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Video: Giada’s favorite edible gifts: Pasta, pound cake

TODAY recipes
updated 12/20/2010 6:22:03 PM ET 2010-12-20T23:22:03

During the holidays, Giada De Laurentiis likes to give her friends “edible gifts” — what better way to show your appreciation than homemade food? And she pairs her edible present with an appropriate baking dish, something that lasts longer than her cookies! Here are three of Giada’s favorite “edible gift” recipes.

Recipe: Campanelle pasta (on this page) Recipe: Peanut butter and caramel pound cake (on this page) Recipe: White chocolate-dipped almond and lemon biscotti (on this page)

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Recipe: Campanelle pasta

Ingredients
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 6-ounce can Italian tuna in oil, such as Flott, drained
  • 1 pint, or 2 cups, cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preparation

The pasta dish is best presented as a gift in a covered skillet.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. This takes about eight to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a 14-inch skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook. Stir frequently until soft, which takes about five minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the tuna to the skillet and, using a fork, break into chunks.

Add the cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers and thyme.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften, which takes about eight to 10 minutes.

Add the pasta, the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, and the parsley.

Toss until all of the ingredients are coated, adding a little pasta water, if needed, to thin out the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving Size

Yields four to six servings

Recipe: Peanut butter and caramel pound cake

Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 9.5-ounce bag soft caramel candies, such as Kraft Classic Caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup or 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
Preparation

The cake is best presented as a gift in a baking pan.

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9-by-5-by-3-inch non-stick, metal loaf pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a 14-by-3.5-inch piece of parchment paper. Spray with vegetable oil cooking spray. Line the sides of the pan with a 14-by-7-inch piece of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the caramel candies and heavy cream over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the candies have melted and the mixture is smooth, which takes about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, which takes about two or three minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the eggs and vanilla. With the machine running, gradually add the flour mixture to form a thick batter. Beat in the peanut butter.

Transfer half of the batter to the prepared pan. Pour 2 tablespoons of the caramel lengthwise along the center of the batter. Using the tip of a knife, swirl the caramel sauce into the batter. Place the remaining batter on top and pour another 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce lengthwise along the center of the batter. Swirl the caramel sauce into the batter.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs.

Cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and peel away the parchment paper. Cool completely on a wire rack, which takes about 1 hour.

Slice the pound cake and place on a serving platter. Warm the remaining caramel sauce over low heat. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the pound cake slices or serve alongside.

Serving Size

Yields eight to 10 servings

Recipe: White chocolate-dipped almond and lemon biscotti

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest, from three to four lemons
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped whole almonds
  • 2.5 cups, or 18 ounces, of white chocolate chips
Preparation

The cookie is best presented as a gift with a copy of the cookbook. In this case, give them the "Giada at Home" cookbook.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In another large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until pale yellow, which takes about three minutes. Mix the lemon zest and the flour mixture, and beat until just blended. The dough will be sticky. Stir in the almonds. Let the dough rest for five minutes.

Divide the dough evenly into two equal mounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. With moist hands, space the dough evenly apart and form into two loaves, each 9 by 3 inches. Bake for 35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool for five minutes.

Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick diagonal slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side up on the same baking sheet. Bake until cookies are pale golden, which takes about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Pour the chocolate chips into a heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the pan does no touch the water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth, which takes about three minutes.

Dip the end of each biscotti in the chocolate. Transfer the dipped biscotti to a wire rack and set over a baking sheet until the chocolate has hardened. Store in an airtight container.

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