May 7 — What better way to honor mom’s around the world than to treat her to a home cooked meal! Some of the top chefs along with their moms prepare some of their favorite dishes. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich of the PBS series, “Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen” and author of a companion book of the same name, and her mom, Erminia matticchio create their favorite Mother’s Day recipes. Check them out below.
Bocconcini, literally “little mouthfuls,” are small rounds of fresh mozzarella that are often sold wherever larger rounds of fresh mozzarella are made. ( If you can find bocconcini made from water buffalo’s milk, they’re even better for this pasta.) Bocconcini can vary in size from store to store. If yours are larger than the type called ciliege (cherries), you may want to cut them into quarters, so they fit neatly on a spoon alongside the pasta. If you can’t find bocconcini of any type, cut larger pieces of fresh mozzarella into 1-inch cubes.Recipe: MOSTACCIOLI WITH FRESH BASIL AND MOZZARELLA (on this page)
For this dish I prefer luganega, a thin (about 1/2-inch-wide) pork sausage seasoned only with salt and pepper and without fennel or other seeds. If that is unavailable, use the wider (about 1-inch-thick) sweet pork sausages, preferably made without aromatic seeds of any kind. Cut the smaller luganega into 1-inch lengths, and the wider sausages into 1/2-inch lengths.
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When I cook a whole chicken, or any chicken on the bone, I always salt it three times: in its raw state, when I first begin to cook it, and as it finishes cooking. It seems that the first two saltings are absorbed and somewhat dissipated, especially if you add more ingredients as the chicken cooks. The last salting should be to balance the whole act. Each time you salt, it should be done judiciously, to avoid oversalting and ruining the dish.
Recipe: CHICKEN BITES WITH POTATO, SAUSAGES, AND VINEGAR (on this page)
Recipe: ESCAROLE BRAISED WITH OIL AND GARLIC (on this page)
Recipe: SWEET CREPES (on this page)
Recipe: PINE NUT COOKIES (on this page)
If you cannot find almond paste, try the following variation, which will yield equally delicious cookies with a slightly grainier consistency than those made with store-bought almond paste. Grind 1 pound blanched slivered almonds and 1 1/2 cups sugar to as fine a paste as possible in a food processor, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the workbowl. Add 3 large egg whites and continue mixing until the whites are thoroughly incorporated and the batter is smooth. Continue to roll, coat, and bake the cookies as described above.