Melt in your mouth delish

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 3, 2014

Everyone knows Giada De Laurentiis, if you watch any cooking shows at all. She is also the granddaughter of the director Dino De Laurentiis who once had a house down from ours on Wrightsville Beach, N.C. He is long gone, but Giada is pretty, perky, and has fans from her Food Network shows and seven cookbooks to her credit. I don’t watch her show or have her cookbooks, but I did see an article in the latest issue of Food and Wine that she is opening her first restaurant in Las Vegas in the Caesars’ brand new boutique hotel. Enormous letters on the facade of The Cromwell spell out G-I-A-D-A for all to see.

The menu at Giada will feature many of the beloved Italian dishes the chef is known for, but with an ambitious twist. She said that chicken cacciatore had followed her around for years and she had always made a simple version for home cooks. Her restaurant will have “chicken cacciatore” with a wow factor. At the restaurant she will transform the braised cut up bird her fans love into a succulent whole bird, rubbed with red butter under the skin and roasted with fennel, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers and other seasonal ingredients.

I especially loved her recipe in the magazine for lemon spaghetti with shrimp. I found it so good and refreshing. It had the lemony taste of spring and the fried capers were delicious added on top.

Below are the two recipes which I think are her best in the magazine. I would encourage you to try the shrimp dish. I am trying the chicken this week. Everyone generally loves Italian cooking so I don’t think you will go wrong with these recipes.


Recipes taken from the May, 2014 issue of ‘Food and Wine’


Lemon Spaghetti with Shrimp

Serves 6

Vegetable oil, for frying

¼ cup capers—rinsed, drained and patted dry

1 lb. spaghetti

2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)

1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined

Salt and pepper

½ cup chopped basil, plus more for garnish

In a skillet, heat ¼ inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the capers and fry over moderately high heat, stirring until browned and crisp, 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the capers to paper towels to drain.

In a saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk 2/3 cup of the olive oil with the grated cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice.

In a very large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until just opaque, 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and add the pasta, lemon sauce, half of the reserved pasta water and the ½ cup of basil. Cook, tossing, until the pasta and shrimp are coated, 2 minutes, adding more of the pasta water if the spaghetti is dry; transfer to shallow bowls, garnish with basil and the fried capers and serve.


Roast Chicken Cacciatore with Red Wine Butter

Serves 4

One 3 ½ lb. chicken

Kosher salt

5 thyme leaves

1 cup red wine

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

4 basil sprigs, plus leaves for garnish

4 oregano sprigs

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 small fennel bulb, cut into ¾-inch wedges through the core

1 cup cherry tomatoes

¾ cup pearl onions

8 jarred sweet Peppadew peppers, halved

6 baby bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup chicken stock

½ cup olives, pitted and chopped (green olives would probably be best)

Season the chicken with 2 teaspoons of salt and stuff the thyme sprigs in the cavity. Transfer the chicken to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and poke holes in the top; refrigerate overnight.

In a saucepan, boil the wine over moderately high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 7 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the tomato paste, butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Loosen the breast and thigh skin of the chicken and spread three-fourths of the red wine butter under the skin. Stuff the basil sprigs, oregano sprigs, and garlic into the cavity and tie the legs with string. Rub the remaining butter over the chicken and let stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep ovenproof skillet, toss the fennel, tomatoes, onions, both peppers and olive oil; season with salt. Set the chicken in the center of the vegetables. Pour in the stock. Roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 155°.Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes.

Simmer the broth over moderately high heat until slightly reduced, 3 minutes. Stir in the olives and transfer to a platter. Carve the chicken and arrange on the platter. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.