This past Friday my family went to meet Lidia Bastianich in Virginia!  She is on tour promoting her new book, Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy.  Unlike the Sarah Palin book tour, we did not have to camp out the night before but we did have to wait in a line for an hour.  Lidia looked great and it was really fun.  I brought a Piazza canvas bag for her, filled with some of our more unusual items; pistachio paste, tropea onion spread, and a Scrumptious Pantry cantuccione among other things.  She was happy to take the bag and since she was traveling with her assistant, book rep, and the executive chef of her Kansas City restaurant I’m sure those provisions won’t last long.  Her new book is great, it is all about the foods of lesser known regions of Italy, Liguria, Val d’Aosta, Lombardia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Molise, etc.  At this time of year, I am thrilled to find good recipes for celery root and she has two!  I was also very glad to find a ‘white bolognese’ sauce in the Emilia-Romagna section.  I don’t know exactly when but about eight years ago the New York Times Sunday magazine printed a similar recipe that my mom made.  I think of it often.  Another great find is a recipe for Cima alla Genovese, something that I seen but haven’t been able to try.  I saw slices of it in Torino at a shop called Baita Formaggio.  It is a boiled veal roast stuffed with vegetables and hard boiled eggs.  She says that hers is the home-version, I imagine the deli version I saw might be made from ground meat more like mortadella.  I didn’t think to ask her! 

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