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TODAY recipes
updated 6/30/2011 8:24:10 AM ET 2011-06-30T12:24:10

Recipe: Pea pesto crostini

Ingredients
  • For the pesto:
  • 1 10-ounce package of frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • For the crostini:
  • 8 1/2-inch-thick slices of whole-grain baguette or ciabatta bread, preferably day-old
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato, diced
Preparation

To make the pea pesto:
Pulse together the peas, garlic, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add in the olive oil until it is well combined, which takes about one to two minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

To make the crostini:
Preheat a stovetop griddle or grill pan on medium-high heat.

Brush both sides of the sliced bread with olive oil and grill until golden, which takes about one to two minutes.

Transfer the bread to a clean surface and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the prepared pesto on each slice. Top with tomato and serve.

Cook’s note: If you don't have day-old bread on hand, you can dry out fresh bread by putting the slices in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until slightly crisp, which takes about five minutes.

Serving Size

Yields four to six servings

Recipe: Beef tenderloin crostini with basil-curry mayonnaise

Ingredients
  • For the crostini:
  • 1/2 baguette or ficelle loaf, sliced into 20 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the steak:
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 4-ounce filet mignon steaks, each about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • For the mayonnaise:
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving:
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Preparation

To make the crostini:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the bread is light golden.

To make the steak:
Spray a small baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and garlic. Rub the spice mixture all over the steaks.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook for two minutes on each side until browned.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes for medium doneness.

Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the steaks, across the grain, into 20 1/4-inch-thick slices.

To make the mayonnaise:
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mascarpone cheese, basil, curry powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.

To serve:
Spread a heaped 1/2 teaspoonful of the curry mayonnaise over each toast slice.

Arrange a slice of steak on top.

Place a 1/4 teaspoon dollop of curry mayonnaise on top of the steak and arrange a single leaf of cilantro on top.

Serving Size

Yields six to eight servings

Recipe: Individual lasagnas with fresh sweet corn and mascarpone cheese, served with blistered tomatoes and roasted asparagus

Ingredients
  • For the lasagnas:
  • Butter for greasing the ramekins
  • 12 lasagna sheets
  • 3 cups fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream, at room temperature
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup, or 8 ounces, mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup, or 4 ounces, finely grated Romano cheese, plus 1/2 cup, or 2 ounces,
  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1.5 cups, or 6 ounces, shredded sharp Provolone cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • For the blistered tomatoes:
  • 1 pound, or 2 dry pints, cherry tomatoes
  • For the roasted asparagus
  • 1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed
Preparation

Special equipment:
6 10-ounce ramekins, each 2.5 inches tall and 0.25 inches in diameter

To make the lasagnas:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter six 10-ounce ramekins. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, which takes about eight minutes.

Using two cooked lasagna noodles in an "x" shape, line each ramekin, pushing the noodles gently into the bottom of the ramekins, allowing any excess pasta to overhang the side.

In a food processor, blend the corn, cream and garlic until chunky. Add the mascarpone cheese, 1 cup Romano cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Add the basil and pulse until just combined. Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling into the bottom of each ramekin. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of Provolone cheese on top.

Fold two overhanging pieces of pasta over the filling. Trim the ends of the pasta with scissors, if necessary. Add another 1/4 cup of filling and top with another 2 tablespoons Provolone cheese.

Fold over the two remaining pieces of pasta. Spoon any remaining filling on top of the ramekins. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/2 cup Romano cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool for 10 minutes.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the lasagnas. Unmold the lasagnas and transfer to serving plates.

For the blistered tomatoes and roasted asparagus:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place asparagus and tomatoes on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for five to eight minutes or until crisp tender.

Serving Size

Yields six servings

Recipe: Tarragon and merlot truffles

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 3 tablespoons Merlot wine
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Preparation

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place the cream and chocolate in a medium bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, which takes about six minutes.

Stir in the tarragon, wine and salt until smooth.

Refrigerate for two hours until firm. Let the mixture stand at room temperature until moldable, which takes about 45 minutes.

Using a melon scoop, scoop level amounts of the truffle mixture on to the prepared baking sheet. Roll into 1/2-inch balls.

Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until coated.

Arrange on a platter and serve or refrigerate in an airtight container.

Serving Size

Yields 40 to 45 truffles

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