Lidia Bastianich stopped by PTL to show off two delicious recipes from her new cookbook!

Mezzi Rigatoni with Fava Beans and Mint
Mezze Maniche con Fave e Mentuccia

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pots
  • 2 cups fresh fava beans, shelled
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 3 medium leeks, white and light green parts, halved, washed, and thinly sliced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound mezzi rigatoni
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, shredded
  • ½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil for the favas. Add the fava beans and blanch until bright green, about 2 minutes. Cool in a bowl of ice water, and peel and discard the outer skins of the favas.

To a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta. Cook until the pancetta renders its fat, about 3 minutes. Add the leeks, and toss to coat in the oil. Season with the salt and crushed red pepper. Cook until the leeks begin to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add the favas, and toss to coat in the oil. Ladle in 1 cup pasta water, and simmer until the favas and leeks are very tender, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water. When the sauce is ready and the pasta is al dente, remove the pasta with a spider and transfer directly to the simmering sauce. Add the mint and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding a splash of pasta water if it seems dry. Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese, toss, and serve immediately.

Scallion and Asparagus Salad
Insalata di Scalogna e Asparagi

Serves 6

  • 1 large bunch fresh asparagus (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs

Using a vegetable peeler, shave off the skin from the bottom 3 inches or so of each asparagus stalk, so they cook evenly. Snap off the hard stubs at the bottom—they’ll break naturally at the right point as you bend the bottom of the asparagus. To prepare the scallions: Trim the roots and the wilted ends of the green leaves. Peel off the loose layers at the white end, so the scallions are all trim.

Bring 1 quart water (or enough to cover the vegetables) to a boil in a wide, deep skillet, and add the asparagus and scallions. Adjust the heat to maintain a bubbling boil, and poach the vegetables, uncovered, for about 6 minutes or more, until they are tender but not falling apart, cooked through but not mushy. To check doneness, pick up an asparagus spear by its middle with tongs: it should be a little droopy, but not collapsing.

As soon as they are done, lift out the vegetables with tongs and lay them in a colander. Hold the colander under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain briefly, then spread on kitchen towels, pat dry, and sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt over them.

Cut the asparagus and the scallions into 1-inch lengths, and pile them loosely in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the top, and sprinkle on the remaining salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss well. Quarter the eggs into wedges, and slice each wedge into two or three pieces; scatter these in the bowl, and fold in with the vegetables. Taste, and adjust the dressing. Serve at room temperature, or chill the salad briefly; arrange it on a serving platter or on salad plates.