Dishes commonly served at Italian restaurants, such as clams casino or spaghetti and meatballs, aren’t as authentically Italian as you might think. In her new cookbook ,”Lidia’s Italy in America,” Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, along with her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, spent time traveling and speaking with Italian-Americans across the United States to gather recipes that we assume are Italian, but are actually American.
The recipes in the book are explained with historical information of the location or history of the dish along with many pictures Bastianich took herself during her travels. I had the opportunity to taste a few of the fabulous recipes from the cookbook, and you must try the “Fried Marinated Artichokes” and the “Orecchiette with Mussels and Broccoli Rabe.”
As an Italian-American myself, I was surprised when I found the recipe for a “Boston Cream Cake” in the cookbook. How could this be considered Italian? My grandmother had made this cake for my mother’s birthday every year as a child, and when my grandmother gave me the recipe, I was shocked. (I’m usually hounding her for her biscotti recipe.)
Bastianich explained that the “Boston Cream Cake” was slightly changed through the years to make it more Italian, with changes such as soaking the cake in rum and the addition of orange zest. It is recipes like this one that have stayed within families and been passed down through generations of Italians in America.
Try the recipe for her “Boston Cream Cake.” They are made in cupcake tins and are the cutest individual cakes when served at parties.
Check out her new cookbook, “Lidia’s Italy in America” here.