Italian chef Lidia Bastianich is a famed TV personality, cookbook author and restaurateur -- and now she's written a second children's book, "Nonna's Birthday Surprise" (R.P. Kids, $16.95), aimed at getting kids to embrace seasonally available foods. Here's a recipe you can find in her new book:
- 1 pound two-day old country-style bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about eight cups)
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes at room temperature, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about four cups)
- 1 cup red onion, sliced
- 12 fresh basil leaves, shredded
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh basil sprigs
In a large bowl, toss bread, tomatoes, onion and shredded basil leaves until well mixed. Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the salad, and toss to mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Decorate with sprigs of fresh basil.
Pull basil leaves off the stems and shred them; grind pepper; toss the ingredients in the large bowl, and mix; and measure the oil and vinegar to dress the salad.