KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (CBS) – She’s a restaurant owner, a TV presenter, and an author.  But all this chef really wants to do is to bring a taste of Italy to your dinner table.

“Cooking Italian is all about simplicity,” says Lidia Bastianic.

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Bastianich does the tough but tasty work — traveling back and forth to Italy a half-dozen times a year — to collect stories and recipes for her PBS television show and her latest book, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy (Alfred A. Knopf, $30).

She was at Williams-Sonoma at the King of Prussia Mall on Monday to sign copies of her sixth book.

“The first thing we do when we travel, you need to eat the food.  Then you really understand the country, the people, the climate, the topography,” she said. “Everything comes through in the food.”

For a taste that pops, she advises, start with two ingredients.

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“Buy and cook locally, buy and cook and eat seasonally.”

Bastianich tells us how to bring out the flavor of fresh late-spring and summer zucchini in her recipe for a saffron-infused Maccheroni all’Aquilana.

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“It is just beautiful.”

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Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio