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Everyday Italian...Giada De Laurentiis

  • f

I love her approach to cooking, good quality food with flavor for *everyday* meals. Reviews for her food are always very high (foodtv.com).

LOTS of her recipes are on my "to make" list. Has anyone made any of her recipes, and if so, which are your favs?

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  1. We have been talking about her on the Not About Food board...general concensus so far is that she is too skinny, has a big head and her correct italian pronunciations are annoying.

    I will be interested to know what recipes you use and how they turn out. I don't cook Italian because I find pasta boring, but I know I am alone on that one. Anyone find anything spectacular that might change my mind?

    17 Replies
    1. re: Cyndy

      Anyone who whould stoop so low as to discuss the size of her head or her waistline is shallow beyond belief and should be banned for life from Chowhound.
      Having said that, I think her show is terrific and I will sometimes try to get home in time to catch her show, 4:30 pm Eastern. My wife and I have made both her chicken piccata and her chicken saltimboca, and look forward to trying many of her other recipes.
      She is the only decent thing on Food Network.

      1. re: Tee

        Giarda apparently inherited her cooking talent as well as her good looks from her grandmother Silvano Mangano, star of the 1949 movie "Bitter Rice" (Giarda is a ringer for Silvano).

        We love her show because its not a 'show' - its someone wanting to share her love of cooking. good receipes too.

        1. re: Zoe

          her grandfather is dino de laurentiis

          1. re: Zoe

            Her mother and father are both very good looking and physically fit people. They are also very nice, friendly, generous people.

          2. re: Tee

            I agree that her weight and head size(?) are off limits. But her Italian pronunciations are truly annoying. I'm not the only person I know who finds her show difficult to watch because of them.

            I guess they serve a point - to tell us that she's actually from Italy, and thus by implication knows what she's talking about.

            But those pronunciations have got to go. 'Spaghetti,' for example, is no more an Italian word than 'ballet' (or 'garage,' for that matter) is a French one. Any French-American Bob Vila who talked about the "gaa-haazh" on tv would be rightly scoffed at and complained about.

            And whattaya mean Giada's the only good thing on the Food Network? I love Barefoot Contessa!

            1. re: GGG

              Ina is a fine show except when she drapes herself all over her husband or makes cutsy remarks about the dinner she is making for him. Seems excess.

              1. re: Zoe

                If only she would drape her big-headed self all over me. I worship at the altar of Giada. And her Italian pronounciation is no more affected than Mario's. Newsflash... she's Italian and grew up in Rome.

                1. re: Hoyt Pollard

                  Ina is obviously a much more talented cook than Giada, whose techniques and recipes are boring (as some people have already pointed out), often bordering on childish: for instance, boiled broccoli with olive oil?...and who boils tiny pieces of broccoli for TEN MINUTES? That's vegetable murder.

                  Maybe this is a larger FoodTV trend, but the shows seem less and less to do with food:

                  -- On one episode of Barefoot Contessa, they show Ina Garten in a bubble bath (thank you, obscuring bubbles!) It was so nasty. She had one toe poking out of the bubbles and the tub and even that was too much. Why Why Why?

                  -- And what's with Giada's experimenting with camera filters everyday? One day it's that fuzzy, hazy South Dakota sunset look as if gauze were golden draped over the lens; other times, it's that live, camcorder look. But whatever the filter, everything is so golden and heavenly that the vegetables/fish/meats are bizarre colors. (Sandra Lee has this same lighting -- sometimes you can't distinguish her from the background -- as does Paula Deen and Michael Chiarello). Obviously Giada is obsessed with how herself more than her food and it shows: the soft porn music and extreme close-ups for pointless moments (e.g., washing hands, sitting on the couch explaing summarizing her complex boiled broccoli dish), her low cut shirts, her ridiculous insincere smile that comes at the wrong moments.

                  And last thing, you ever notice that besides her overcompensating, over-the-top Italian pronunciation, she just sucks at describing tastes? She speaks in junior high school essay style, and can only describe foods in combination of two or three adjectives: "Thyme is lemony and nutty"; "Mmmm! This is crunchy AND juicy!"; "Prosciutto is velvety and salty."

                  Her recipes are marginally more enticing than those on Calorie Commando and Low Carb Commando (which consistently look inedible) and that means she really needs to start using whatever is encased in that giant head of hers, and coming up with creative, non-catering-rubber-chicken style dishes. Any one who lives in NYC and knows those Korean delis with the pay-by-weight lunch buffets can find all of Giada's "italian" dishes there.

                  1. re: ColeSlawHeaven

                    If you hate the shows so much, why watch them?.

