By Liza Hamm
Updated January 10, 2011 12:00 PM

AGE 42 | HEIGHT 6’1″

When it came to diets, “I tried everything,” says MasterChef judge Joe Bastianich-who grew up in a famed foodie family led by his mom, Italian cooking legend Lidia Bastianich. “I couldn’t moderate my consumption.” But after being diagnosed with sleep apnea in ’06, the restaurateur decided it was time to make a change and started running. Now an avid marathoner, “I eat smaller portions more often, and I’ve eaten more pasta than ever!” says the New Yorker, who lost 50 lbs. “I used to look at food as a reward. Now I look at it as fuel for my body.”


NOW 205 LBS.



Serves: 4

2 lbs. Swiss chard, large stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-in. strips

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper

1 (26 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1. Add chard to a large pot of boiling water and simmer over moderate heat until tender, 8 minutes. Cool slightly, then drain and gently squeeze out excess liquid.

2. In the same saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat, and cook garlic and crushed red pepper until garlic is golden, 1 minute.

3. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add beans and simmer over moderately high heat for 3 minutes.

4. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until the flavors meld, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Serves: 4

1 12-oz. boneless sirloin steak

2½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus a little more

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. coarsely ground salt

1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

4 cups arugula

¼ cup thickly shaved Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Balsamic vinegar to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and garlic in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Coat the meat with about 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Season both sides of meat with salt and pepper.

4. Sear meat in hot skillet 3 minutes per side, moving as little as possible.

5. Using an oven mitt, transfer meat to the oven and cook until medium rare, no more than 3 minutes.

6. Remove meat from oven, let rest 3 to 4 minutes and slice against the grain into ½-in.-thick pieces.

7. Divide arugula among 4 plates and top each with 4 to 5 slices of steak.

8. Top each plate with 2 or 3 cheese shavings and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.



Serves: 4

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed

1 tsp. fresh oregano

1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

½ lb. dry spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine

A few basil leaves

¼ cup grated Grana Padano (or any hard Italian cheese)

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden brown, 2 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes. Simmer over very low heat for 30 minutes, adding water by the ¼ cup to keep sauce from becoming too thick (you can use leftover pasta water).

3. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.

4. Cook pasta in a large pot of heavily salted boiling water according to package instructions; reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water.

5. Add pasta to reserved tomato sauce in saucepan and finish cooking pasta, 2 to 3 minutes, adding ¼ pasta water to moisten if necessary.

6. Divide among 4 plates and garnish with basil leaves and grated cheese.