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I have been an enthusiastic fan of your television show Lidia’s Italy for many years and even more so in the past year.Â Also, my husband has joined me many evenings to watch your show on TLN, a network broadcast in Ontario, Canada.
I am delighted to see you cook so many traditional Italian recipes. I have tried to duplicate them–some with more success than others, but that’s okay, it’s all good in the end!
I was born in Campania, Italy, and my parents and I immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1952, where Italian traditions as well as Italian ingredients were not so readily available or seen as they are today. However, my mother kept her roots and taught me wonderful Italian recipes that were carried out in the true Italian way. Unfortunately my mother is no longer with us today, as she recently passed away. I truly enjoy watching you cook; your passion and style remind me of my late mother and how she worked in the kitchen. Your recipes are true to our roots and maintain our wonderful Italian heritage.
Thank you for sharing the traditions of Italy and your love for cooking with all your viewers and especially with my household. Because of you, there is a new saying around my home that we have adopted from your television show: “Tutti a tavola a mangare!”
We recently made an addition to our backyard patio and I have designed an outdoor plaque which now hangs near our patio table, where my family and I come together and have our summer meals or simply espresso in the afternoon. Attached is a picture of the plaque I made. Your words truly depict the essence and heart of the Italian culture…thanks for keeping it alive!
Best wishes to you! My husband and I look forward to watching many more episodes of your show!
You know how Lidia cooks, but how does she shop?
Join Lidia on OpenSky and when her page goes live next week you will get first dibs on her favorite products!
OpenSky is a social network of shoppers. Each week, Lidia will choose a favorite product and OpenSky will offer it to her followers for a discounted price. From hard to find Italian imports like Saba to handy kitchen tools, Lidia will tell you exactly what she loves and why she loves it.
“All of the products I will share with you here on OpenSky reflect my commitment to the simplicity, understatement, and elegance of Italian culture. They are the special things that I use at home and can’t live without. I look forward to introducing them to you and your family and hope they will inspire fond memories and new traditions in your home, too.”
Click here to read Lidia’s page and learn more about OpenSky!
I was in the KC restaurant just before Memorial Day and had an incredible desert: Nutella Budino. I asked if it was in any of the cookbooks, and they said the pastry chef,
Danica Pollard, had created it. Would it be possible to get the recipe for Nutella Budino? I really enjoyed it and would love to enjoy it in the comfort of my own home!
I grew up in KC but now live in northern New Mexico. Whenever I’m in KC, I try to get to Lidia’s for another great meal, and I tell all my co-workers who travel to KC to go to Lidia’s; it’s my favorite restaurant in KC.
Danica was happy to share her recipe (below). Whether you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this dessert at Lidia’s KC or are trying it for the first time at home, this decadent dish is certainly worth your time.
Nutella Budino with Caramel and Bananas
by Danica Pollard, Pastry Chef at Lidia’s Kansas City
For the pouring caramel
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
For the Nutella budino
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
6 ounces Nutella
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
Â¼ cup granulated sugar
Â¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
For the chocolate hazelnut crunch
1 egg white
Â¼ tsp. fine sea salt
Â½ tsp. vanilla extract
Â½ c. packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa
1 Â½ c. chopped hazelnuts
For the caramel sauce (this is different from the pouring caramel above)
1 c. granulated sugar
Â¾ c. heavy cream
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
Pinch of fine sea salt
For finishing the dessert
1/2 a medium banana, split down the middle and cut into triangular chunks
2 tablespoons caramel sauce, warm
2 or 3 tablespoons of the chocolate hazelnut crunch
Equipment needed: 2 deep rectangular baking pans, 12 4-ounce ramekins (small glass or glazed porcelain bowls), long-handled heat-proof spatula
To make the pouring caramel:
Divide ramekins amongst the baking pans and place the pans on an even, heatproof surface. Measure out the water ahead of time.
