Best Italian Cook Books: Giada's Kitchen By Giada De Laurentiis


GIADA'S KITCHEN - NEW ITALIAN FAVORITES


If you're looking for a great Italian cookbook, you'll definitely want to check out Giada de Laurentiis' Giada's Kitchen - New Italian Favorites.

This is a splendid little cookbook with all kinds of fantastic Italian food recipes in it. However, most of them are really quite simple in terms of ingredients and very easily prepared.

Her recipes are also "clean" in flavor, meaning you won't feel overwhelmed by heavy sauces and spices. Instead, creating some of her recipes (tweaking them to your dietary preferences if you want), you'll come away feeling as if you've prepared or eaten some of the best dishes Italy has to offer!

Let's take a look at a couple of recipes that I highly recommend!

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GIADA'S KITCHEN - SPAGHETTI WITH LEMON, BASIL AND SALMON


Last night, I was looking for a pasta dish that was quick and on the lighter side in terms of not being smothered in sauce....simply because I really didn't have time to whip up a sauce and had none in the freezer!

This recipe was so easy to prepare I made it in under 20 minutes. But the beauty of this recipe was the mixture of flavors. It is definitely a make many times recipe.

I made just a few tweaks to this recipe and think the recipe is simply perfect as is.



INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound whole grain or whole wheat spaghetti (I used brown rice spaghetti)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I used prepared minced)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt if desired (I used but a sprinkle)
  • Freshly ground pepper if desired (again used a sprinkle)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Maybe 1/4 cup or less of white wine if desired
  • 4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons capers (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (I used fresh regular spinach)
  • Pinch of fresh grated Parmesan or other Italian cheese if desired

METHOD

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil on high. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. You want the pasta to be al dente and not overcooked. Drain the pasta and then place in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle in garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat the pasta.
  3. In large skillet, warm the other olive oil - 1 tablespoon. Salt and pepper the salmon fillets if desired and add to the skillet. Cook about 2 minutes per side, turning once. Test for doneness of the salmon by pressing on it and if it starts to flake, it's perfect.
  4. I added just a tad of white wine to the pan while I was cooking the salmon and let the fish absorb a bit of the wine flavor as well. When fish is flaking, remove from the pan.
  5. Combine the basil, capers, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add to the spaghetti and toss well.
  6. Assemble 4 plates or 4 shallow bowls. Add 1/2 cup of raw spinach leaves to each bowl or plate. Top spinach with one-quarter of the pasta.
  7. Top each pasta mound with a piece of salmon.
  8. Sprinkle with just a pinch of freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

This recipe serves 4 generously.

Add a crusty loaf of Italian bread out of the oven, a lovely light white wine and a tossed green salad.....the most delicious Italian meal ever. And it was super quick and super easy!


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GIADA'S KITCHEN - SUN-DRIED TOMATO CORN MUFFINS


The pasta was so delicious last night that I decided to try another recipe this morning to go with my clam chowder recipe.

These muffins were equally surprisingly easy and yet one of the best corn muffins I've ever made. They were light and moist because of the addition of sour cream. They had an interesting texture that reminded me of nuts with the addition of whole kernel corn.

All in all, fantastic recipe #2! I also made these in my little mini-muffin maker and the corn muffins were perfect pop-in-your-mouth size.

INGREDIENTS

Makes 16 muffins (I cut the recipe in half and used my mini-muffin maker)

  • 2 (8-1/2 ounce) packages of Jiffy corn muffin mix or similar mix
  • 2/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes (from an 8-ounce jar) -- see note below
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (I used drained, canned)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I used minced from a jar)
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (I used low fat)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (I used nonfat)
  • 2 large eggs beaten (I used egg substitute)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If making regular muffins, you can use silicone muffin pans or insert paper liners into muffin tins.
  2. Combine corn muffin mix, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine.
  3. Mix buttermilk, sour cream, and eggs.
  4. Add buttermilk mixture to cornbread mix and stir until just moistened.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin pans and bake until golden brown or a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean (about 15 minutes for regular muffins, 7-10 for mini).

NOTE: On the sun-dried tomatoes, I dried Roma tomatoes in my dehydrator a week ago and simply cut those up and used them. They were delicious. You can also follow the recipe above and used sun-dried in a jar.



