Beloved chef and best-selling author Lidia Bastianich shares, for the first time, the timeless recipes that have made her flagship restaurant, Felidia, a New York City dining legend for almost four decades.
Ever since it opened its doors in 1981 at 243 E 58th Street in New York City, Felidia has been revered as one of the best Italian restaurants in the country and a dining destination for almost four decades. In her newest book, Lidia and longtime Executive Chef Fortunato Nicotra share an astounding number of recipes. These dishes from the menus of Felidia, both past and present, total 115 recipes and truly capture the spirit of the restaurant. For the past 28 years, Felidia has been a name synonymous with extraordinary attention to detail and is among the most respected restaurants in the country. From pastas and primi to appetizers and meats; from breads and spreads to sides and soups, these are some of Lidia’s favorite dishes, lovingly adapted for home cooks to re-create in their own kitchens.
In the book, Lidia relives the challenges and joys of the early days of Felidia. This was at a time when she was breaking ground as a female pioneer in the male-dominated restaurant world of New York City during the 1970s and 1980s. She admittedly took a risk. New York at that time was dominated by tomato-based sauces, heavily flavored with garlic. Lidia served food that was central to her northern Italian upbringing – risotto, polenta and fresh pasta and did so in a fine dining setting.
In Felida, she reflects on her meeting with Fortunato Nicotra, who came from a very different area in Italy, but who had a similar connection to food. Lidia grew up in a rural town outside of Pula in Istria. There she learned to grow and pick vegetables, cure meats and forage for herbs. Nicotra’s roots are in the Piedmont and Sicily, where he learned those region’s culinary traditions from relatives and neighbors. He went on to earn Michelin stars at two restaurants in Sicily before coming to New York to join Felidia as Executive Chef.
The dishes at Felidia showcase Lidia and Fortunato’s lifelong love affairs with food. The pages of this beautiful and instructive cookbook feature such magnificent recipes as Pear and Pecorino Ravioli; Coco Nano Bean Spread; One-sided-Grilled Tuna Palermitana Style; Chicken Pizzaiola, Short Ribs Braised in Barolo; Mushroom and Coffee Risotto and Eggplant Flan with Tomato Coulis. It also gives you such classics as Pasta Primavera and Linguine with White Clam Sauce and Broccoli. Exquisite dessert recipes include Warm Nutella Flan, Open Cannolo and Limoncello Tiramisù. Felidia is filled with the same warmth that is a hallmark of all of Lidia’s cookbooks.
You will also find recipes from the restaurant’s lively bar, including Passion Fruit Spritz, Rhubarb Negroni, Panzanella Bloody Mary, Frozen Peach Bellini and more. In the spirit of the holiday, last week we brought you two outstanding recipes from the Felidia book for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, this week we present a recipe for:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 cups strawberries, very ripe and chopped
- 1 strawberry finely diced for garnish
- 2 oz vodka
- 1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Sprig of mint
Combine the sugar with 1 cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Add the strawberries and simmer until they are very soft and the syrup is bright red, about 10 minutes. Let steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour. Chill a martini glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 1.5 ounces of the strawberry syrup, the vodka and the lime juice. Shake and strain into the chilled glass. Add the finely diced strawberry, fresh strawberries and a sprig of mint to serve.
About the Authors
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is an Emmy Award-winning public television host, bestselling cookbook author and restaurateur. She is the chef/owner of three acclaimed New York City restaurants – Felidia, Becco and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s Pittsburgh and Kansas City. She is also co-owner of Eataly with locations in New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Paulo, Brazil. Lidia is also the founder of the entertainment company Tavola Productions.
Fortuanto Nicotra has earned Michelin stars in Sicily before becoming Executive Chef at Felidia, where the restaurant earned three stars from the New York Times just months after his arrival. He has appeared on numerous food shows, including Iron Chef and Lidia’s Kitchen.
Tanya Bastianich Manuali earned her MA in Art History from Syracuse University and her Ph.D. from Oxford University. She is the co-owner of several restaurants with her mother and brother. Tanya is the Executive Producer of Tavola Productions and owns LIDIA’S food line with her husband, Corrado Manuali. She has co-authored several cookbooks with Lidia, as well as “Healthy Pasta” with her brother, Joe.
Felidia is published by Alfred A Knopf and is available at fine booksellers such as Barnes and Noble, as well as from Amazon.