                    1. re: commonsense

                      Okay, this confirms it...I am SOOO grateful I am not a tv personality~you guys are brutal. All I can think when I read these threads on Giadia and Rachel Ray is what if they were reading??? To think I used to envy Rachel's job-travelling and eating, what could be better to get paid for?? NO MORE! Thanks Chowhounds.

              2. re: GGG

                I enjoy both shows b/c the dishes seem accessible. At this stage of my cooking journey (about two years), shows like Molto Mario are fun to watch but the dishes just don't seem like something I can put together w/ my lifestyle- maybe when the kids start school :-) Anyway, my husband and I find her use of Italian more entertaining than annoying. As for Ina, I like her overall but sometimes the way she says things can be a little grating... "How easy is that?" "Is there any thing better than...?" "Who doesn't like...?" And the way she goes onto her expansive property, surveys the bushes of herbs, and tells her audience something to the effect of, "There's nothing better than fresh herbs; you really should grow your own." I wouldn't argue with the statement, but the context it's given in is not my favorite.

                1. re: twinmommy

                  I think if we were able to get the correct subtitles on Ina's show they would actually say - "There's nothing better than fresh herbs; you really should have your garderner grow you some" and "Fresh flowers are absolutely essential for a beautiful table, everyone should have a stable of florists who make housecalls". I like Ina, but it's been a long time since she's lived in the real world (but she does mix a mean drink).

                2. re: GGG

                  I will have to give Barefoot Contessa another try. And I could not care less about Giada's pronunciations. Come on, the show is about THE FOOD, not learning English as a second language!

              3. re: Cyndy

                Spee-ghee-tee? That's correct Italian pronunciation? Huh.

                She's skinny, big-headed, and all that. Plus she does that weird teeth baring grin all the time. But her recipes are good. That's what matters.

                1. re: Kimm

                  I like her braciole with simple tomato sauce.

                2. re: Cyndy
                  Caitlin McGrath

                  "I don't cook Italian because I find pasta boring"

                  While it's true that North Americans often equate Italian food solely with pasta and pizza), there is much, much more to Italian cuisine, much of it wonderful. Remember, pasta is neither a main course nor a side dish in Italy, but a separate course that you can certainly skip if you find it boring.

                  All that said, I have no experience with Giada de Laurentiis's recipes, and in fact have never seen her show or looked at her book.

                  1. re: Cyndy

                    Giada's recipes probably won't change your mind about 'boring' pasta, but check out Mario Batali's recipes on Food TV or in his "The Babbo Cookbook". The chapter on pasta (along w/ the rest of the book) should help you see the light...

                  2. Do you have to over pronounce the recipe ingredients just like she does? "Pr-O-sh-U-tt-O" Reminds me of the "Enchilada" skit on Saturday Night Live w/ Jimmy Smits a long time ago....

                    The food looks good, but hearing her talk while she cooks makes me cringe.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: redglass

                      i can't hate on any of the other food network people while sandra lee exists. i once saw her make truffles by mixing a can of chocolate frosting with confectioners sugar. because mixing chocolate and cream is so hard. she made pizza by opening a boboli putting on some jarred tomato sauce and preshredded cheese. if you are too retarded to figure that out should you be around knives and fire and stuff? by the way, try that bobli recipe! i could tell it was yummy by the way she mmm mmm mmmed when she tasted it.

                      1. re: yum

                        [ can't hate on any of the other food network people while sandra lee exists.]

                        I can understand when a company wants to expand its appeal to a wider audience and everything - but a cooking show by and for people who hate and fear raw ingredients is just wrong. (I saw that "truffles" episode too - it made me angry and sad, but not at all hungry.)

                      2. re: redglass
                        Pius Avocado III

                        One of these days her skull is going to break through her face as she contorts to oleaginously overenunciate each word but, alas, I won't be there to see it because her recipes are dull so I don't watch.

                        1. re: redglass

                          Her smile makes me cringe. If teeth were bricks she'd have a housing project in her mouth. Maybe if she lost about half of them she'd be able to pronounce Spa-Gee-Tee properly....

                        2. PLEASE stay on the food.

                          (Frankly, how you think she looks or speaks is of absoulutely no interest to me--go elsewhere for high school gossip-type discussions.)

                          Thank you.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Funwithfood

                            You just can't control what will come out of the mouths of the general population at any given time. I suggest you suck it up and ignore what you don't like, because it's never going to change. If you want a specific kind of answer you should only pole people who will give you that kind of answer. When you open it up to the world, you have to take what you get.

                          2. I've made a few of her dishes and have had good results:

                            1) Chicken Saltimbocca - easy and relatively light. Passed the boyfriend test.

                            2) Winter Minestrone - Was quite rich tasting for what amounted to soup with quite a bit of swiss chard and just a little bit of pancetta. I enjoyed it.

