If you’re looking for some traditional Italian dishes, be sure to try these out from Lidia Bastianich!

Penne With Ricotta And Mushrooms

Penne Ricotta e Funghi

This is a simple recipe, packed with flavor and with a great mouth texture. It can also be made

in any season of the year, since mushrooms now abound on our store shelves year- round. I love mushrooms; they deliver a lot of flavor and texture without the heavy calories. The creaminess of the ricotta adds to the complexity of flavor, and the pasta carries it all deliciously.

Serves 6

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot
  • ¼ cup extra- virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary needles
  • 1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms (button, cremini, shiitake, chanterelles)
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1½ cups of fresh ricotta (about
  • 12 ounces)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano- Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, and cook until it is sizzling. Add the rosemary, and cook a few seconds, until fragrant. Raise the heat to medium- high, add the mushrooms, and season with the salt. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the scallions, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Ladle in 1 cup pasta water, and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta. When the sauce is ready and the pasta is al dente, remove the penne with a spider and add it directly to the sauce. Stir in the ricotta and parsley, and cook until warmed through. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the grated cheese, and serve.

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Carrot And Apple Salad

Insalata di Carote e Mele

This salad is not only delicious by itself but also a great platform for smoked meats or fish; it works well with trout, salmon, duck breast, and ham. Serve the proteins alongside the salad and you have a great appetizer or meal. It is a sandwich stuffer as well; instead of using mayonnaise or other fatty dressings, use this juicy salad. It is especially good on a sandwich of sliced turkey, chicken, or ham.

Serves 6

  • 3 large carrots, peeled and julienned (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, skin on, julienned (about 3 cups)
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Toss the carrots and apples in a salad bowl with the orange juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with the parsley, season with the salt and pepper, and toss again. Serve cold.

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Anise Cookies

Biscotti all’Anice

Anise is a favorite Italian flavoring, especially for cookies. Serve these with espresso coffee and

some anisette liqueur, and you will take your guests to Italy.

Makes about 48 cookies

  • 1¾ cups all- purpose fl our
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sambuca
  • ½ teaspoon anise extract
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • glaze
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon anise extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

In a bowl, stir together fl our, semolina, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a spouted measuring cup, whisk together the egg, yolks, sambuca, and anise extract. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until the combination is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg- yolk mixture to the mixer, and beat on medium until smooth. Add the flour mixture, and beat on low just until combined. Remove dough from mixing bowl, wrap it with plastic, and chill it until firm, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the dough into four dozen balls, and bake in batches on parchment- lined sheet pans, rotating the pans from the top to bottom racks in your oven halfway through the baking time, until golden, about 16 to 18 minutes per batch. Cool completely on racks.

For the glaze: Whisk the milk and anise extract into the confectioners’ sugar to make a smooth glaze about the thickness of pancake batter. Add a little more milk or confectioners’ sugar to adjust the consistency. Dip or drizzle the cookies with glaze, and let set on a rack.

Excerpted from LIDIA’S COMMONSENSE ITALIAN COOKINGby Lidia Bastianich. Copyright © 2013 by Tutti a Tavola, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Penne With Ricotta And Mushrooms

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