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Video: Try mapped-out Italian meals from Lidia Bastianich

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    >>> your mapped out weekly meals. olivia bastianich from here in new york city has the planning for us. god morni good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> i love this. you do the marinara sauce on sunday.

    >> sunday, you make a double portion. all you need are four ingredients. get it done. put it away in the freezer and refrigerator and the first course, the first day.

    >> reporter: first thing we're ha having, baked ed rigatoni with the zucchini.

    >> onion, olive oil and zucchini. rigatoni, which are cooked right in there. this is the kitchen, after all.

    >> okay.

    >> you mix it well just like that. get it nice and thoroughly mixed and you put it back in, when it comes out.

    >> our one-second rule.

    >> yeah, yeah, yeah. then you get yourself a nice baking pan , pour it right in there.

    >> a few seconds like that on there?

    >> just a few seconds. you're going to bake it anyway.

    >> okay.

    >> okay? let's get all of that in. sprinkle it a little bit with cheese. go ahead. you can do that.

    >> what kind of cheeses are you doing?

    >> not like that. get your hands in there. sprinkle it.

    >> i was a little scared.

    >> of what? of who?

    >> i don't know. just messing up. i have a history, you have to know.

    >> i'll correct whatever you do wrong.

    >> some basil?

    >> yes, please, always.

    >> put it in the oven 20 minutes . this is what you get. one meal, nice salad next to it. monday is done. now to tuesday.

    >> we have got chicken.

    >> exactly. take chicken, just like that. right next to it, you saw today some mushrooms. you put that right on top of the chicken.

    >> what kind of mushrooms? could you use any mushroom?

    >> shitake. you could use any one that you have. portabella, porchini. marinara, wine stock. put in the sage.

    >> throwing it right in there?

    >> right in here right on top.

    >> where?

    >> that's it.

    >> the butter, throw in the butter.

    >> okay.

    >> all right. one-pot meal.

    >> wine, go next, wine.

    >> wine?

    >> yes, the wine. half of that.

    >> half?

    >> yes. stock.

    >> what kind of stock?

    >> chicken, vegetable, any stock. put the marinara.

    >> the whole thing?

    >> yeah, around. not on top of the chicken.

    >> sorry, sorry.

    >> no.

    >> that's okay. t cheese on top of this.

    >> on top of the chicken?

    >> right.

    >> this looks like parmesan to me.

    >> just like that. you cover it and you let it simmer and this is what you end up with.

    >> it looks beautiful. why do we only use half the wine?

    >> you can drink the rest.

    >> i don't like to see wine was wasted.

    >> it depends how long you want it to cook.

    >> what are our other two?

    >> shrimp with vegetables. onions, scallions, zucchini, marinara, shrimp the last minute on top of rice or take the whole pot of marinara, put some meatballs, make some meatballs, boil them in 20 minutes , get a sandwich or make pasta.

    >> what kind of meat do you put in your meatballs, a mix?

    >> i do a mix but in a pinch take sausage out of the casing and shape them.

    >> you do, actually. go for it.

    >> by the way, if you want to see the recipes and the shopping list , they're all on today.com. we have the time, they're telling me, to see you --

    >> i need a fork.

    >> here we go. we'll get a fork.

    >> we're back after a check of your local news.

TODAY recipes
updated 3/1/2013 6:14:26 PM ET 2013-03-01T23:14:26

Lidia Bastianich makes an Italian feast that takes you through four meals, including baked rigatoni, skillet gratinate with chicken, shrimp marinara and meatballs.

Grocery list:

Extra virgin olive oil

Unsalted butter

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2 large eggs

8 oz Muenster or Taleggio cheese

2 c grated Grana Padano cheese

2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breasts or chicken tenders

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground veal



Bread crumbs

1 c vegetable broth or stock

1 c white wine


12 Shiitaki mushrooms

Bunch scallions

3 zucchini

Red, yellow bell pepper



Recipe: Baked rigatoni and zucchini

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 pound medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups of marinara sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces shredded Muenster cheese or Taleggio
  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
  • For marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2- 35 oz cans of Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For marinara sauce:
Heat the oil in a 2 to 3-quart non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Whack the garlic with the flat side of a knife, add it to the oil and cook until lightly browned.

Crush the tomatoes by hand or pass through a vegetable mill, slide the crushed tomatoes and their liquid into the oil, bring to a boil and season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper. Lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer and cook, breaking up the tomatoes with a whisk or spoon, until the sauce is chunky and thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in the basil about 5 minutes before the sauce is finished. Taste the sauce and season with salt and red pepper if necessary.

Remove garlic cloves, let cool and store in pint and quart containers, mark the containers with date and name of sauce before freezing. It will keep well in the freezer for 1 to 2 months.

