Sunday, August 22, 2010

Giada De Laurentiis Interview and Spaghetti and Meatballs Review

Much to my wife’s dismay, I have a thing for Giada De Laurentiis.  But really, who can blame me?  She brings together two things I look for: great storytelling and exceptional food.  I am a sucker for the Food Network shows where the chefs are preparing culinary delights and tell some great stories.  And just about the best story telling chef is Giada.  I must admit I have a bit of a man-crush on Michael Chiarello for the same reasons.  I enjoy his show so much in spite of the fact that I don’t really like anything he makes (my problem, not his).  Ok, back to Giada…..and it doesn’t hurt that she is beautiful, too.   I have even met her once, but that is a story for another post.


And this is a appropriate day to blog about Giada, as today is her birthday.  Happy Birthday!!  

Anyway, the other day I came upon an interview Giada conducted with Tampa based reporter, Jeff Houck. It was audio only (too bad).   You can hear the interview by clicking on the picture of Giada.

In the interview she talks about her line of Target foods and culinary products.   I have already purchased her cast iron panini maker, but hadn't tried any of her food products.  Inspired by her description of her delicious Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce (due to the Mascarpone cheese), I decided to purchase some and see how it stood up to that most basic of Italian dishes - Spaghetti and Meatballs.

We all know what to expect with spaghetti and meatballs, so it should be easy to see if preparing it the “Giada way” is any better than this usual family favorite.   To really put Giada’s food to the test, I purchased her brand of spaghetti at Target, too.   However, Giada doesn’t offer any meatballs (maybe those are coming in the future), but I purchased some pre-made meatballs.

Right away I could tell her spaghetti was different.  I took it out of the box and could see that it was a little fatter than the Barilla that I usually buy.   It also seems to have a rougher texture than the typical smooth spaghetti.    I boiled the pasta for about 8 or 9 minutes.

I poured the frozen mini-meatballs into a large sauce pan along with the whole jar of Giada Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce.  I simmered on low heat for about 25 minutes (according to the meatball instructions).   In Giada’s interview, she recommended reserving some of the pasta cooking water to add to the pasta sauce which adds some creaminess.  Honestly, I have heard her and other chefs suggest this plenty of times, but it never made any sense to me and I had never actually done it.  But this time, I reserved about a ½ a cup of the starchy pasta water and poured it in with the sauce when it was done cooking and was surprised at how much impact it seemed to have on the consistency of the sauce.  It really did make it creamier!  I guess she does know what she is talking about.

I finished the spaghetti and meatballs with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 
I delivered this to the table and have to admit that it was perhaps the best tasting spaghetti and meatballs I have ever tasted and by far the best I had ever made!  I believe the rougher texture of the spaghetti actually seemed to help the sauce stick to it.   

My youngest daughter, she just turned 3 years old, said to me, “thank you for the great dinner, daddy”.

Don’t thank me, thank Giada.     

21 comments:

Jess said...

Ha! You and my husband love Giada. :-)

The creamy tomato sauce is really exceptional and I definitely give credit where credit is due. It is phenomenal when it comes to jarred sauce and she deserves good reviews for it!

meeyeehere said...

I love Giada and I love pre made meatballs with that tasty sauce!!!!
I watch Giada every day and she gives me such wonderful ideas.
jacksoncrisman@yahoo.com

JC said...

Hub likes Giada, I don't though. Last time I picked up some Giada sauce for him, he loved it.

bellastylist88 said...

Love meatballs <3

B. Wilson said...

I've never thought to reserve some of that pasta cooking water to add into the final dish. What a good idea.

amandawk said...

I love Giada's recipes. Everything she makes looks so good!
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

Heather said...

Love Giada's show. Great tip with the pasta water in the ready-made sauce. Will try that one next time.

Susan Jensen said...

Never seen her, but I hear about her a lot. Maybe need to check it out.

Lori said...

Great tip! Will definitely save some of the pasta water next time to add to the sauce. Thanks!

-Lori L.
monlor AT aol DOT com

Laura C said...

I will just have to go shop at Target.
pcollins@viscom.net

Rebecca said...

Good to know that the 'starchy water' trick actually works. I've heard it but never tried it.

rebecca.nvcl at gmail.com

Anne said...

I love watching Giada's show. I've tried a few of her recipes! I like that everything is so light.

Nancy said...

All of her recipes sound so good!

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Kelli said...

I love Giada! I can't get enough of her show and now I can't wait to try her new line of food! Thanks

Stacy said...

I am not a fan of Giada, but I love her recipes. Now I want to try her pasta, but I am not sure about that sauce. I wonder if she has any sauces without cheese.

the imagine tree at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Stacy, I think Giada has a basil & tomato sauce - which is excellent and a vegetable marina sauce- which I haven't tried.

kujen said...

Spaghetti..I love it. Sounds like a good sauce!

Ginny said...

Her voice drives me crazy on her cooking show. Her food sounds good though, I will have to check it out. I probably wouldn't have without the review though since she bugs me :)

Barbarawr said...

GRRR!! 503 error so everything I typed is gone.

All of a sudden I have a craving for spaghetti and meatballs :-) Good thing Target is only a mile away - LOL

Email address is in blogger profile

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top said...

I've never heard of adding some pasta water to the sauce. Interesting. This sounds like a yummy dinner.

07violet said...

I've been wanting to try her products and that's an interesting tip about the pasta water