Today I got a new cookbook to add to my collection, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Bastianich. I had met her briefly at Cooking by the Book where I used to go for cooking lessons and to meet cookbook authors and chefs. I always enjoyed myself there, but I digress. I also met Lidia at her restaurant Felidia. She is a charming woman who took the time to stop at each table and speak with the diners.
Back to the book. She includes recipes from 12 regions of Italy. She also talks about each region adding some personal notes about her travels there. I was just skimming through the book tonight and some of the recipes look so good. There is one from Trention which I'm very anxious to try. It's a combination I would never have thought of, not that I'm an imaginative cook. She combines tomatoes and apples in sauce to be served with spaghetti. I'm very anxious to try this one, even though this is the time of year for thinking about turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pies, etc.
There are several other recipes that look interesting, like Honey Orange Crumb Cookies, Chunky Apple-Apricot Bread Pudding, Sweet Ricotta Dumplings with Strawberry Sauce. There are also some savory meals to like Skillet Braised Chicken Bundles, Chicken with Olives and Pine Nuts and Beef Braised in Beer (now that looks interesting).
The hardest part of following these recipes is halving them. I don't mind eating the same meal twice in one week, but I really hate eating the same thing night after night after night. And, I certainly won't invite any friends to dinner unless I take a test drive of the recipe.
I can't wait until I have the time to really sit down and plan some dinners using this book. Unfortunately, I'll probably have to wait until after the New Year since this is the time of year for more traditional (to me) foods.