I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Food Network baby. Not in the sense that I was raised in front of the channel, but coddled and comforted by their flashy, entertaining programming until I was ready to cook myself.
I also admit that I’m not one of those people has been experimenting in the kitchen since I was three. Save for occasional adventures in baking, my time in the kitchen up until a few years ago was spent eating my mother’s food. So for me, the easy but tasty recipes put forth by Food Network chefs provided an uncomplicated gateway to cooking.
Giada de Laurentiis was one of the first food personalities I latched on to. On Everyday Italian, her food looked beautiful, her techniques were straightforward, and her flavours were approachable (her panna cotta recipe is still my go-to dessert for potlucks). It took me a while to actually buy one of her books, as many of her recipes are online, but I eventually added Everyday Italian and Everyday Pasta to my collection.
Now, though I find her show a bit grating sometimes (the Giada drinking game would involve “peppery” arugula, and the phrase, “just like that”), I still uncover inspiration in her cookbooks. And while some of her recipes involve things that I wouldn’t normally have on hand, two recent meals were pantry approved.
Simple and flavourful (it helps when there is a lot of cream involved), this creamy orzo recipe, featuring diced tomatoes and peas is appealing to the eye, and as comforting as macaroni and cheese. I served it with some sliced prosciutto to make it even more rich.
Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup
While the weather still had that pre-spring chill in the air, Giada’s Tuscan white bean and garlic soup was the perfect warming cure. Silky from the pureed white beans and some cream, a bowl made a great light meal paired with a green salad.
Tuscan white bean and garlic soup
Who’s your favourite Food Network personality?