatoni: tender to the bone pork ribs and braising sauce with rigatoni; and green beans in chunky tomato sauce:a perfect side of fresh green beans smothered in a fresh chunky tomato sauce.
More Italian American Favorites
Italian American classics have always been favorites at the family table and in this episode, there is reason to celebrate. Today’s recipes include the most iconic Italian American dish, spaghetti and meatballs; a broccoli rabe with garlic; and a holiday must – zeppole.
Olive oil reigns in Lidia’s kitchen, and in this episode she teaches how to use it from appetizer to soup to dessert. She begins with a delicious tomato and bread salad – a delicious tossed salad of country bread and juicy ripe tomatoes known as panzanella; a nourishing rice and lentil soup and a cannoli napoleon, a new twist on the old cannoli: ricotta cream with crunchy almonds and chocolate layered between fried pastry.
Best of Zucchini
Zucchini is a versatile vegetable, and in this episode, viewers watch as Lidia shares several of her favorite simple and quick zucchini dishes including: zucchini with anchovies and capers, a delicious side dish of zucchini sautéed with garlic, anchovies and capers; fried zucchini: a family favorite savory egg battered zucchini roll up; orecchiette with clams and zucchini: a great pasta dish made with clams, scallions and zucchini; sweet and sour zucchini: a quick zucchini dish that is perfect for a quick snack, side dish or appetizer.
It’s a world famous technique but made with milk, it is famous only in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna. In this episode, Lidia shares a show stopping meal that consists of bolognese with milk: a traditional beef and pork ragu prepared in the style of bologna; dandelion greens with almond vinaigrette and ricotta salata: a vibrant salad of bitter dandelion greens tossed with a sweet honey almond vinaigrette and salty ricotta salata; pomegranate sorbet: a refreshing sorbet of pomegranate juice and dark rum.
The oven is on today in Lidia’s Kitchen, and she is sharing some of her best cakes. There is a gianduia cake – a Piedmontese tradition and a dream for hazelnut and chocolate lovers; a delicious and moist chocolate and zucchini Cake; and finally a nutty walnut and espresso Cake.
At the base of Italian cuisine are essential Italian ingredients and vinegar is one of them. Lidia masters the art of cooking with vinegar in this episode. She prepares a red cabbage and bacon salad in a warm bacon and balsamic vinegar dressing; chicken in vinegar sauce; and a tangy garlic savoy cabbage and potatoes dish.