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Traditional Chicken and Rice by Lidia Bastianich (Win the cookbook!)

Traditional Rice and Chicken - Riso alla Pitocca by Lidia Bastianich This dish just screams come in from the cold and fill your belly. It’s loaded with flavor, along with chunks of tender chicken and perfectly creamy rice. Filled with tiny bits of carrot, celery and onion, and some parmesan cheese that’s been stirred in until melty--it’s comfort food at it’s best. “Here is a dish that rivals risotto for flavor but is much simpler to make,” Lidia says about this dish.

The randomly chosen winner of the cookbook is Jen B. Congrats, Jen, and thank you to everyone that entered! 

I love Lidia Bastianich--I always have. She not only makes the most amazing Italian food, but I find her comforting. Her voice is calming to me. I want to be in her kitchen and have her talk me through making all of her recipes. Weird? Of course not! If you like more information on Lidia, check out her site, Lidia’s Italy. It’s filled with information, including recipes, a blog, Lidia’s appearance schedule, and more.

I recently received a copy of her new book, Lidia's Favorite Recipes: 100 Foolproof Italian Dishes, from Basic Sauces to Irresistible Entrees. I’m in love with this cookbook! These recipes are the ones that you’ll want to make and share with the ones you love. These aren’t over complicated dishes to make, either. There are no crazy long ingredient lists using fifteen pans to prepare and serve. They’re family style--and suitable for weeknight dinners as well as hearty Sunday dinners.

Lidia's Favorite Recipes

From the book’s dust jacket: “Lidia Bastianich—one of the most beloved chefs and authors in America—presents her most accessible and affordable cookbook to date, a gathering of the recipes that have become her go-to meals for her very own family. But these are not only Lidia’s personal favorites; this book is a love letter to her fans. Here, she is giving us the recipes for dishes that you have raved and written about over and over—the best, the most comforting, and the most delicious dishes in her repertoire.

  From the classic sauces to the delicious desserts, these recipes have been revised and updated to be more concise and clear, but just as soul-satisfying as ever. With new information about the affordability, seasonality, and nutritional value of the ingredients, this book shows there is no question why these dishes are the easiest and most enjoyable to bring to the family table for your most memorable moments. Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color photographs, Lidia’s Favorite Recipes will give both new cooks and longtime fans something extraordinary to celebrate.”

This chicken and rice dish is a convenient one pot meal, and it’s ready quickly enough to be a weeknight meal, but also wonderful on those cold weekend afternoons and evenings. It’s also an inexpensive meal. I’m going to give you one warning, though. It’s filling! It’ll stick to your ribs, for sure. Take a serving that’s a little less than how hungry you feel, then go back for more if you think you need it. I’ve made this about five times already, and I still haven’t gotten this though my head. It’s just so tasty that I can’t help myself. It’s also husband and kid-approved, and let’s just say that it isn’t pretty when we fight about who gets the leftovers.

Traditional Rice and Chicken - Riso alla Pitocca by Lidia Bastianich

Traditional Rice and Chicken

Riso alla Pitocca by Lidia Bastianich
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup onion cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup carrot cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup celery cut into 1 inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled (I use 3, or 4 if they're smallish)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt (I use 2 teaspoons. Always better to start with less and season later!)
1 fresh bay leaf (I use 2 dried bay leaves)
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups hot chicken or turkey stock (I use Better than Bouillon, which explains why I use less salt.)
2 cups Italian short grain rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli (For great creamy risotto texture, don't substitute.)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for passing


Trim any extra fat from the chicken and cut the thighs into 1 inch chunks, set aside. In a food processor, mince the onion, carrot, celery and garlic into a fine textured pestata. Not a puree, not large chunks, but in between--minced.

Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan with a lid, and set over medium high heat. (Seriously, a large pan. At least a 12 inch pan with a fairly high side, or a large saucepan. This dish grows as it cooks.) Stir in the pestata and and season with one teaspoon of the salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pestata has dried.

Toss in the chicken and the bay leaf (or leaves), and sprinkle with one more teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the chicken is browning and caramelizing. Raise the heat and add the wine, stirring and deglazing the pan. Cook until the most of the wine has evaporated. While stirring, pour in the hot stock and the rice. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to keep it bubbling gently (a nice low-ish simmer). Cook for 14-17 minutes (It's 14 for Lidia, and about 17 minutes for me.), or until the rice and chicken are fully cooked and the rice is a creamy consistency.

Turn off the heat and drop in the butter, stirring until it's completely incorporated, then stir in the parsley and the 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Check for seasoning  now. Spoon into pasta bowls and serve immediately with additional cheese to pass around at the table.

  • As you can see, I forgot the fresh parsley. D’oh!
  • This is a great dish to make and take to a friend/family in need of some nourishing love. New parents, friends dealing with a crisis, sick friends--you get the idea.




Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Has generously offered to give a copy of Lidia’s Favorite Recipes to one of you! And entering is so easy…

  • Just leave a comment here. That’s it!
  • If you’d like additional entries, you can share this on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+. Leave an additional comment for each share here on this post letting me know you did.

I’ll choose the random winner (US only) on Thursday, January 31st. Good luck!

Traditional Rice and Chicken - Riso alla Pitocca by Lidia Bastianich

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of Lidia's Favorite Recipes at no cost to me. Alfred A. Knopf/Random House will be providing the prize for this cookbook giveaway and will send the prize directly to the winner. I did not accept monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.



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Reader Comments (49)

Oooh, that looks fantastic. Maybe, just maybe, I can get my "all foods must be separate" boys to try it? If not, I'll be set for lunch for a week, too. Can't lose! Hope I win the giveaway, too!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

Elle - that looks AMAZING. I am so going to have to make that.

