Lidia Bastianich immigrated to America as a young child, and food got her family through difficult days in refugee camps and as newcomers to America.
Now she and her family have a food empire that extends from New York to Los Angeles and includes three restaurants in Las Vegas that she and her son co-own with Mario Batali. Bastianich also just released a cookbook called Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking. She will share her secrets to authentic Italian cooking at home.
Anise is a favorite Italian flavoring, especially for cookies. Serve these with espresso coffee and some anisette liqueur, and you will take your guests to Italy.
Makes about 48 cookies
1¾ cups all- purpose flour
1 cup fine semolina
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sambuca
½ teaspoon anise extract
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon anise extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
In a bowl, stir together fl our, semolina, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a spouted measuring cup, whisk together the egg, yolks, sambuca, and anise extract. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until the combination is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg- yolk mixture to the mixer, and beat on medium until smooth. Add the flour mixture, and beat on low just until combined. Remove dough from mixing bowl, wrap it with plastic, and chill it until firm, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the dough into four dozen balls, and bake in batches on parchment- lined sheet pans, rotating the pans from the top to bottom racks in your oven halfway through the baking time, until golden, about 16 to 18 minutes per batch. Cool completely on racks.
For the glaze: Whisk the milk and anise extract into the confectioners’ sugar to make a smooth glaze about the thickness of pancake batter. Add a little more milk or confectioners’ sugar to adjust the consistency. Dip or drizzle the cookies with glaze, and let set on a rack.
Excerpted from LIDIA’S COMMONSENSE ITALIAN COOKINGby Lidia Bastianich. Copyright © 2013 by Tutti a Tavola, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.