A lot of men don’t cook for fear of being perceived as a man too in touch with his feminine side, so we’ve made it easy on you guys by picking the 5 best recipes by Giada De Laurentiis, and serving up some man-sized variations that are sure to fill your stomach and exercise your grill skills. These are tried-and-true recipes for quick, everyday Italian, sure to make your buddies’ mouths water while avoiding any Julia Child references (there is a grill involved in most of them, after all).
- Tomato, mozzarella and basil bruschetta. This is a fantastic first for our list of the 5 best recipes by Giada De Laurentiis. But we have an even easier variation that includes firing up the grill. First, cut a French baguette in half lengthwise, then place it on the top shelf of the grill and fire on medium flame for about two to three minutes—just enough time to get the bread firm and crispy without adding color. Take the bread off the grill and rub a peeled garlic clove along the open face of the bread. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. In a bowl on the side, combine cubed mozzarella, diced fresh tomatoes and chopped basil, along with a little olive oil. Spoon onto the baguette and put it back on the grill for another three minutes or until the cheese has melted and the bread has browned.
- Baked penne with roasted vegetables. Otherwise referred to as the “oh-my-God-what-is-this?” quick meal solution, this is one of the best recipes by Giada De Laurentiis. Our little variation makes it easy enough for even the slightly inebriated chef; only roast the vegetables for five to seven minutes, and rather than pre-boiling the pasta in a pot of water, simply mix the dry pasta in a bowl with the roasted veggies, cheeses, herbs and sauce (make sure you snap up the new Giada De Laurentiis tomato and basil sauce—the chopped texture and light spices make for some of the best fresh tomato sauce around), and throw the whole thing into a porcelain baking dish or casserole for baking.
- Whole wheat spaghetti with lemon and basil. No variations needed for this Giada De Laurentiis recipe. It’s a light, tangy pasta on a bed of lettuce that’ll make your girlfriend proud of you. Sort of like a pasta salad. Throw a grilled slab of salmon onto the plate, and that’ll really get your man juice flowing.
- Fried zucchini. At the very least, the fourth on our list of Giada De Laurentiis recipes will captivate your French-fry senses. We suggest doubling the recipe and making an entire bowl for serving up as an appetizer. For the manly variation, throw the zucchini onto the grill (in a grill-safe pan) instead of using the oven. It offers an extra crunch and allows every guy the chance to get out of the kitchen.
- Pizza with fresh tomato and basil. For time efficiency, skip the homemade dough—it’s delicious but more work than a guy needs at beer o’clock—and unroll a refrigerated store-bought crust instead. And don’t forget to fire up the grill for a manly variation. Pre-grill the crust for about two to three minutes (on both sides) before adding your olive oil, sauce and toppings. After you load it up, the whole thing should only take another five to seven minutes to cook on the upper grill rack (medium-high flame).
It’s hard to stick to only 5 of the best Giada De Laurentiis recipes; we’ve given these top five a man-sized twist that is sure to give every guy—and his buddies—a few easy and satisfying solutions to the cravings that go with every happy hour.