My daughter and I were lucky enough to meet Giada De Laurentiis last week. Williams Sonoma was having a book signing and I was fortunate to get a ticket in advance. All I had to do was purchase Giada’s new book , Giada’s Kitchen and wait on line. The line was really long, however the kind Williams Sonoma people were giving out all kinds of goodies. In their store, they had cappuccino, muffins and appetizers. The line stretched for about a quarter of a mile through the mall but a nice lady would come by with a cart full of desserts. We decided to go walk around the mall and wait until the line got shorter. The signing started at 1pm and we hopped back on line at 3pm. We finally had our book signed at 4pm. Here is a picture of Giada. Sorry, the picture is not great but we were not allowed to use a flash.
Giada is one nice lady! She is kind, friendly and absolutely gorgeous. One of the reasons the line went somewhat slow was because Giada took the time to talk to everyone. You were not rushed through the line like a herd of cattle. Instead we could stop and have a conversation with her. There were even fans dropping off presents. I really like her new book. Some of the recipes look fancy, however they are simple to make and I have the majority of the ingredients in my fridge and pantry. To celebrate getting my book signed, I made one of her recipes tonight. It was delicious and I will be making many more recipes out of the book.
Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup grated Romano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock, hot
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 ounces bocconcini mozzarella, halved
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine. Using a melon baller (or a teaspoon measure), form the chicken mixture into 3/4-inch pieces. With damp hands, roll the chicken pieces into mini meatballs.
In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the meatball mixture, mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of the basil. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with the remaining chopped basil.