Lidia Bastianich taught, joked and reminisced as she prepared four excellent Italian dishes at the St. Antony Hotel Sunday night. When it was nearly over, though, some in the crowd of about 150 people just hadn't had enough.
"When are you going to put a restaurant in San Antonio?" This question, followed by much appreciative clapping and cheering from the audience, came from a woman during a question-and-answer session. The questioner backed up her request for a Bastianich restaurant by mentioning that the Italian-American chef, whose shows air on Public Television, is much beloved by San Antonio and her supportive fans here feel they know her personally.
"I love writing my books and doing the television shows, but the restaurants I leave up to my son and daughter now," said Bastianich. "But, I do love San Antonio."
The dinner was part of the KLRN-TV Chef Series. The meal was based on recipes from Bastianich's new book, "Lidia Cooks From The Heart of Italy," (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, $35). The book is a companion publication to Lidia's Italy, the 26-part public television series. A new series just began in September.
While Bastianich prepared all of the dishes on a stage at one end of the large ballroom, closeup views were provided to the dining audience by large-screen monitors. The food that was served, however, was prepared by the chef and staff at the St. Anthony. The menu began with an antipasto featuring fall apples with celery root dressed with olive oil and accompanied with prosciutto. The pasta course was Ditalini with Broccoli Raab; the second course was Pesca alla Matalotta, or a fillet of grouper Matalotta Style. Dessert was an Ambrosia of Wheat Berries, Fruit and Chocolate.
Look for recipes for the dishes presented in this meal and more on Lidia on Wednesday, in WalkerSpeak, on SavorSA.