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Giada De Laurentiis plans for a downsized Thanksgiving — get a peek at her menu

The chef and mother shares how she's making this holiday a lot smaller, but just as sweet.
De Laurentiis says she plans on keeping it small this Thanksgiving. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

While Thanksgiving may feel a little different this year due to COVID-19, Giada De Laurentiis shared how she’s maintaining some sense of normalcy during a time of uncertainty.

Although she won't be seeing her big extended family in-person, De Laurentiis is planning on using her love language (food, of course!) to let them know she’s still thinking about them. TODAY Food caught up with Laurentiis, who is partnering with Marshall's this holiday season, to talk about how she's planning to celebrate safely — while still staying connected to loved ones— this holiday.

“I'm going to drop off some treats to the family I won't be seeing in person for Thanksgiving,” De Laurentiis said. “I think it's a nice way to still share joy and feel more connected to my family in lieu of a big Thanksgiving.”

What exactly is she dropping off? De Laurentiis says she’s probably going to opt for her pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or the chocolate lentil cookies from Alex Guarnaschelli’s new cookbook, "Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook: A Cookbook.”

As for the family that she’ll be celebrating with on Thanksgiving day, De Laurentiis says she plans on keeping it small.

“I'll probably do a bigger virtual Thanksgiving with my entire family and then a smaller, more intimate Thanksgiving with my immediate family: Jade, my mother, sister and brother,” said De Laurentiis.

Of course, the esteemed chef, cookbook author and restaurateur is definitely integrating an “Italian twist” into her Thanksgiving dishes. “I make a ciabatta stuffing with chestnuts and pancetta and my mom is vegetarian so I'm planning to make a butternut squash lasagna too,” said De Laurentiis.

Giada's Butternut Squash Lasagna

In addition to the Thanksgiving classics, De Laurentiis makes sure to serve up her daughter’s favorites. According to De Laurentiis, 12-year-old Jade Thompson loves her baked mashed potatoes with peas in the middle, as well as the most important part of any meal: dessert.

"She also LOVES my Thanksgiving turkey cookies — they’re basically little cookies that look like turkeys made from oreos, peanut butter cups and candy corn,” said De Laurentiis. “Jade would eat them as an appetizer if she could! She also really likes my persimmon pumpkin pie — she definitely has a sweet tooth!”

As for De Laurentiis, her Thanksgiving favorites include her scallion and mozzarella cornbread, and also Raffy's turkey sausage and chestnut stuffing. Finally, the chef shares that what she’ll miss the most are her family’s holiday traditions.

“This year I won't be able to do a lot of my favorite holiday traditions since most of the celebrations will be virtual, but my family and I usually like to play an Italian card game called Scopa,” said De Laurentiis. “We play for money so the stakes are high and we get really competitive — it's a lot of fun.”

That said, her absolute favorite family tradition is the time she gets to spend in the kitchen “cooking, catching up on life and just being together.”