I am a huge fan of Giada de Laurentiis, so I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of her new cookbook, Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California.
As usual, Giada's slim volume is packed with drool-worthy recipes and cool ideas that never fail to inspire me. This book, as the flap states and as the title indicates, incorporates traditional Italian dishes with the fresh, clean flavours of California. In typical Giada style, this new book also heavily features pictures of warm get-togethers with friends and family, with a heavy emphasis on Giada's new baby daughter, Jade. I have to admit, I was a smitten with the baby as I was with the recipes!
Giada always uses clean, whole ingredients in her recipes, focusing on fresh veggies and seasonality. Divided into the usual cookbook categories of appetizers, soups & sandwiches, desserts, etc., there is also a brunch chapter with some recipes I can't wait to try. The Pancetta & Cinnamon Waffles on page 228 being at the top of my list. My new waffle iron is going to get a great workout with this one. The dessert chapter also tantalized me with a very mouthwatering take on tiramisu, this one using lemon and hazelnut instead of the traditional coffee flavours. I cannot wait to make that.
The one recipe I have tried was the Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Sauce on page 80. I had a friend over for dinner last week and I thought this was the perfect time to try a new recipe out. This was a simple dinner, though I had to make some substitutions because marscapone cheese is way too cost prohibitive for me; I used some light cream cheese instead and it worked fine. For the mushroom assortment, I used a portabella, some regular button mushrooms, and some enoki mushrooms. Instead of white wine, I used some cooking sherry. This was a great dish! I wouldn't spend the money on enoki mushrooms again, though; they didn't really add any big flavour to this. The portabella mushroom was totally worth it, however!
This is the third Giada book I have on my cookbook shelves, and once again, it's well worth the precious space there!