                            3) Eggs with Orzo and Smoked Mozzarella - Great Sunday brunch and the boyfriend went crazy over it.

                            As for the superficial idea that her food must not be very good if she's skinny - well, Emeril is rather plump and I'm not sure if I would make any of his food.
                            I'm not looking at Giada, I'm looking at the food. And, I've had good results with making her recipes.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Sourmango

                              (I'm looking at Giada.)

                              1. re: Sourmango

                                I also pull quite a few weeknight recipes from her, wifey loves the hanger steak recipe she did recently.

                                As far as looking at her goes, she doesn't do it for me but that is a matter of taste. I do find it amusing that when she has the low cut tops on she seems to have to reach awfully far over the counter towards the camera to get ingredients.

                              2. I have made stuff by her. Tuna and White Bean Salad, Italian Style baked Beans. I like her greens, I think it was with Pine nuts and raisins. I have had desserts that she makes but instead of ricotta, I use cottage cheese(She makes simple ones like toasted pound cake with lightly sweetened ricotta or mascarpone with apricot preserves on top)

                                1. oh yeah, i forgot i tried panna cotta with fresh berries. the honey intrigued me. it was really good.

                                  1. Giada is one of my favorites on FoodTV, and I have copied some of her recipes from the FoodTV website. I have not yet made any of her recipes. My wife has Italian genes and has her own favorites. I enjoy the enthusiasm that Giada exudes when she prepares her dishes, and appreciate her correct pronounciation of Italian words. I intend to make the Italian baked beans soon.

                                    My wife won't eat pasta e fagioli, so I make it for myself. Mine is called "Stelle d'David con fagioli" because I use six-pointed star pasta. My late mother-in-law used ditalini.

                                    My wife claims that I'm an Italian wannabee.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ChiliDude

                                      "My wife claims that I'm an Italian wannabee."
                                      Who wouldn't wanna be Italian?

                                    2. Yes, I tested one of her recipes.
                                      It was orchiette with brocolli rabe and sausage. I think she added a bit of bread crumbs and it made the dish more tasty.
                                      As for her Italian pronunciations...well her parents are real Italians!!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Mari

                                        I make variations on this at leat once a week, using swiss chard or whatever looks good at the market. Vary the pasta and nobody realizes they're getting the same recipe in high rotation.

                                      2. I tried making her Easter Pie, and it was horrid. Maybe I might have just botched it, but I've made NY Cheesecake and Italian Ricotta Cheesecake with success, so I'm hoping it's not me.

                                        Has anyone else tried it? It was truly horrid: crumbly, funny tasting, and I hated the pine nuts in it. Thinking about it makes me cringe.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: nooodles

                                          You're not of the Italian persuasion, are you? How could anyone not like 'pignoli?' I'm not of the Italian persuasion either, but toasted pine nuts with broccoli, minced garlic and fresh cherry tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil as a condiment for pasta is a gustatorial relief from 'gravy.'

                                          I dig the Giada the most, man!

                                        2. f

                                          I don't particularly like her television personality, and some of her dishes I would never make as they are just too "fusion-y" for my own taste. However, I have made a number of her dishes and have generally been satisfied with all of the dishes I chose to make. The ones that turned out the best were the scampi on cousous, the eggplant rollatini, the farro salad with tomatoes and herbs and the baked rigatoni wich bechamel sauce. Also, in general her vegetable preparations are very good--traditional Italian methods of cooking vegetables that I already follow and are consistently good.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: farmersdaughter

                                            You reminded me that I did make her baked rigatoni w/ bechamel once and was disappointed. Found that the sauce separated somewhat into pockets of hard and greasy during baking, and overall flavor was kinda bland. Never made this dish before, so don't have any comparison but followed the recipe exactly. Doesn't sound like you had this problem?

                                            Her pronunciations don't bother me b/c of her Italian heritage and fluency w/ the language, but I find her cooking style to be too light-handed, timid, and not interactive w/ her ingredients (e.g., she uses tongs and tools for everything). Her food may be relatively healthy and good for everyday cooking, but well, I guess "everyday Italian" doesn't excite me then. On Food TV, I much prefer the Italian cooking of Michael Chiarello and Mario Batali, and would be more inclined to use their recipes. Mario's "Babbo" cookbook is inspiring.

                                            1. re: Carb Lover

                                              And she wastes half the vegetable when she's trimming it. I hate that.

