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Video: Giada’s favorite must-have ingredients

TODAY recipes
updated 3/5/2011 2:36:04 PM ET 2011-03-05T19:36:04

Recipe: Herbed quinoa

  • For the quinoa
  • 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the quinoa: In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock, lemon juice and quinoa to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serving Size

4 servings. Prep time: 8 minutes. Cook time: 12 to 15 minutes

Recipe: Vegetable fritto misto with lemon mayonnaise

  • For the fritto misto
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 4 ounces green beans, halved
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, drained an rinsed
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • For lemon mayonnaise
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)

For the fritto misto: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil by inserting a cube of bread, it should brown in about 3 minutes.) Dredge the cauliflower, green beans, fennel, garbanzo beans, and lemon slices in the flour. Fry the dredged ingredients for 1 to 3 minutes until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.

For the lemon mayonnaise: In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise and lemon juice together until smooth. Pour into a small dipping or serving bowl.

Arrange the fritto misto on a platter and  serve with the lemon mayonnaise.

Serving Size

4 to 6 servings. Prep time: 8 minutes. Cook time: 12 minutes

Recipe: Sun-dried tomato pesto

  • 1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

In the bowl of a food processor, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil with the basil and garlic just until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl, and stir in the cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper to taste.

Note: I like to use sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil because the oil has had time to marinate with the tomatoes, thus adding a heightened flavor to this pesto. If you can’t find them, then soak dry sun-dried tomatoes in extra-virgin olive oil for 12 hours.

Serving Size

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Recipe: Chocolate chip cookies with hazelnuts


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 large, heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Finely chop the oats in a food processor. Transfer the oats to a medium bowl. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the toffee pieces, hazelnuts and chocolate chips.

Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets by rounded tablespoonfuls, spacing them 1 inch apart (do not flatten the dough). Bake until the cookies are golden (they will flatten slightly), about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and cool completely. (The cookies can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

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