For baked rigatoni:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini, and cook until zucchini begins to soften, another 5 minutes. 

Add the Marinara sauce to the skillet.  Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer just until the sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes, but don't let the zucchini begin to fall apart.

Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni until al dente, a few minutes shy of the package directions.  Drain the pasta and toss in the skillet with the tomato sauce and basil.  Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.  In a medium bowl toss together the 2 grated cheeses.  Spread half the pasta and sauce in the baking dish and top with half the cheese.  Layer the remaining pasta and sauce, then the remaining cheese.  Bake uncovered until browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Serving Size

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Recipe: Skillet gratinate of mushrooms and chicken

  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts or chicken tenders
  • 12 large Shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup flour, or more, for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • For sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1 cup Marinara Sauce
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 3/4 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
  • 1 cup hot simple vegetable broth or stock, if needed

Place a rack in the center or upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

If the chicken breasts are whole, cut them in half. Trim off any bits of fat, skin or tendon. Flatten each breast half with a mallet (or the flat bottom of a heavy pan) to an even thickness, about 3/4-inch.

Trim the stem and wash the mushrooms caps and pat them dry.

Put 3 tablespoons of the olive oil into the skillet, tilt to coat the bottom and set it over medium heat.

Toss the mushroom caps in flour to coat well, pat off any excess, and lay them into the pan. Keep the heat moderate and let the pieces caramelize slowly for about 4 minutes. Turn when the edges are nicely browned on the underside; fry for about 2 minutes on the second side. With a slotted spatula, lift the mushrooms to a plate or tray with paper towels and salt lightly. Fry the remaining mushroom caps in the same way and salt them.

When the mushrooms are done, turn off the heat but leave all the oil in the skillet.

On the stovetop:
Have all of your gratinate and sauce ingredients handy to the stove.

You should have at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet (add a bit if needed). Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and set the pan over low-medium heat.

Salt the chicken pieces lightly, flop them in the dredging flour to coat on both sides, and pat off excess. When the butter is just beginning to sizzle, arrange all six cutlets in the pan. Cook them gently for a minute and a half, and then turn them over: they should be very lightly colored, with no browning.

Maintain the gentle cooking while you assemble the gratinate.

Sprinkle the chicken again with salt (using 1/2 teaspoon total for the dish).

Spread a heaping tablespoon of Marinara sauce on top of each cutlet.

Arrange the mushroom caps on top of the sauced chicken, use 2 mushroom caps per piece of chicken.

Now raise the heat a bit and begin to develop the sauce:

Drop the remaining butter, in small pieces, in between the layered cutlets.

After a few seconds, pour in 2/3 cup of the wine around the cutlets and let it heat briefly, 10 to 20 seconds.

Spoon the rest of the cup of Marinara sauce into the pan (not on the chicken).

Bring to a simmer, and then drop the sage into the sauce all around the pan.

Give the pan a gentle shake, or two, to mix and emulsify the sauce ingredients.

Finally, sprinkle two tablespoons of grated cheese evenly over each mushroom-topped mound.

At this point, the sauce should be about 1/3-inch deep in your pan or even higher, coming well up the sides of the chicken cutlets. If not, pour in the rest of the wine and as much hot water or stock as necessary. Raise the heat again to bring the pan sauce to an active simmer.

Serving Size

Makes 6 servings

Recipe: Shrimp and vegetables marinara

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 cups of Marinara sauce
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in 2-by-1/2-inch strips
  • 1 red, 1 yellow bell pepper, cut in 2-by-1/2-inch strips
  • 1 cup of defrosted peas or fava beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, shredded

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add garlic. Let the garlic sizzle a minute, then add the peppers. Cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the Marinara bring to a rapid simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add the scallions, peas or fava bean and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook another 5 minutes, then stir in the shrimp. Simmer until shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the basil and serve over steamed rice.

Recipe: Meatballs

  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 qts marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine the carrot, celery, and onion in a food processor, pulsing to make a fine-textured paste or pestata. Scrape the pestata into a large bowl, and add the three meats, eggs, oregano, parsley, bread crumbs, and salt, mixing with your hands to combine well. Roll the meat into golf- ball- sized balls, and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. (You should get about forty- eight meatballs.) Bake the meatballs until browned all over, about 18 to 20 minutes. (They do not need to be entirely cooked through, because they will cook more in the Marinara sauce.)

Bring the four quarts of Marinara sauce to a boil, add I qt of water.

When the meatballs have finished baking, gently add them to the sauce and return to a simmer. Simmer, shaking the pan periodically to move (but not break) the meatballs for 20-30 minutes

Serve nice and hot with spaghetti, or garlic mashed potatoes, or make a meatball hero sandwich atop some crusty bread.

Serving Size

Makes about 4 dozen meatballs

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