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShelley

Another recipe from you bookmarked to make next week Elle. And another contest that I'm hoping for the best.

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Sholin

i would love to win this book!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterellen zemaitis

This looks so delicious ... and I'd love to add this cookbook to my collection!

question on the recipe instructions - what is pestata ? is that the pureed onion, celery and garlic mixture ? I think yes but would like to confirm since I'm not familiar with that term. Thanks!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoreen

I'd love to have this cookbook. But whether I'm lucky enough to win it or not, I'm making this dish this week!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerri @ Terri's Table

Shared this on Facebook!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerri @ Terri's Table

Also shared on Pinterest in my "Food from Other Blogs" folder.

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerri @ Terri's Table

This looks delicious! We've got some snow moving in tonight and this might just be the perfect thing to make to greet my family coming in from the cold. (I like that you used Better Than Bouillon. It is fantastic.)

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Hi Doreen! Yes, the pestata is the minced onion, carrots, celery and garlic.

January 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterElle

This looks wonderfully yummy! I love Lidia's show and watch her all the time......Italian food is my favorite!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

This recipe looks great. I can't wait to try it. I'm so hungry right now. I'm about to bite my laptop screen.

Any suggestions on white wine type and quality? How much does that impact the flavor?

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterA Lowly Apprentice

Following your blog and trying your recipes...this cookbook "Lidia's Favorite Recipes"
looks like a good collector book for Italian recipes...Thanks for posting it :)

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSClucky

Winner! I made this tonight and it was just as promised...homey, comforting, creamy, and delicious. Our cooktop is electric (sigh) and so I found that I had to simmer for about 23 minutes, and I needed to add about a cup more of liquid, but it turned out beautifully. We would totally make it again, but would probably halve it for the two of us, and even then we'd have plenty for leftovers. I can't recommend this highly enough. Thanks so much for posting the recipe, Elle - we loved it!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBabette

Thank you, Babette!

January 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterElle

Lidia is one of my very favorite cooks, but I have never been able to afford one of her cookbooks. I most certainly would LOVE to win this -- particularly because you love it so much!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Thank you for this great giveaway. I love Lidia.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

This looks like a perfect dinner on a chilly evening.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLarry

Lidia has a restaurant close to where I live. I always wanted to go there, but its one of those places that doesn't have the prices on the menu... i.e. way out of our price range. I would love to win the cookbook. Thanks for the opportunity!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

this looks delicious, I watch her programs faithfully and love the way she guides you in cooking. I think she'd be wonderful to hang out in the kitchen with, I could learn so much! I'd love the cookbook!!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

This looks fantastic. Thanks for the giveaway.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKat

Love Lidia! Love her restaurant in Pittsburgh!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElin

This looks like a great comfort food recipe for the cold weather. I like to watch Lidia's cooking show on PBS. Thanks for the chance to win her cookbook!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy L

Aaaaaaaaaaand that's dinner tonight! Wow, what a great recipe! And your blog is gorgeous!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen N

Looks fantastic Elle! Cant wait to try it! We went to see her last year when she came to Lowell.
Wonderful evening, very personable, entertaining, and informative. I hope she comes back again.... Made her Baked Ziti from Lidia's Italy in America last Sunday for dinner.... I would love to win this one!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen B.

I too, love to watch and listen to Lidia. I have a couple of her cookbooks, but haven't gotten this one yet, so the opportunity to win it is fantastic! Thanks for a great giveaway.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBabs


January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen B.

Awesome giveaway!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia C

I love Lidia! And I would love to have this cookbook!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEileen Pizer

Shared also....

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjen b.

That looks amazing, already decided to make after grocery shopping. I don't think anyone will turn that down. I love watching Lidia, she's always confident that you can make it & has her grandchildren prove it! I love when Grandma comes to taste everything too. Her history & her family's is is interesting & inspiring. You can tell I just love her & her recipes. I'd love to have her newest cookbook. Thanks for the chance.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Harris

Lidia is one of my favorite cooks! This recipe looks delicious -- and I'd love to own her cookbook!

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSchmidty

I posed on my fb wall -

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSchmidty

My pin

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSchmidty


January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSchmidty

My G+ share -

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSchmidty

tweet -

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSchmidty

Love her and would love the cookbook!

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I too am a fan of Lidia and the food she prepares!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteruncleers

Elle, I have heard amazing things about this cookbook, and from the sounds of this recipe (and the photo) this dish is something we'd love to eat! Easy comfort food, Italian style!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

You are right this is a fantastic book! If I win I will share with a friend because I just got my copy yesterday! Thanks Elle!

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

I love Lidia! She reminds me so much of my Nonna! I'd love to win this cookbook!

Elle, what a great book! I love Italian food a Very Lot, and I really appreciate that Lidia has gathered together some lovely "home cooking" recipes and techniques.

And you're not kidding--this chicken dish *is* comfort food at its best! Thanks for such a fun giveaway!

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

Lydia has been on PBS for years - and I have been a great fan of hers. What a wonderful prize.
Thank you for offering it.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat Vasil

This book sounds fantastic. Love Lidia's recipes.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRona

If only Lidia could be teleported to my kitchen with her 100 Italian recipes! I'm looking forward to the day that I don't have to work 2 jobs & come home to a bowl of cereal because I'm too exhausted to cook. Until then, I love reading about real food.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

I wasn't too familiar with Lidia Bastianich until I saw her on The Chew. I really enjoyed watching her cook and made a mental note to check out her cookbooks the next time I went to a book store. Winning this book would be great! Thanks for the opportunity.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy S.

I would love to win this book to give to my mother who loves Lidia! Of course, then she might lend me the book later. :) Win-win!

February 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

Happy Dance!!!! I'm tickled pink.....

Thank you!!!!!

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen B.

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