On September 26, just four days shy of the publication of her fourth cookbook, Giada's Kitchen, Giada de Laurentiis launched a social-networking website. When I last checked on Sunday night, she already had 1,026 members. That means more than 100 new people are signing up every day. With numbers like that it's hard to argue with the jacket copy, which states that Giada "has become America's best-loved Italian cook."
While I'm not about to create a profile for myself (I'm not even on Facebook), I must admit that I, too, am a Giada fan. Years ago a friend prepared a fabulous feast centered around her recipe for Spaghetti with Clams, and I frequently serve her Tuscan Mushrooms (stuffed with roasted red peppers, green olives, and Pecorino cheese) at my own dinner parties. Critics argue that Giada is a nothing more than a sex symbol selling food porn, but I think she offers a bit more than that: to twenty-something aspiring gormands she provides chic, approachable recipes that don't involve expensive ingredients or special kitchen equipment. Armed with only the set of pots and pans I bought straight out of college, I could probably cook my way through her entire repertoire.
For these reasons (and because her new television show, Giada at Home, premieres on October 18th), I've chosen Giada's Kitchen as this week's Cook the Book selection. She may not be as classic as Lidia Bastianich, or as high-brow as Andrew Carmellini, but her food is flavorful and easy. And more often than not, that's the way most of us like to cook.
Win 'Giada's Kitchen'
We'll be excerpting a recipe from Giada's new book everyday this week. In addition, you can enter to win one of five (5) copies of Giada's Kitchen for your very own. Simply tell us in the comments section below: from alfredo and clam to marinara and vodka, what is your favorite kind of spaghetti sauce?
Five (5) people will be chosen at random from eligible comments below. Comments will close Monday, October 13 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.