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Giada whips up cacio e pepe pasta and brownies for an easy weeknight dinner

Giada De Laurentiis cooks up a simple cacio e pepe pasta and salted chocolate brownies that will please the whole family.
/ Source: TODAY

Chef, TV show host and cookbook author Giada De Laurentiis is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to make a few of her favorite, family-friendly recipes from her new book "Giada's Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita." She shows us how to make quick and easy, cheesy pasta and decadent salted dark chocolate brownies.

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"Pasta water is the key to the creaminess," De Laurentiis said about her two-cheese cacio e pepe on TODAY. The Food Network star was joined by Tracy Morgan in the TODAY kitchen, who was very excited to try one of the chef's signature dishes.

While many chefs use spaghetti in this classic dish, the Italian-born De Laurentiis opts for a more a creative noodle: she uses creste del gallo (aka "rooster crest") pasta, instead. She told TODAY, "I find that short pasta is less intimidating for people to cook than long pasta."

It's a full meal, for sure, she explained, because, "You have your protein, your cheese and your greens!"

Cacio e Pepe with Pancetta and Arugula

"This is a family favorite in my house. It's easy, cheesy and decadent without being heavy," said De Laurentiis.

Salted Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies

"These brownies can be summed up in just three words: chocolate, chocolate and chocolate! The best part about them? You don't even have to get out the mixer."

If you like those quick and easy recipes, you should also try these:

Mezzi Rigatoni Pasta with Corn and Spicy Sausage
Giada's Checca Sauce

Giada's Checca Sauce

Giada De Laurentiis