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Video: Cozy up with Giada’s favorite comfort foods

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    >>> we are now back at 8:19 to do some cooking with giada de laurentiis . she kicked up her heels with al and a lot of stars at the golden globes on sunday. she says hollywood's a-listers really went for comfort foods . she's back with us this morning. good morning.

    >> hi. good morning.

    >> stars like comfort food ? next thing you'll tell me is they put on their pants one leg at a time, they're normal people. what did they like the most you prepared?

    >> the pot roast with creamy polenta. heidi klum sat at my table. she ate all four courses, devoured it.

    >> and she's a supermodel.

    >> i was happy with myself. or she was super hungry.

    >> it's a twist on comfort food . it's not just mac & cheese and baked potatoes . we started with baked gnocchi.

    >> it's giada style comfort food . when i think of comfort food i think of baked pasta. these are store bought gnocchi. i butter the bottom and make a fast cream sauce . we have chicken broth --

    >> not for the faint of heart this cream sauce .

    >> i didn't say eat the whole dish.

    >> that's heavy cream .

    >> yes. and we'll add flour to thicken it. just whisk it for five minutes until it thickens. then you have a sauce like this. add salt, pepper and fresh nutmeg right on top. just add a little bit of warmth to it. and then you pour it over the gnocchi.

    >> this goes into the oven?

    >> yeah. 400 degrees but we have to add cheese. hold your horses one minute. we have four minutes. give me a second!

    >> trying to use my time wisely.

    >> i like to add spinach as well, but i should have added it in there.

    >> see, you're so busy criticizing me you lost your train of thought .

    >> it's improv. it's all good. then parm and goat cheese .

    >> in the oven for --

    >> 30 minutes .

    >> it looks beautiful when it comes out.

    >> pretty good.

    >> on now to --

    >> your favorite.

    >> chianti marinated beef stew .

    >> take a piece of brisket. i soak it for three hours in the fridge in wine.

    >> dry it off?

    >> pat it dry because you don't want the meat to steam. you want it to brown. put it on paper towel. dab it.

    >> what's in here?

    >> pancetta.

    >> brown it until it's nice and golden. the pancetta adds flavor. you could use bacon.

    >> carrots, green beans , potatoes and what was at the head of it?

    >> celery.

    >> use some kalamata olives for extra flavor. it's basically a one-pot meal. tomatoes. sage and rosemary. add the beef broth and simmer it and cook it for about three hours.

    >> through the wonder of television we'll show people what it looks like right here.

    >> aah!

    >> i want to relive a little bit of the moment from the golden globes . you two were cutting a rug.

    >> look at those moves. she's got the moves like jagger.

    >> were there nerves involved with the cooking thing or did you have a good time?

    >> there were tons of nerves for a long time.

    >> you were actually out partying.

    >> that was at the after party. i had a dinner for 160 people beforehand. then i had an after a party dinner, buffet. when you saw me, that was long into the night , my friend.

    >> you had been drinking pretty heavily.

    >> congratulations. good to have you

TODAY recipes
updated 1/17/2012 2:33:47 PM ET 2012-01-17T19:33:47

Recipe: Baked gnocchi

Ingredients
  • 2 17-ounce packages potato gnocchi, such as DeCecco
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 3 ounces goat cheese (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the gnocchi in a lightly greased 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Set aside. In a medium saucepan whisk together the cream, chicken broth, and the flour over medium heat. Continue whisking until the cream is simmering and thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir to combine. Add the spinach and toss to coat in the cream. Pour the cream and spinach mixture evenly over the gnocchi and gently spread the spinach out to cover. Crumble the goat cheese over the spinach. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake until the top is golden in places, about 30 minutes.

Serving Size

6 servings

Recipe: Chianti marinated beef stew

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pound beef brisket
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle Chianti
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (4-ounce) piece pancetta cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) kalamata olives, halved
  • 6 ounces green beans, halved
  • 4 medium red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef broth
Preparation

Place the beef in a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Pour the wine over the meat and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the meat over and marinate for another 1 1/2 hours. Remove the meat from the wine and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the wine.

In a large dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Season the meat on allsides with salt and pepper. Using tongs, place the meat in the pan and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes each side. Remove the meat and add the remaining oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, olives, green beans, potatoes , rosemary, and sage. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour the reserved wine, tomatoes, and beef broth into the pan, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the meat to the pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Remove the meat and the rosemary sprigs from the stew. Place the meat on a cutting board and cut into quarters. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Add the shredded meat to the stew and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Serving Size

6 servings

Recipe: Chocolate cake tiramisu with chocolate sabayon

Ingredients
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup imported sweet Marsala
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup (4 ounces) dark chocolate morsels or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 store bought chocolate cake mix, such as Betty Crocker Super Moist Dark Chocolate, baked according to box instructions
  • 1 3.5-ounce bar bittersweet chocolate (such as Lindt) for chocolate curls (optional)
Preparation

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium stainless steel bowl until blended. Whisk in Marsala, 1/2 cup cream, and salt. Place the bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Whisk constantly until the sauce is thick and a thermometer inserted into the sabayon registers 160 degrees F to 170 degrees F, about 15 minutes. Remove the bowl from over the water. Add the chocolate morsels and whisk until they are melted and the sabayon is smooth and blended. (The sabayon can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Whisk before continuing.)

Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup cream and the mascarpone in another medium bowl until peaks form. Dice cake into small cubes. Place about 1/2 cup of the cake cubes into each of six 1/2- to 2-cup old-fashioned glasses or water goblets. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons sabayon over the cake. Top with a spoonful of the mascarpone cream. Repeat the layering with cake, sabayon, and mascarpone cream.

To make the chocolate curls, stand the chocolate bar in a large measuring cup. Microwave on 50 percent 10-second intervals just until the chocolate feels a bit warm. Stand the chocolate bar upright and run a vegetable peeler down one narrow edge, creating off chocolate curls. Sprinkle the curls over each tiramsu and serve.

*Cooks note: Wrap leftover cake cubes in plastic wrap and freeze.

Serving Size

6 servings (2 1/4 cup chocolate sabayon)

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