Celebrity chef, television host, author and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich is joining TODAY to share a few of her favorite warming autumn recipes from her newest cookbook, "Lidia's a Pot, a Pan, and a Bowl: Simple Recipes for Perfect Meals: A Cookbook." She shows us how to make classic chicken cacciatore, savory onion soup with fontina cheese and a rustic roasted squash and carrot salad.
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Think of this as the Italian version of French onion soup. When we were testing this recipe in my kitchen, I had a box of mushrooms in my refrigerator and wanted to use them up. When we sat down to lunch that afternoon, and Tanya tasted the soup, she said, "I don't know why anyone hasn't thought of this before! Onion soup should always have mushrooms in it!"
I like to use tender, light-green escarole hearts in salads such as this one, but don't disregard the darker and tougher outer leaves! They are perfect for braising or shredded in soups. This is an ideal dish to make when we're transitioning from summer to fall, when the fall vegetables are in the market, but the days are still warm enough to warrant a salad for dinner.
I like chicken cacciatore served with polenta, as it's traditionally eaten by game hunters. I recall that when my grandfather brought home a pheasant, hare or boar, Grandma would always prepare a big pot of polenta to go with it.
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