Every­one should rush to Lidia’s Ital­ian ta­ble

Lidia’s Italy 4.30pm, Life­Style Food

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

LIDIA Mat­tic­chio Bas­tianich is no Nigella. She’s no Jamie, ei­ther, and there’s not a Gor­don ten­dency in sight. What she is, is the type of woman you’d love to have toil­ing away in your kitchen, send­ing out plates of pasta, risotto, bol­lito misto, the spat­tered tomato down her shirt a sign of the ef­fort lov­ingly put into each dish.

In Lidia’s Italy , Bas­tianich re­vis­its her home­land ( she and her fam­ily left north­east Italy for the US when she was just 12), tour­ing its di­verse re­gions, meet­ing lo­cal pro­duc­ers and pass­ing on the se­crets of lo­cal spe­cial­ties to the home viewer.

To­day her fo­cus is Naples, cap­i­tal of the Cam­pa­nia re­gion in the south­west. But rather than tak­ing a look at its most fa­mous spe­cialty, for Naples is the spir­i­tual home of pizza, Lidia presents us with three rus­tic and sim­ple pasta dishes: a quick spaghetti with tomato, gar­lic and basil sauce; badly cut pasta with pancetta, chilli, cel­ery and tomato; and a veg­e­tar­ian’s de­light com­pris­ing cau­li­flower, squash, tomato, gar­lic, onion and pep­per.

She also vis­its a lo­cal wine­maker to ed­u­cate view­ers on some of the best tip­ples from the re­gion and takes a brief look at an­other Neapoli­tan favourite, frit­tura, or fried street food.

The show is, as some Amer­i­can­pro­duced cook­ery shows can be, a lit­tle old-fash­ioned. The flute strains at the start are a lit­tle off­putting, as are the men­tions of spon­sors at the start and end of the pro­gram.

But what Bas­tianich proves is that it’s not nec­es­sary to have gim­mickry or the most hi-tech, gleam­ing kitchen ( her’s is clut­tered and colour­ful, cook­ing uten­sils shoved into earth­en­ware pots, herbs on the win­dowsill, no space know­ingly left un­adorned) to be a com­pelling, and be­liev­able, TV cook.

Bas­tianich is ev­ery inch the Ital­ian grand­mother pass­ing on her se­crets to younger gen­er­a­tions. Watch­ing her whip up th­ese sim­ple yet stun­ning pas­tas will surely in­spire even the lazi­est home cooks to nip out and buy some basil.

If one wanted more ev­i­dence of Bas­tianich’s im­pres­sive pedi­gree, her highly suc­cess­ful New York restau­rants Fe­lidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, the for­mer awarded three stars by The New York Times , should be proof enough.

As is the fact she cooked for Pope Bene­dict XVI last year dur­ing his New York visit.

Bas­tianich’s catch­phrase through­out the 26-episode se­ries is ‘‘ Tutti a tavola a man­giare’’ (‘‘ Every­one to the ta­ble!’’). Af­ter watch­ing a cou­ple of episodes of Lidia’s Italy , this viewer wanted to fol­low in­struc­tions to the let­ter. Long live the bossy Ital­ianAmer­i­can mama.

Michelle Rowe

Im­pres­sive pedi­gree: Lidia Bas­tianich de­lights in tour­ing her home­land

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.