                                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                                I didn't have that problem, but didn't make the bechamel exactly as the recipe specified. I heat my milk in the microwave so that it's very warm--the recipe says it should be at room temperature but that's just how I make bechamel. I find it comes together quicker that way. I used fresly grated nutmeg and I used more than just a pinch--I like nutmeg. I used black pepper instead of white, and simmered the bechamel with a bay leaf for a few minutes as well. And I didn't dot the top of the casserole with butter before baking. It was fine without the butter. Adding salt (or more prosciutto) would certainly help blandness, as does using black pepper instead of white--I don't like white pepper because the white pepper I have is preground. Sounds like your oven may have been a little too hot as well, or you cooked it a few minutes too long--do you have an oven thermometer in there? Min runs about 20 degrees hot so I always adjust the temperature even when baking something forgiving like a casserole.

                                                As to her style of cooking, I agree with you that it's a bit too "hands off" for my taste. I don't get the feeling she feels passionately about what she's doing. On the other hand, like you I am a follower of Mario Batali because I admire his efforts at introducing America to the beautiful differences in regional cooking and his authenticity while emphasizing use of local ingredients (which is what an Italian living in America would do). He completely inspires me and makes me want to instantly jump on a plane and head to Italy every time I watch him cook. He is effortless in execution and academic in his approach. I haven't made any Mario recipe that was anything less than very very good and most are excellent.

                                                1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                  Thanks for your tips. Sounds like you know how to adapt Giada's recipes to make them work for you. I don't have tons of experience w/ making bechamel so basically followed the method outlined in the recipe.

                                                  As for flavor, I always taste everything as I go and have no problem diverging from the recipe in the interest of my tastebuds. I put a liberal dose of fresh nutmeg, salt, black pepper (never use white myself), and whatever else was called for. Like your addition of steeped bay leaf.

                                                  Bechamel tasted good on its own, but was not as flavorful once cooked and mixed w/ the rigatoni (which I also salted while par-boiling). Since the sauce separated, texture was the most offensive aspect. What should have been ultimate comfort food turned into a lump of wasted, tasteless calories.

                                                  Agree that it didn't need the extra dotting of butter, and may have been slightly overcooked (no, I don't have an oven thermometer but should get one). There are many ways I can think of improving this recipe, but at that point, it would quite dif. from the original one.

                                                2. re: Carb Lover

                                                  I enjoy her show and I'm half Italian.

                                                  Whatever her cooking style is, light-handed and timid she is not. I think she is more deliberate so it's easier for the viewer to follow. After all, she attended the Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris and has worked as a professional chef in several Los Angeles restaurants including Spago. She doesn't sound like a lightweight to me.

                                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                                    I made that rigatoni recipe and loved it. My family loves it too. It is kind of like mac and cheese.

                                                    I love Giada. She is so positive and upbeat. The men in my family love her bossom.

                                                    Ina Garten is my favorite. I have all of her cookbooks and love her recipe for cornish game hens.

                                                3. I made her recipe for Pasta Primavera - served it with whole wheat pasta instead of farfalle and OMG was it ever good. My husband and I were arguing throughout dinner (about what I forget) but that didn't stop us from shovelling the pasta down and then stopping for a moment to comment on how darn tasty it was! :)

                                                  1. I made her ziti with meatballs recipe (except I left out the meatballs because I was making it for the vegetarians in the dinner party) and everyone loved it.

                                                    1. I have made her turkey sausage, peas and mushrooms with pasta recipe. It was excellent, although I added garlic to the recipe.

                                                      1. About a week ago I saw her take wonton wrappers (I think) and put Nutella inside; seal and fry. They looked creamy/crispy/delicious.

                                                        I had some TJs fresh lasagne noodle squares on hand, so I did the above with them & sprinkled with powdered sugar. They were really good! (That Nutella is good right out of the jar!)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Funwithfood

                                                          I made those Nutella Ravioli and they were really good. I did like you and just sprinkled powdered sugar on them. I did do the egg wash to seal them like she said, but before I finished them up I tried just wetting my finger with water to seal them like I do crab rangoon. It worked fine and I could have saved an egg.

                                                          Here's a link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                                                          A favorite of mine from Giada is an appetizer. It's Pecorino Romano with Apples and Fig Jam. Oh, they are so good. I had an Italian friend at my party I prepared these for and she said, "I make bruschetta all the time, but these are a step above, like gourmet."

                                                          Here's a link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                                                        2. I love the food on this show and love her. This is a great show!

                                                          1. I have made the tortellin and parmesan soup. Its really light, but filling! Definitely a winner for me.

                                                            1. I've consistently had great results with Giada's recipes. Some favorites:

                                                              Pork Loin with Fig and Port Sauce
                                                              Italian Wedding Soup
                                                              Lasagna Rolls
                                                              Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto
                                                              Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
                                                              Baked Mashed Potatoes
                                                              Broiled Salmon with Herb Mustard Glaze
                                                              Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas
                                                              Chicken Tetrazzini
                                                              White Bean Dip with Pita Chips
                                                              Creamy Red Pepper Soup