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

Updated on December 14, 2011


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!



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.


  • 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


  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!



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.


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)


  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.


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!)


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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