Monday, December 18, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich & Tanya Bastianich Manuali

Title: Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party
Authors: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Tanya Bastianich Manuali
Format: Hardcover, signed
Pub. Date: October 17th 2017
Source: Eataly

Book Description:

The beloved TV chef offers the only cookbook you'll need to give any gathering--from a dinner for two to a wedding--a delectable, welcoming Italian flavor.

No one throws a party like Lidia Bastianich! And now, in this delightful new cookbook, she gives us 220 fantastic recipes for entertaining with that distinctly Bastianich flare. From Pear Bellinis to Carrot and Chickpea Dip, from Campanelle with Fennel and Shrimp to Berry Tiramisu--these are dishes your guests will love, no matter the occasion. Here, too, are Lidia's suggestions for hosting a BBQ, making pizza for a group, choosing the perfect wine, setting an inviting table, and much more. Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color photographs and filled with her trademark warmth and enthusiasm, this is Lidia's most festive book. Whether you're planning a romantic picnic for two, a child's birthday party, a holiday gathering, or a simple weeknight family dinner, Lidia's flavorful, easy-to-follow recipes and advice will have you calling to your guests: "Tutti a tavola a mangiare!"



I was so excited to get my hands on this. I got the chance to go to a book signing at Eataly here in Chicago. Lidia is super sweet, and gave us chocolates.

Onto the book. As the title (and author) suggests, this is an Italian cookbook. The tagline is: "220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party". I'm not Italian. I didn't grow up in a lovely family and learn to cook and my grandmother's hip. But also- I freakin' love Italian food and pasta. This book was meant for me; it's ways to cook classic Italian but from an approachable, novice standpoint.

The book is divided by course type: Aperitivi, Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Vegetables and Sides, Polenta Risotto and Pasta, Fish and Seafood, Poultry and Meat, and Desserts. This is a pretty foolproof way to find whatever you're in the mood for. Sprinkled throughout the book, there's also ideas for how to plan menus for different parties and events- like sports games or brunch.

Each recipe has the name in English followed by Italian, with a little paragraph about it- why it's included, how to adapt it, where it came from, etc. It's a nice touch that makes it feel like Lidia is exchanging recipe secrets with you. The steps can get kind of long and aren't numbered, but they're written simply in a way that's easy to understand.

The only nit I have to pick is the photography. I understand that having a photo for every one of the 220 recipes would turn it into a massive publication. But, I like having photos to go from. There's some, but not as many as I would have liked. The ones that are included are very delicious looking and professional.

This book is vegetarian friendly. There's lots of meatless dishes, and I think that some of the ones with meat are easily adaptable.

Some of the dishes that I look forward to making the most include: Roman-Style Semolina Gnocchi, Stuffed Calamari, Layered Casserole with Beef, Cabbage, and Potatoes, and Chocolate Sponge Cake with Sour Cherries and Chocolate Zabaglione Mousse Filling.

I think this is a good book for beginners and beyond, as well as those who host dinners or parties. There's a wide variety of recipes, and it includes desserts and cocktails. It's one I'm sure I'll keep in my kitchen for a long time.


  1. I was so excited that you got to meet Lidia in person for this book! I can just imagine how warm and inviting she was. I can't wait to try the food you've highlighted, it all sounds so good.