Favorite Pasta Recipes for Every Occasion
Giada De Laurentiis
Giada De Laurentiis is an Italian-American girl in a post-low-carb world. In Everyday Pasta, she seizes the moment of our collective low-carb fatigue to make a passionate case for the merits of the noble noodle. Enjoyed in moderation, she reminds us, pasta is low in calories and delivers everything we might want in a meal—versatility, satisfaction and ease of preparation. Her recipes won’t necessarily revolutionize the field of pasta cookery, and many of them will be familiar to fans of her Food Network show, "Everyday Italian." Still, Giada’s earnest affection for this staple of De Laurentiis family cooking comes through in each chapter. Her talent lies in Americanizing regional Italian specialties and adding fresh flourishes to old standards.
The first couple of chapters are devoted to appetizers and sides to accompany the main attraction. It’s useful to have the makings of a full meal all in one place, and many of these starters—like arugula salad with fried gorgonzola or parmesan popovers—are irresistible enough to enjoy on their own. Soups and pasta salads also get their own billing with selections like an updated tortellini en brodo and tuna, green bean and orzo salad. Not full yet? The pasta recipes run the gamut from light preparations, such as swordfish and spaghetti with citrus pesto, to hearty dishes for a cold night or a special feast, such as tagliatelle with short rib ragù and spicy baked macaroni. With the busy home cook in mind, Giada offers up a chapter on quick and tasty weeknight pastas like cinnamon pancetta carbonara. She also dispenses useful advice on pairing pasta shapes with various sauces and cooking the perfect al dente noodles. With a section on recipes for essential sauces and flavorings, as well as a crash course in Italian wine, Everyday Pasta is a complete guide back to the homeland of Italian comfort food.
Reviewed by Rachel Levin