Lidia Bastianich talks about new Italian cuisine cookbook

Emmy-award winning TV host, best-selling cookbook author, restaurateur and co-owner of Eataly - the delightful Chef Lidia Bastianich visited again.

She talked about her latest cookbook "Lidia's Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine," which was written with her daughter Tanya. In the book, she gives pointers on using different ingredients and Italian cooking techniques.

Lidia gave us the top tips to great Italian cooking and she has brought some of her favorite dishes - oven-braised pork chops, roasted butternut squash and a festive panettone parfait.

To find out more about Lidia and Eataly:

Lidia Bastianich

Eataly Chicago
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Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago:

WATCH: Lidia Bastianich cook her favorite dishes

Oven-braised pork chops with red onion and pears
(Costolette di Maiale Brasate al Forno con Pere e Cipolle)

Recipe compliments of Chef Lidia Bastianich "Lidia's Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine"

Serves 4

2 cups balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
4 center-cut pork rib chops, each about 12 ounces and 1 inches thick
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe but firm Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 6 wedges each
cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat to a gentle boil, and boil until the vinegar is syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife, and scatter them over the oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, under the garlic is browned, about 6 minutes. Remove and reserve the garlic cloves if they become darker than deep golden brown before the chops are fully browned. Turn the chops, tuck the onion wedges into the pan, and continue cooking until the second side of each chop is browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. About halfway through browning the second side, tuck the pear wedges in between the chops.

Stir the red wine vinegar and honey together in a small bowl until the honey is dissolved. Pour this mixture into the skillet, and bring it to a vigorous boil. Return the garlic cloves to the skillet if you have removed them. Place the skillet in the oven, and roast until the onions and pears are a rich, syrupy dark brown, about 30 minutes, turning everything once or twice during the roasting.

Remove the skillet from the oven. Place a chop in the center of each warmed serving plate. Spoon the pears, onion, and pan juices around the chops. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction around the edge of the plate.

Buon appetito!

Roasted acorn squash salad
Recipe compliments of Chef Lidia Bastianich, "Lidia's Family Table"

Serves 4-6

For baking the squash

3 pounds acorn squash (1 large or 2 small ones)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
teaspoon salt

For dressing

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
cup slivered almonds, toasted in the oven or on a dry skillet (see procedure below)
1 tablespoon or so reduced balsamic vinegar (recipe follows), thickened for drizzling
2 tablespoons or more crumbled goat cheese (optional), such as aged goat cheese, drained fresh ricotta, cottage cheese, or ricotta salata

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. As soon as it is hot, you can toast the slivered almonds for garnishing the salad: spread them on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, shaking them up once or twice, until lightly colored and fragrant, or toast them while the squash is roasting, or after.

Preparing the squash: With a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife, strip off the peel from the protruding ridges of the squash. You don't need to peel more than this: leaving the rest of the peel will help the squash to retain its shape and looks nice too. (If you are roasting a smooth squash like butternut, remove all the peel.)

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 semicircular slices of squash, all about 1 inch thick.

Put all the pieces in a pile on a large baking sheet, preferably non-stick or lined with parchment, or on a non-stick silicone baking mat. Drizzle the 2 tablespoons oil over the squash, sprinkle on the salt, and toss to coat with the seasonings, then spread the pieces out to lie flat, not touching.

Bake about 20 minutes, 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 squash: 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-on a large serving platter or on individual salad plates, with two or three slices per portion.

Refresh them with drizzles of olive oil, sprinkles of salt. Scatter the almond slivers over, and then streaks or swirls of warm balsamic reduction. Finally, crumble bits of cheese all over.

Buon appetito!

Lidia's simple panettone and chocolate parfait
Recipe compliments of Chef Lidia Bastianich, "Lidia's Family Table"

Serves 6

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, or semisweet, finely chopped
cup heavy cream (for melting chocolate)
2 tablespoons dark rum 9 slices Panettone, approximately inch-thick slices 1 cups heavy cream, chilled 1 cup sliced toasted almonds or 1 cup candied orange peel, or both

Put the cup heavy cream in a bowl set over a pan of hot (not boiling) water. Heat for a few minutes, add the chopped chocolate, and then stir slowly until the chocolate is melted and completely smooth. Add the dark rum and stir again until smooth. Keep it warm, over the water, off the heat. Meanwhile, whip the cream until soft peaks form.

To assemble: Cut the slices of Panetonne in half. Use six of the pieces to make the bottom parfait layer in six serving glasses or plates.

Drizzle some of the melted chocolate on each portion. Next, drop a layer of whipped cream into the glasses, using up one third of the cream. Top the cream layer with toasted almonds, using one third of the nuts. Repeat another layer of all ingredients. Top with the final layer of Panettone slices.

To finish, dollop another layer of whipped cream, using it all up, and sprinkle the remaining almonds and drizzle remaining melted chocolate on top of each parfait.

Buon appetito!