"Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking" features 150 delicious Italian recipes everyone can master. Lidia Bastianich shows you how to prepare a few warm dishes perfect for your next autumn get-together.
PEAR BREAD PUDDING
Budino di Pere e Pane
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream, plus more to whip for garnish
4 cups day- old ½- inch country- bread cubes, crusts removed
2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into ½- inch chunks
¹⁄³ cup blanched sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the baking dish with softened butter. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the vanilla, and lemon zest, and whisk to lighten the mixture. Whisk in the milk and heavy cream. Add the bread and pears, and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the almond slices. Bake until the pudding is set and puffy and the top is golden, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes; serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with whipped cream.
CHICKEN BREAST WITH ORANGE AND GAETA OLIVES
Pollo con Olive ed Aranci
2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ pounds thinly sliced chicken cutlets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
All- purpose flour, for dredging
1 large red onion, sliced
1 cup pitted Gaeta or Kalamata olives, halved
Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup white wine
1 teaspoon fennel powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian Parsley
In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon of salt, and lightly dredge it in flour. Lightly brown the chicken in the skillet (you want the chicken to end up with a blond- colored crust) on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cook the chicken in batches if necessary, depending on the size of your skillet. Remove pieces to a plate as they color.
Once the chicken is colored, add the butter and onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the olives, orange juice and zest, white wine, and fennel powder. Put chicken back in the skillet, and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce coats the chicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with remaining salt, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.