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She's taught us every facet of Italian cookingfrom traditional and regional to seasonal and contemporary. She even made us fall in love with pasta again by opening us up to lighter, healthier versions that don't weigh us down. Now the Food Network star and bestselling author ofEveryday Pasta, Giada De Laurentiis, takes us down a new path, sharing her love of food with clean, vibrant, simple flavors and bursts of bright colors that look as beautiful on the plate as they are delicious. Yes, you will still find those fabulous recipes she remembers so fondly from family meals, but you'll also find updated twists on classic trattoria favoritesCalifornia-inflected, hearty but not overwhelming, and with the perfect balance of healthfulness and terrific flavor. Wouldn't you love a faster, lighter take on osso buco (here made with turkey instead of veal), a salad with real substance (like one of cantaloupe, red onion, and walnuts), and fish that gets an Italian makeover by way of lots of fresh veggies and accents such as fennel and grapefruit salsa? And let's not forget dessert. After all, what's not to adore about little doughnuts dipped in chocolate sauce? Ranging from soups and snacks to easy entrees and elegant dinner-party fare, Giada's recipes are perfect for any day of the week. And for the first time, she includes a full section of dishes that the little ones will love making as much as they love eating (like mini chicken meatballs). With something to please everyone at your table,Giada's Kitchendeliciously demonstrates why Giada De Laurentiis has become America's best-loved Italian cook. Italy meets California In Giada De Laurentiis's collection of 100 new recipes, she focuses on fresh ingredients, simple preparation, and bright flavors. Anyone who wants to indulge in the pleasures of Italian food without feeling weighed down will find inspiration for delicious, hearty yet healthy weekday meals. Giada's recipes satisfy both our desire to eat with gusto and to feel good about what we eat.
GIADA DE LAURENTIIS is the star of Food Network’s Everyday Italian, Giada’s Weekend Getaways, and Giada in Paradise. She attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in Los Angeles. This is her fourth book.
Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Skewers
Everyone seems to love this simple combination of clean, fresh flavors. If watermelon is not in season you can substitute cantaloupe, but for a burst of pure flavor that really plays off the herbal flavor of the tomatoes, you can’t beat watermelon. Stacking the skewers vertically and serving them upright looks especially elegant.
6 to 8 servings
¼ cup balsamic vinegar ¼ cup sugar 1 4- to 5-pound seedless watermelon 60 small basil leaves (or torn larger leaves) 16 cherry tomatoes, halved 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Coarse or kosher salt Special equipment: 16 (6-inch) wooden skewers
Combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Cut the top and bottom off the watermelon, then make 4 straight cuts down the sides so you have a cube of rindless watermelon. Cut the cube into 1½-inch slices, then cut the slices into 1½-inch cubes. Assemble the skewers by pushing a basil leaf to the end of one skewer. Then skewer a cube of watermelon, then a tomato half. Continue with another watermelon cube, basil leaf, and tomato half, ending with a basil leaf. Repeat to make 15 more skewers.
Drizzle the skewers with the reserved balsamic syrup and the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Serve.
Whole-Wheat Linguine with Green Beans, Ricotta, and Lemon Serves 4 to 6 servings
Not all cream sauces are super-rich. This pasta gets its creamy sauce from a combination of part-skim ricotta and pasta water, which come together to make a really easy, lighter cream sauce. Don’t leave out the lemon zest; it brightens the flavor and adds a wonderful lemony aroma as well.
• 1 pound whole-wheat linguine • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese • 3 tablespoons olive oil • 1/2 pound French green beans (haricots verts), trimmed and halved lengthwise • 1 garlic clove, chopped • 1 teaspoon salt • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes • Zest of 1 lemon
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the hot pasta to a large heat-proof bowl and add the ricotta. Toss to combine.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the green beans, garlic, salt, and pepper and saute for 4 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking liquid and continue cooking until the beans are tender, about 4 more minutes. Add the ricotta-coated pasta to the pan with the green beans and toss to combine. Add the tomatoes and toss gently. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Serve.