Cooking Show is a video series documenting the preparation of a single dish. From professional chefs to home cooks and everyone in between, we are peeking into Pittsburgh kitchens to watch local experts at work. Watch more in this series here.
Acclaimed television host, restaurateur, author, and chef Lidia Bastianich got her start in the restaurant business in 1971, opening Buonavia in Flushing Meadows, Queens with her then husband Felice Bastianich. After consolidating Buonavia and a second restaurant, the couple opened Felidia to wide acclaim. This success created a template that resulted in a series of successful family-run restaurants in New York and two national endeavors—Lidia’s Kansas City and, of course, Lidia’s Pittsburgh. A partnership with her son Joe and celebrity chef Mario Batali yielded Eataly, a Manhattan restaurant with satellite locations in Chicago and São Paulo. A 1993 guest spot on Julia Child’s Cooking with Master Chefs jump-started Bastianich’s interest in television, and after a series of public television cooking shows and specials, in 2013 she was awarded an Emmy. A deep catalog of cookbooks runs parallel to her various television series, and Bastianich has also launched a line of commercial cookware for QVC. She’s also cooked meals for the past two popes.
For this episode of Cooking Show, watch Lidia Bastianich prepare two dishes in the kitchen of Lidia’s Pittsburgh using recycled ingredients. Leftover pasta and cooked vegetables are given new life in the form of a frittata, while a panzanella is a perfect solution to rescuing stale bread. In extolling the virtues of homecooking—choosing how to eat, reducing costs, and adding nutrition—Bastianich discusses the “beauty of recycling food” and how we should “feel free, feel comfortable, feel confident” when creating in the kitchen. “I don’t buy ‘I can’t cook,'” she says, “because everybody can cook something.”