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.
An Excerpt from the Introduction of Giada's Kitchen
Few things in life give me more pleasure than food, whether eating or cooking for the
people I love. And I’ve always known that somehow, some way, I would find my calling
in the food world. For obvious reasons, I felt most comfortable around Italian food;
it's what I grew up loving. But I never (ever!) imagined that this love would lead
to an opportunity to share my passion for Italian cooking, and my ideas about what
Italian food can and should be, with so many people. When I made my earliest
appearances on Food Network, there were plenty of well-established authorities
who had already made their marks on the culinary landscape. I wondered at first
what on earth I could bring to the table. Where would I fit in? What new message
did I have to share? When I thought about my roots, though, the way my family has
always cooked, and the places and people whose food continues to inspire me today,
the recipes and ideas began to come. And they haven't stopped since.
For the past five years I have been on a wonderful journey. On my Food Network
shows and in my cookbooks I've had the chance to explore every facet of
Italian cooking: traditional, seasonal, regional, contemporary, whimsical,
and much more. All the while, my own style of cooking has been evolving.
From the old recipes of my grandmother's that I still adore, like her
verdure al forno and hearty lamb stew with cipollini onions and potatoes,
to some of the more updated dishes you'll find in this book, I've found
the things that make a recipe just taste right to me...
These recipes reflect what my readers and viewers have told me they are
looking for in the meals they prepare, dishes I know will always be well received.
They represent five years of lessons I've learned as well as those I have shared since
beginning my Everyday Italian journey. I've never forgotten that cooking and
eating are a shared experience, and my goal as a chef is to ensure that each "everyday"
experience is a memorable one for you and your family. I hope you will find some new
favorites here, as well as a few "shining moments" that will linger in your memory.
Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate
A lot of steps go into putting this cake together but since it starts with a boxed cake mix, none of them is very difficult. All the effort goes into the creamy-crunchy filling, made from hazelnut brittle that is a delicious candy all on its own. It makes for a spectacular birthday cake.
1 box chocolate cake mix and any
additonal ingredients needed to make
1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) hazelnuts,
toasted and skinned (see Note)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone
cheese, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
14 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake as directed. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
To make the crunch, place the toasted nuts close together in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to boil the mixture until the sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the bubbles subside, then pour the caramelized sugar over the nuts. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let the nut crunch cool until hard, about 30 minutes. When the nut crunch is hardened and cool, place it on a cutting board and cut into small pieces, saving a few larger ones for decoration. Set aside.
To make the filling, put the mascarpone, cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream mixture to soft peaks. Fold the chopped nut crunch into the whipped cream.
To make the topping, place the chocolate chips, granulated sugar, and zest in a food processor. Process the mixture until the chocolate is finely ground.
To assemble the cake, put 1 cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Top with a 1-inch layer of the whipped cream-hazelnut crunch filling. Place the second layer of cake on top of the first and frost the entire cake with the remaining filling. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the ground chocolate topping and add some shards of nut crunch as decoration. Serve.
Note: To toast the hazelnuts, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrent.
Copyright © 2008 by Giada de Laurentiis. Reprinted From Giada's Kitchen with permission from Clarkson Potter/Publishers.
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She’s taught us every facet of Italian cooking—from 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 more...
Other cookbooks by Giada de Laurentiis: