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LIDIA'S FAMILY TABLE

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Author
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Author . Knopf $35 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4035-3
Reviewed on: 11/22/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
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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. Agent, Jane Dystel. (Dec. 1)

Forecast: A 10-city tour, not to mention the visibility offered by the author's newest PBS series, to begin airing in March 2005, should win plenty of support for the 150,000-copy first printing.

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