Home Cooked for the Holidays: Lidia Bastianich

Posted on Dec 12, 2013 10:45am

Renowned chef and restauranteur Lidia Bastianich returned to THE TALK in New York City for "Home Cooked for the Holidays." Lidia is best known for her Italian cooking which she has shared in her cookbooks and on numerous PBS shows throughout the years. 


Roast Turkey Breast and Pan Sauce with a Reduced Balsamic Glaze 

Serves 8-10


1 whole turkey breast on the bone

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Vegetables and Seasonings:

1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters

1/2 pound celery stalks, rinsed and cut in 2-inch chunks

1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups Vegetable or chicken broth

Fresh rosemary, a tender branch with lots of needles

Reduced Balsamic for Glazing the Turkey (optional):

1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

2 bay leaves

Prepping the turkey and vegetables:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse the bird inside and out, in cool running water, clearing the cavity of any residue. Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. 

Sprinkle the turkey breast with the teaspoon of salt and rub it all over the turkey breast and do the same with the 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil and set aside. 

Toss together in a bowl the vegetables, seasonings, with the 1/4 cup olive oil, mixing everything well.  Spread all the seasoned vegetable in a roasting pan large enough to hold all the vegetables without being piled up. 

Pour the broth into roasting pan, cover the baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and set in the preheated oven. Cook the vegetables for 30 minutes, uncover and cook for additional 15 minutes.

Stir the vegetables, making a space in the middle of the roasting pan to put the turkey breast. Return roasting pan with vegetables and turkey breast to the oven and roast for 1 hour and fifteen minutes, basting occasionally.

Brush the turkey breast with balsamic reduction (recipe below) and return to oven. Bake for additional 15 minutes, brushing with balsamic reduction 2 more times. If the breast is getting too dark, cover it loosely with a sheet of foil. The turkey breast should be done when internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

Carefully remove the roasting pan and lift the turkey breast out of the pan and onto a hot baking sheet. With a slotted spoon, lift out most of the whole roasted vegetables and set on the baking sheet next to the turkey breast. Cover the turkey and vegetables loosely with foil and keep them in a warm place while you make the sauce.

With a potato masher, crush the remaining vegetables in the roasting juices, breaking them up into little bits. Set a sieve on a saucepan and pour everything out of the roaster into the sieve, scraping up all the juices, vegetables and flavorful caramelized bits. Press the vegetables and other solids against the sieve with a big spoon to release their liquid, and then discard what's left in the sieve. 

Set the saucepan over high heat, bring the juices to a boil and reduce them, while uncovered. When the sauce has reduced, salt to taste.  Let it rest for a minute, then spoon off the fat layer that's accumulated on top.  

To serve, cut the turkey breast following the breast bone with a sharp knife, into two lobes and pry each one off the breast bone. Set on a cutting board and slice slightly diagonal into thin slices. Serve with the roasted vegetables and the sauce.

To make the balsamic reduction:

Pour the balsamic vinegar into a heavy bottomed saucepan and place over moderate heat. Stir in the honey, drop in the bay leaves and bring to a low boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer and allow the vinegar to reduce slowly. After a half hour or so, when it has lost more than half of its original volume, the vinegar will start to appear syrupy, strain it and set it aside. 

Baked Rigatoni and Zucchini

Serves 6 to 8


½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 pound medium zucchini, sliced

1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed

1 loosely packed cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1 pound rigatoni

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 ounces shredded Fontina cheese

1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until it begins to soften, another 5 minutes. Add the salt then the crushed tomatoes, slosh the tomato can out with 1 cup water, and add it to the skillet as well. Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer just until it thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes, but don't let the zucchini begin to fall apart. Then toss in the chopped basil.

Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni until al dente, a few minutes shy of the package directions. Drain the pasta, and toss it in the skillet with the tomato sauce and basil.

Butter a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, toss together the two cheeses. Spread half the pasta and sauce in the baking dish, and top with half the cheese. Layer the remaining pasta and sauce, then the remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad

Serves 4 to 6


3 pounds acorn squash (1 large or 2 small ones)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

For Dressing

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1/8 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted in the oven or on a dry skillet 

1 tablespoon reduced balsamic vinegar, or more to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (As soon as it's hot, you can toast the slivered almonds for garnishing the salad: spread them on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, shaking them up once or twice, until lightly colored and fragrant.)

To prepare acorn squash: With a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife, strip off the peel from the top of the ridges of the squash. You don't need to peel more than this: it will help the squash cook faster and looks nice too.

With a sharp, heavy knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds and fibers. Place each half cut side down; trim the ends, then cut semi-circular slices of squash, all about one-inch thick. 

Put all the pieces in a pile on a large baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle the salt over the squash and toss to coat, then spread them out to lie flat, not touching. 

Bake about 20 minutes, and then flip the pieces over. Bake another 15 minutes or so, until the squash is just tender all the way through (poke with a fork to check) and nicely caramelized on the edges.

Assembling the Salad:

Let the squash pieces cool on the pan until you're ready to serve. Arrange them in a symmetrical design or in a casual pile.

Refresh them with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt (or more to taste). Scatter the almond slivers over the squash and then drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.

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