In a heavy medium saucepan, add the sugar and cook over medium heat. As the sugar melts, stir to continuously redistribute the unmelted sugar. When the sugar is all evenly melted and starting to caramelize, reduce the heat slightly to slow the cooking. The sugar will turn a deep reddish brown when it is ready; when this happens, turn the heat off.
Pour the water into the pot, taking care to keep your hands away from the top of the pot. The mixture will boil and steam before settling down to a simmer. At this point, stir the mixture together, letting the residual heat of the pan melt it all into a smooth caramel.
Carefully pour a small amount of the caramel into the ramekins, enough to just cover the very bottom of each one. Let the caramel cool completely.
To make the Nutella budino:
Place the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate together in a bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until almost simmering, and then pour the hot cream over the chocolates and whisk until fully melted. Stir in Nutella until smooth, and then whisk in eggs, yolks, sugar and salt.
Pour the mixture into each caramel-lined ramekin, dividing it equally.
With the ramekins in the pans, pour warm water into the pans, taking care not to splash any into the ramekins, so the water goes about halfway up the side of the ramekins.
Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.When the custard is set, it will jiggle very slightly in the center when the pan is agitated.
Very carefully remove the pans from the oven, and place them on a heatproof surface. When the ramekins are cool enough to touch, remove from the pan and let chill in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours.
To make the chocolate hazelnut crunch:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have ready a half sheet tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed. Add the vanilla and brown sugar and continue whisking until thick and the sugar is dissolved into meringue, then whisk in the cocoa. Add in the hazelnuts and stir well to coat them with the chocolate mixture.
Sprinkle the mixture in small bits over the lined sheet tray. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate and continue baking for 10-15 minutes, or until meringue is very firm.
Place on a heat proof surface until completely cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
To make the caramel sauce:
Have cream and butter measured out and handy before you begin. I recommend using a heat proof spatula with a long handle to keep your hand from getting too close to the steam.
In heavy medium saucepan, start cooking the sugar over medium heat. When parts of the sugar become translucent and begin to take on a golden brown color, gently move the sugar in those areas with your spatula to combine with the sugar that hasn’t dissolved yet.
When all the sugar has melted and is beginning to caramelize, reduce heat slightly to control the pace of the cooking. The sugar will take on a reddish brown hue when it is ready. At this moment, turn off the heat and pour the cream into the pot, positioning hands so they are never directly over the pot. The mixture will sizzle and steam before it calms a bit. Carefully stir the mixture together, letting the residual heat in the pan melt it together for a smooth consistency. Stir in the butter and salt.
If using caramel immediately, keep in the saucepan and warm very gently before adding to the bananas. The sauce may also be poured into a heat proof container and refrigerated until ready to heat and use.
To assemble the dessert:
Once chilled, unmold the custards by carefully running a small knife around the interior of the ramekin, being careful to separate it cleanly. Holding it over a plate, invert the ramekin and shake or tap gently to unmold it. Place the budino in the center of the plate you want to serve it on. Stir the caramel and bananas together and spoon evenly around the custard. Sprinkle the hazelnut crunch around the custard over the bananas.
Read the interview here!
Joshua Lurie of Food GPS talks with Lidia about wine, food, and family at Shutters’ Summer of Bastianich wine dinner. Read the interview here.
Advice from my Nonna Erminia
“Aria, luce, sole sono la tua salute.”
“Air, light, sun are your health.”
Nonna certainly lives with lots of those three things, as she is always out in her garden.Â She can’t wait for morning to check on what has sprouted in the garden and I envision her measuring how much each vegetable has grown since the day prior.Â Nonna is always encouraging people to stay outside and expounds on the virtues of air, light and sun.Â Â – Tanya
At the recent press event to celebrate Coast in Santa Monica’s Summer of Bastianich, the Divine Dish got to chat with Lidia about her philosophy on food, family and cooking. Listen to the interview here.
For one week, Grub Street had Lidia keep track of her diet so they could share it with all of Lidia’s curious admirers. Read the article here!