Talk Takeaway: Cooking with Giada De Laurentiis

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 10:45am

Giada De Laurentiis was in the kitchen today showing us how to make simple and flavorful festive fall recipes. Here's how you can make them at home.

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto  


4 slices apple-wood smoked bacon, chopped

4 cups low-salt organic chicken broth, plus extra, as needed

1 cup canned pure pumpkin

2 tablespoons butter

1 leek (white and pale green part only), thinly sliced

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

11/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice

2/3 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon(generous) freshly grated nutmeg

Additional warm chicken broth, if needed

11/2 cup coarsely crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 6 ounces)


In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together the broth and pumpkin. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low to keep the pumpkin broth warm.


In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain.


In a heavy large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leek and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until almost tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the thyme. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until completely absorbed,  about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the pumpkin broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, and the mixture is creamy, adding additional warm broth by 1/4 cupfuls if risotto is dry, 20 to 25 minutes total. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from the heat. Season with more salt, if desired.


Divide the risotto among 6 shallow bowls. Sprinkle each with the bacon, goat cheese and remaining parsley and serve.


Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Inactive Prep Time: 15 minutes



Crostini with Apple and Onion Confit




2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 green apple, such as Granny Smith, unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 red apple, such as Washington, unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves


1 French baguette, thinly sliced into 26 (1/4 to 1/2-inch thick) slices

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

3 ounces creamy gorgonzola cheese sliced into 26 (1/4-inch thick) 1-inch squares

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves


For the confit: In a high-sided skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion, apple slices, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onion begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, maple syrup and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and apples are very soft, about 50 minutes.


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and bake for 12 to 14 minutes until light golden. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the gorgonzola squares on top of the warm toasts. Spoon the confit on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with chopped thyme and serve.


Cook's Note: Freeze the gorgonzola for 20 minutes for easier slicing.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 75 to 80 minutes




Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies


1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup old fashioned oats (not quick)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

3/4 cup raw sugar (crystals)

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup raisins


Orange Frosting

1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more if needed

Orange food coloring, as needed


In a medium bowl combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and allspice. Stir to blend well. In a large bowl combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, syrup and vanilla; whisk to blend. Using a flexible rubber spatula, gradually stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Stir in raisins.


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. For each cookie, drop 1 generous tablespoon batter onto the prepared sheet, spacing the mounds about 1 inch apart. (Or use a mini ice cream scoop.) Using moistened fingertips, flatten each to a 2-inch-diameter round.


Bake the cookies until brown and a bit firm to the touch, 17 to 20 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.


While the cookies cool, make your frosting. Combine the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and whole milk in a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the ingredients until smooth, adding more milk if needed (the frosting should be stiff). Gradually add the orange food coloring until desired color.


Once the cookies are cooled, spread 2 teaspoons of frosting on the flat side of one cookie. Place the flat side of another cookie against the frosting making a cookie sandwich.


Yield: 23 to 26 cookies (depending on whether raisins, etc were added)

Prep Time: about 15 to 20 minutes

Cook Time: about 35 minutes

Inactive Prep Time: N/A

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