Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California Hardcover – Mar 30 2010
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About the Author
GIADA DE LAURENTIIS is the Emmy-winning star of Food Network’s Everyday Italian, Giada's Weekend Getaways, and Giada at Home; a contributing correspondent for NBC’s Today; and the author of four New York Times bestselling cookbooks. She attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in Los Angeles before starting her own catering company, GDL Foods. Born in Rome, she grew up in Los Angeles, where she now lives with her daughter, Jade.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Stuffed Baby Peppers
From Giada at Home
4 to 6 servings
My mother always loved to serve stuffed vegetables; she stuffed zucchini, potatoes, onions, and, of course, all kinds of peppers. It may have been her way of getting us to eat our vegetables, but we loved them so much we ate them right out of the fridge the next day. I’ve used pancetta in the filling, but this is an easy recipe to vary and you could certainly substitute ground beef, sausage – almost anything savory that you like. These taste better the longer they sit, so they make great leftovers.
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 (2- to 3-inch long) baby peppers
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pancetta, cheeses, and peas. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a paring knife, 1/2 inch from the stem end of each pepper. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the cheese mixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the peppers begin to soften and the cheese is warmed through. Cool for 10 minutes.
Arrange the peppers on a platter and serve.
pea pesto crostini
4 to 6 servings
I don't keep a lot in my freezer, but one thing you'll always find there is a package of frozen peas. They're sweet, they have a lovely green color, and when puréed they can satisfy a craving for a starchy food. If you're not a big fan of peas, at least give this a try. I think it's going to be your new favorite thing. I can't resist eating it straight out of the bowl!
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
8 (½-inch-thick) slices whole-grain baguette or ciabatta bread, preferably day-old
8 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 small tomato, diced
For the pea pesto: Pulse together in a food processor the peas, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. With the machine running, slowly add ⅓ cup of the olive oil and continue to mix until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. For the crostini: Preheat a stovetop griddle or grill pan over medium-high. Brush both sides of each of the bread slices with the remaining ⅓ cup olive oil and grill until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the bread to a platter and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons pesto on each slice. Top each crostini with 2 tomato halves and serve.
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Top Customer Reviews
Recipes are identified in two ways, showing which lean toward classic Italian flavour and which include more of the modern Californian fusion Giada is known for. Some of the antipasto that appealed to my taste were the Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto, the Whole-Wheat Pita chips with Mascarpone-Chive Dip, Tomato basil Tartlets and The Smoked Salmon and Apple Carpaccio. My two year old loves the Butternut squash soup with Fontina cheese crostini. The grilled vegetable, herb, and goat cheese sandwiches make a tasty lunch! Want a gourmet tuna melt? Try the Open-faced tuna sandwiches with Arugula and sweet-pickle mayo. My husband and son are huge pasta fans and they loved the Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and the Pasta Ponza. I'm a fan of the Brown Butter Risotto with Lobster. We love the zipped up old favourites too... like Turkey meatloaf with feta and sun-dried tomatoes. I could go on ... and on. There are wonderful photographs of most of the food (not every recipe is photographed. I also like how you can find all the ingredients at a well stocked grocery store. All I can say now is enjoy!
I cannot remember seeing a cook who took so much pleasure in the preparation of food - perhaps it is because she's preparing for those she loves. Whatever the case, the recipes included in this book are family recipes form Italy and California. Some are generations old recipes (identified by being set in orange type), while others are new family recipes (set in green type). Readers will find that Giada has been happily influenced by what she finds at her local farmer's market - beautiful seasonal fruits and vegetables. Thus, she prepares dishes that spotlight these flavors. Delightful offerings!
GIADA AT HOME begins with Appetizers followed by Soups & Sandwiches, Pasta & Grains, Meat, Poultry & Fish, Vegetables & Salads, Desserts, and Brunch.
Photographs of the dishes by Jonelle Weaver are so real that one is tempted to take a bite. Relaxed candid shots of family and friends allow readers glimpses of the happiness engendered when loved ones gather to share a meal.
