A Tribute To Lidia

Last year was Julia Child’s 100th birthday.  A friend and I joined thousands of others in paying tribute to her by cooking her food.  It was such fun that we have been talking about it ever since.  That, combined with the gift of a cookbook by Lidia Bastianich for by birthday, led us to this year’s tribute dinner, this time to Lidia.


We cooked in my kitchen together.  It took the better part of a late afternoon and evening, not because it was so complicated, but because we had to stop for several hours in the middle to feed, tub and bed the children.  Which worked out perfectly since my husband and her fiancée (they were engaged this year, inspiring the “love chicken” post) couldn’t join us until later in the evening as well.

And there were a few mishaps.  What would cooking a big meal be without some bumps?  Luckily, we were able to engage backup plans and to improvise which led to a delicious and hardy meal.  Believe me when I say, we were all so stuffed by the end and yet, all of us wanted to keep eating.

IMG_6644C. made the ravioli from scratch, dough and all.  She hand-rolled them and made the filling.  So delicious.  I’ll let her come post about that at some point- we have some great photos. IMG_6642

She also made a delicious puttanesca sauce and has a handy tip for pitting the olives.

IMG_6624And that mishap?  Well, we ended up with more filling than ravioli so C. made a delicious baked shell dish based on the filling and a bit of improvisation.  Also yum.

IMG_6641I made bread and a tomato mozzarella salad.  I also made stuffed mushrooms and cappuccino cake, both from Lidia’s recipes.  Both proved to be just right for the meal.  The mushrooms were filling and savory without being too rich and the cake was just the right mix of bitter coffee and sweet cream.

Stuffed Mushrooms (Funghi Ripieni) from Lidia’s Italian-American Table


24 white or cremini mushrooms, with caps, about 1.5 inches in diameter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped scallion

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup coarse, dry breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated parmiegiano-reggiano cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped italian parsley

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup chicken stock

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 dry white wine


Preheat your oven to 425 F.  Remove the stems from your mushrooms and set them aside- do not get rid of them.  Also, wash your mushrooms first.

IMG_6582Chop the scallions, pepper, mushroom stems and parsley.  I was lazy and used my little chopper thingy.

IMG_6590Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Add the scallion and cook until it is wilted, about 1 minute. Add the red pepper and chopped mushroom stems.  Cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes.

IMG_6591Set aside and let it cool.

IMG_6592In a medium bowl, toss the bread crumbs, cheese, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and the cooled mixture from the skillet until thoroughly blended.


IMG_6595Add salt and pepper to taste.  Using the back of a spoon (and truthfully, your fingers), stuff the mushroom caps until the stuffing is level with the cap.

IMG_6597IMG_6598IMG_6600Place the stuffed mushrooms in a baking pan that has been greased with butter.  Place about a 1/4 teaspoon of butter on top of each mushroom.  I didn’t measure this part, honestly, just put a little bit of butter on top of each.

IMG_6602Mix the wine, chicken stock and the rest of the parsley.  Pour it around the mushrooms.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is nicely browned.  Remove from the oven and place on a warmed platter.  Pour the liquid out into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat for a minute or two, allowing it to thicken slightly.  Pour over the mushrooms and serve immediately.

IMG_6639These were so good- salty and full of flavor.  The mushrooms were soft and the filling was crunchy and cheesy.  I probably ate at least four of them.  I could have eaten them all but I was trying to be a good hostess.

Stay tuned for the cake recipe.

2 thoughts on “A Tribute To Lidia

  1. I love Lidia. I wish I’d been there to eat all of the deliciousness. I could have helped with the cooking too! But really, I’m a greedy pig and would have just liked to scarf it all down.

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