Lidia Bastianich made these cookies one Saturday afternoon and they sounded simple and delicious. As luck would have it, both of those things are true. If you’ve never heard of her, Lidia Bastianich hosts Lidia’s Italy on PBS. She’s friendly, matter-of-fact, doesn’t waste a drop of any ingredient she uses and shares wonderful recipes. Her recipes are a bit rustic with nothing too fancy or out-of-reach to the average home cook. I love her bright button-down shirts and her wisp of short hair. When she tastes her food, it’s a generous bite.
Her son, Joe, sometimes appears on the show and he’s one of the judges on one of those cooking shows. He seems to totter between annoyed and completely bored, so of course, I love when he’s on the show. I call Marc over to the tv if he isn’t already in the room. We can’t wait to see what kind of mood he’s in that day. The family member I love the most, though, is Grandma, Lidia’s sweet Mom.
Grandma is in her 90’s and is just the cutest thing. She’s short with soft white hair and wears a bold color on her thin lips for tv. Lidia invites Grandma in the kitchen when she makes her favorite foods and these pignoli cookies or Italian pine nut cookies are one of her favorites. Lidia hands her a cooled cookie and Grandma says, “Mmmmmm” while shaking her head side to side in happiness. It’s her thing. Gosh, I love her.
It seems appropriate that we are talking about Moms when Mother’s Day is this weekend in the US. I made these cookies for a friend’s birthday and I’m making another batch for my Mom who’s favorite food is almond paste. I think she’s going to flip for these. They also happen to be naturally gluten-free.
I changed Lidia’s recipe a bit and I’m sure hers are fantastic, but I wanted to kick back the sugar a little because almond paste already contains sugar. I also made some other slight changes and these turned out perfect. After a few pulses in the food processor, you’re only minutes away from delicious almondy cookies. Maybe your Mom would love these. Maybe you would love these.