For this reader Brunch is one of my favorite chapters, especially as described: 'In Italy weekends are all about the leisurely lunch, a meal that can start any time after one-thirty in the afternoon and might well stretch on into the early evening.' It is the day's 'main event.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Among her most mouth-watering concoctions are the antipasti: prosciutto-wrapped dates stuffed with blended mascarpone and goat cheese; smoked salmon and apple carpaccio; and fried cheese-stuffed zucchini blossoms (I was particularly grateful for her suggestion for testing the heat of the oil: toss a cube of bread into the olive oil--medium heat; when the bread browns, the oil is ready.). Similarly, her salads--"easy to throw together"--are truly inviting: an example is her green-bean salad, seasoned with fresh rosemary, parsley, chopped garlic, drizzled with olive oil (Her advice on choosing the best olive oil is especially enlightening.). Her lentil salad--mixed with grapes and cucumbers, among other ingredients, including hazelnuts--tickles one's tastebuds. And her recipe for Involtini--rolled-up beefsteaks filled with a mixture of various ingredients including garlic and basil--recalled forgotten memories of my father's putting me to work as a child, chopping parsely, garlic, together with something he called "fatback," which I imagine was lard, but which has now been substituted by olive oil. The strings with which he used to tie the involtini together have also been replaced by easier-to-use 4-inch skewers. Merely reading the recipe causes me to remember the aroma of involtini simmering in marinara sauce.
The beauty of these recipes is that they invite one to be adventurous, as the author suggests in combining the best of Italy with the best of California. Are lobster tails too expensive when preparing her divine brown butter risotto? Substitute shrimp. Too much sugar for you in her imaginative strawberry and rosemary scones? Use half the amount! The amazing thing about Italian cooking is that, as the author remarks, it is always "evolving."
Although "Giada at Home" contains some shortcuts, such as her tempting lemon-chicken soup, which calls for "low-sodium chicken broth" and " diced rotisserie chicken" [My father would turn over in his grave if he caught me following her suggestion to break the spaghetti into two-inch pieces!], many of her recipes, such as those which call for slicing, dicing, beating, and grating, require one to spend considerable time in the kitchen.
If you have the patience and enjoy cooking, I am certain that the results will be worth the trouble.
I own tons of cookbooks, I simply have a passion for cookboks. But most of the time I don't cook more than one or two recipes from each book, they tend to spend most of their time on the shelf. Giada's books are the exception to that rule. Her books (and especially this one# are my to go to books. I love that most recipes in this book are easy,fast and uncomplicated everyday kind of meals/recipes, at the same time as they are so delicious, festive and special that they work more than well for special occasions and parties.
I've already tried several recipes from this book and been more than happy with the results. New favorites are the smoked mozzarella meatballs, pasta ponza, gorgonzola stuffed tomatoes and pea crostini. And there are many many more recipes in the book that I'm looking forward to try. Every Sunday, I plan the meals for the upcoming week #a real timesaver for our busy schedule). Every week I always have at least one Giada recipe on the menu, an old favorite or a new one. Like I said, she is the to go to girl when it comes to delicious everyday as well as weekend food.
Yes, there are some heavy and caloric recipes, but I always think that Giada tries to make her recipes a bit lighter. A splash of lemon here and there, small things like that really make her dishes feel lighter and perfect for my taste buds.
It didn't take long for my sister and I to introduce Giada to our parents, who also quickly become fans, and we started welcoming Giada into our kitchen regularly in the form of what we called "Giada dishes." Particularly after my sister and I gave my mother Everyday Pasta for Mother's Day last year, making Giada dishes become a big event that brought the family together. When I had the opportunity to check out Giada's latest cookbook, Giada at Home, I was more than excited and couldn't wait to see what tasty treats she had in store.
Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California builds on the already fabulous library of Giada recipes that put a twist on Italian dishes. This cookbook includes tasty appetizers like stuffed baby peppers (which can easily be turned into a main dish) and beef skewers; a great selection of soups and sandwiches such as white bean and chicken chili and mini Italian pub burgers (a great twist on silders); mouth-watering pastas such as rigatoni with creamy mushroom sauce and penne with treviso and goat cheese; meat selections, such as a succulent turkey meatloaf with feta and sun-dried tomatoes; lovely salads that could become meals on there own; some Italian twists on desserts and, in a unique addition, a selection of Italian-style brunch foods, such as baked provolone and sausage frittata, campanelle pasta salad and even an Italian version of steak and eggs! I particularly liked the blend of more traditional Italian dishes and more modern dishes with a Californian flair. The collision between classic and modern really gave the recipes here some dimension and variety.
Giada at Home follows the standard of gorgeous food photography set forth in previous Giada cookbooks. Along with photos of mouthwatering Italian treats, there are also several photos of Giada and her family, particularly her young daughter, Jade.
My only tiny criticism of this cookbook is that I felt like Giada lost a little bit of her "everyday" aspect here. Some of the recipes got a little too complex or called for ingredients that are a little more difficult to find and have a much stronger appeal to "foodies." While I personally still loved the recipes here, some would have trouble with wide-spread appeal.
Overall though, another fabulous cookbook from Giada!
My first impression was this book is for gourmet chefs, not everyday cooking, which is fine. I wanted more sophisticated dishes and that's what I got. Prep times and cooking times are not included (which is standard in gourmet cookbooks) but serving sizes are included. There are a good variety of recipes, some easy some more complicated. As other reviewers have noted, some of the ingredients used are not typical and require a special trip to the grocer's but I didn't have a problem with that. These recipes, at least for me, are to be used for special occasions so I would have to go to the store anyway.
There is one pet peeve of mine: The book is filled with gorgeous photos, but many of them are of Giada and her family, not the food! I don't know her, do I really need all these photos of her posing with her family? It's especially irksome because not all recipes get photos. I want to know what the food looks like, not these random strangers. It's especially infuriating when, on pg.119 for the chicken and shrimp with pancetta chimichurri recipe, there's a picture of an empty plate with crumbs on it as if someone has just eaten the meal. WHA??? Why do I want a picture of an empty plate??? Why can't I have the picture of what the finished meal would look like? Because of this, the book's emphasis seemed to be on Giada as a personality, not the food itself, which was a bit of a detractor.
Giada at home focuses on family and recipes she loves for family meals. It has great pictures of her with her family, and the dishes are photographed with wonderful detail.
The sections included, along with some top picks are:
Appetizers- Stuffed Baby Peppers, Beef Skewers with cherry tomatoes and parsley sauce, bruchettas and crostinis.
Soups and Sandwiches- Zucchini and Olive pizza, Chicken Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Mayonnaise, Mini Italian Pub burgers and Lemon Chicken Soup with Spaghetti.
Pasta and Grains- Gorgonzola and Porcini Mushroom Risotto, Fusilli with Spicy Pesto, Cheesy Baked Faro and Brown Butter Risotto with Lobster.
Meat, Poultry and Fish- Honey Balsamic Lamb Chops, Grilled Salmon with Citrus Salsa Verde, Grilled Tuscan Steak with Fried Egg and Goat Cheese and Chicken Milanese with Tomato and Fennel Sauce.
Vegetables and Salads- Grilled Asparagus and Melon Salad, Vegetable Parmesan, Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Gorgonzola and Herbs, and Skewered Greek Salad.
Desserts- Espresso Caramel Bars, Lemon Hazelnut Tiramisu, Pomegranate and Mint Sorbet and Chocolate Honey Almond Tart.
Brunch- Ginger Tea Lemonade with Basil, Citrus Salad, Egg White Frittata with Lox and Arugula, and Crispy Parmesan Biscuits.
Those are just a few of the recipes featured in each section.
This is an excellent recipe book that you will find yourself pulling out on a weekly basis.