Saturday 29 May 2010

Giada at Home

Cheese Stuffed Dates with Procuitto
I’m a big fan of Giada, she is up there in kitchen stars category with Nigella for me. So it was with much anticipation that I read my copy of Giada at Home By Giada de Laurentiis was in its way. This is her fifth book – and I love it! Sometimes Italian, sometimes Californian maybe even a bit of a mix of the two in some recipes too. The recipes are fresh, delicious, often healthy and all with a little Giada touch.
Those of us in the UK can now watch her on the Food Network channel here (262 and 263 on Sky). I would so like to see her programmes on in the evening, when they’d be easier time wise to watch. Most of the recipes from the programmes Giada at Home (although certainly not all) are here in the book. It’s nicely laid out, beautiful pictures mostly of food, but with a number of Giada and her family too.
I have SO many recipes in this book marked to try, and here are some of the first batch.
Picture at top of post
Cheese Stuffed Dates with Procuitto
These are so beautiful to look at, and they taste, well creamy, cheesy, sweet, a little sharp from the goats cheese and salty from the procuitto. I’m going to try these with another cheese too, just haven’t quite worked out what yet…

Pasta Ponza
Tomatoes and capers make this oven baked sauce just burst with flavour, yum.

Gorgonzola and Porcini Risotto
A nice mushroom risotto, didn’t have quite as much punch as I thought it would.

Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun Dried Tomatoes
The turkey here is quite strong, but my little people were very keen indeed. All the add-ins make it a moist and delicious meatloaf.

Grilled Asparagus and Melon Salad
This salad of grilled asparagus (I used a ridged non stick grill pan for the top of the cooker/stove) mixed with the juicy melon, mozzarella cheese, pine nuts and a lemony dressing was really, really delicious.

Lettuce, Basil and Mint Salad with Parmesan Butter Crostini
Unusual this one, but we liked it a lot.

White Chocolate Dipped Almond and Lemon Biscotti
Lovely, and they kept ages in the cookie jar. I double dipped them as I had lots of chocolate left.

Chocolate Honey Almond Tart
I’ve made this one a few times, I love the taste and almost soft fudge texture the honey gives to the chocolate. Needs a bit of cream, and also great with pomegranate seeds. I’ll make it again in the Summer when I'll use raspberries as an accompaniment.

Penne with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Creamy and gentle this one, little peeps loved it.

Olive and Sundried Tomato Vegetables
This was a great side dish combo, I cut the olive oil in the recipe considerably, and it was still fine for us.

Nonna Luna’s Rice
Oh my. I love this recipe, I’m not sure how many times I’ve made it now. The first time I was a little worried about the Tabasco, as I’m a real chilli wimp. It was as hot as I can go, but still I absolutely love it, crave it even! I tend to reduce the creamy sauce a bit, just to coat the prawns, but this is a matter of taste depending on how thin / thick you like your sauces.

Nonna Luna’s Rice
From Giada at Home by Giada De Laurentiis published 2010 by Clarkson Potter. Giada says to use parboiled rice like Uncle Ben’s, but I used Uncle Ben’s long grain rice and it worked out well for me. Serves 2 to 3.
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 cups long-grain rice, like Uncle Ben's
14 fl oz chicken stock, hot
Good pinch salt
1 clove garlic
12 oz to 1 lb raw prawns, peeled and deveined
2 fl oz lemon juice
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce, divided into 2 x half tablespoons
4 fl oz double cream
Freshly ground black pepper

1.In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat 1 oz of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the rice salt and ½ a tablespoon of Tabasco sauce then cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 6 to 7 minutes.
2. Add the chicken stock and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 10 minutes to 15 minutes until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and rest covered for 5 minutes.
3. In a large frying pan, melt the remaining 1oz of butter over medium heat. Add the whole clove of garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic. Add the prawns, lemon juice, and remaining ½ tablespoon of Tobasco sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the prawns are pink and cooked through. Stir in the cream and heat through, bubble and reduce for a few minutes if you’d like a thicker sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Using a fork, fluff the rice and arrange on a platter. Spoon the shrimp cream sauce over the rice and serve.