One of the many reasons Italian food took hold in this country is that so much of it seems like the home cooking we wished for as kids when our working parents settled a few too many weeknights for TV dinners and fast-food burgers, the precursors to the trend now known as Home Meal Replacement. As grown-ups, a lot of us replace more than a few home meals with restaurant meals and we gravitate toward the comforting flavors of the Italian table. Indeed the food at one of this country's great Italian restaurants, Lidia Bastianich's Felida in New York, tastes as if it were made by the world's best mom cook. Bastianich is not well-known outside the food world, but her new PBS series may change that. Meanwhile, the companion book to the television series, "Lidia's Italian Table" (William Morrow, $26), stands on its own as a book full of great recipes and advice--how to prepare fresh fava beans, the rules of risotto--that most of our mothers never gave us.