BEST ITALIAN COOKBOOK - GIADA'S KITCHEN - NEW ITALIAN FAVORITES


I have to say that this cookbook is by far one of my favorites. The recipes are easy to follow and require little in the way of fussing. Yet you can create fantastic meals from appetizers to desserts.

My daughter gave me this cookbook for my birthday and I'm still discovering all the wonderful recipes in it.

Some of my favorites and on my list to try:

  • Fresh tomato and goat cheese strata with herb oil
  • Red pepper cheesecake (this was fabulous)
  • Tomato, watermelon and basil skewers
  • Olive oil muffins
  • Tuscan white bean and garlic soup
  • Linguine and prosciutto frittatas
  • Asparagus and zucchini crudi
  • Broiled zucchini and potatoes with Parmesan crust
  • Asparagus lasagna
  • Baked orzo with fontina and peas
  • Whole wheat linguine with green beans, ricotta and lemon (on tap for later this week)
  • Beef and butternut squash stew
  • Proscuitto lamb burgers
  • Chicken with balsamic BBQ sauce (also trying this week)
  • Mini calzones
  • Berry strata
  • Chocolate hazelnut biscotti
  • Almond, pine nut and apricot coffee cake (this was so delicious!)



SUMMING UP GIADA DE LAURENTIIS NEW ITALIAN FAVORITES


If you love to cook Italian and you love simple, you're really going to love this book.

I have a couple of her other books as well - Giada's Family Dinners and Giada's Every Day Pasta.

You can whip up healthy Italian from first course to last and make it seem elegant when really the recipes are quite simple and with relatively few ingredients.

Check out one of these books at the library and taste test out a few of her recipes. I'm sure you might agree that this is the best Italian cook book ever!

If you have other favorite recipes of Giada's, please tell us all what they are!


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Comments 14 comments

Leighsue profile image

Leighsue 4 years ago

I do watch Giadfa quite often and here recipes are really good.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

akirchner,

My grandson tells me I look like Giada. I started watching her to see and there is a little bit of resemblance. Great hub! Great chef - great recipe. Thank you for sharing. Voted up!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Can't stay away too long from the cooking hubs! I cook, therefore I am. I think I should be Italian but will just have to satisfy myself with making Italian dishes! Thanks for the read, Marie!


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Ah finally a recipe hub from you, back to your roots huh? Must admit I haven't heard of Giada but thanks for the info, will check out the books. Mind you I'm lucky enough to have an Italian background so Italian cooking is in part of my life anyway but always looking for a new take on old ideas, so, thanks Audrey.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Hanna - That is too funny - no ban - just trying to get out a few other hubs off the financial subject here and there! I only have 32 more to go on finances....oy vey - and I'm not even Jewish! Stay tuned for more helpful hints from the motor mouth!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I am glad you are back in the kitchen. Great recipe. Have they banned you from Wall St? lol Take care.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Pamela - I do love to cook but we don't eat a lot of rich Italian - that's why this cookbook is so great. We also made the transition which took a while to whole wheat pasta, which is so much better for you - or brown rice pasta. I try and avoid ALL cream sauces and just stick with a lot of vegetables. Glad you liked!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Audrey, I bet you are fabulous cook. I don't do too much Italian cooking as so much of it is really rich and my husband doesn't tolerate it but everything you put up on the hub look fantastic. I know this would be a great cookbook.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

No kidding - even my son was saying he couldn't believe how gorgeous she was in the cookbook! I really love her recipes too and glad you enjoyed!


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

I LOVE Giada! I do not have this cookbook, but anything she does is great. I watch lots of Food Network shows. I tribute them for helping me become a better cook. Ha! Giada is my favorite, and she is so pretty and gracious too.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

I can see your confusion, BJ - but sadly no, these are not Lady Gag Gag's recipes and I imagine she is still trying to find the kitchen!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Hi, Audrey, I read the title quickly and thought it said Gaga's Kitchen. My first thought - she knows how to cook? My second thought - she knows where the kitchen is?

Then I read the recipes and realized my error. My apologies are herewith tendered to the aforesaid Lady.

Your recipes are always mouth-watering; one day I will even cook one. The ingredients, that is, not the recipe.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks so much Darski - one of my favorite hobbies!


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Fantastic my dear audrey, oh sorry Martha Stewart....love your style and this is your nicth for sure, you are doing what you are meant to be and your do it well. rate this up, love & peace darski

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