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Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner Hardcover – March 27, 2012
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Featured Recipe: Sweet Corn and Basil Lasagna
No-boil noodles and a food processor are what make this lasagna a weeknight-dinner friend. Both help to put a super-creamy, provolone-cheesy, comforting, and downright amazing pasta dish on the table for the family. One tip to minimize clean-up and avoid hand-grating the cheese: use the shredding attachment of the food processor to grate the provolone first. Then, without having to wash the bowl, you can switch to the blade to make the sweet corn and basil filling. Smiles all around!
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 3 cups frozen corn, thawed
- ½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups grated pecorino romano cheese
- Grated zest of 1 large lemon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
- 6 no-boil lasagna sheets (about half a 9-ounce box)
- Olive oil, for drizzling
"De Laurentiis delivers on her promise—the book is full of quick, easy dishes that follow her formula—simple and pleasing."
Top customer reviews
When I saw the title of Giada's newest cookbook, I got excited. It seemed that as she moved forward in her career, Giada's cooking had become more complex and not as accessible to the everyday person to work with a busy schedule. In fact, with Giada's more recent move to food that's designed to entertain, I've found that there are fewer and fewer of her new recipes that I can tackle -mostly due to complexity and time constraints. I was hoping that Weeknights with Giada would go back to her roots more and offer dishes that could fit around my job and life.
I was a little disappointed. A handful of the recipes here do fall into that category of "weeknight dinners," but most really don't: at least they don't fit my definition of weeknight meals. Most recipes here take the more complex entertainment approach. The result certainly seems tasty, but doesn't work as recipes for a working woman trying to put good food on the table Monday through Friday. Really, if the title had just been different, my disappointment wouldn't be so high.
Weeknights offers a handful of different categories: soups and salads, bruschettas, sandwiches and pizzas, pastas and grains; meat, poultry and fish; something called "change of pace," breakfast for dinner, veggies and sides, and desserts. The soups and salads section feels fairly basic and straightforward, with cioppino, gazpacho and a tasty beef and cannellini bean minestrone recipe. Bruschettas, sandwiches and pizzas offers some seriously foodie-oriented recipes that pretty much require a grill, panini press or grill pan, including a tasty-looking argula, pesto, ricotta, and smoked mozzarella pizza. Pastas and grains, Giada's signature dishes, was actually somewhat disappointing, it felt like a re-tread of many previous recipes with edits or virtually the same spirit. The section on meat, poultry and fish had a little more spunk to it, with some unique recipes, including a great take on balsamic-glazed chicken.
The "Change of Pace" section was particularly interesting and unexpected. This is where the concept of "revamping" dinner that's expressed in the title is really utilized. Giada takes a break from her usual Italian-inspired approach and explores a variety of other types of foods, including Filipino, Greek, Thai, Asian, Mexican and South American-inspired dishes that really stir things up in Giada's cooking. Even though this isn't Giada usual type of thing, "Change of Pace" was actually my favorite section of the entire cookbook, it felt more fresh, accessible and had genuinely tasty treats, such as sweet and spicy greek meatballs, Asian chicken salad, Thai lettuce wraps and Tilapia fish tacos with arugula.
Breakfast for dinner gave a few good twists on traditional breakfast recipes to make them a little heartier for dinner. If you're into this sort of thing (I'm not), then is a really unique section with great variety. Veggies and sides was fairly comprehensive, though it feels like it's not really needed here. The dessert section was particularly good, as I thought it was the best collection of desserts that Giada has ever offered, with some tasty-looking mini pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate frosting and chocolate mascarpone pound cake.
Though not as accessible as previous cookbooks, there are still some tasty recipes in here that are worth the time and effort. However, I wouldn't call this a "weeknight" friendly cookbook.