She brings me Everyday Italian, and I enjoy it because that’s exactly what I have in kitchen cupboards. Pastas, sauces, cheese, and wine glasses. There are other things, but they’re a minority. My fridge is just as boring. Or tasty.
So Giada and I get along.
I’ve been reclaiming my e-mail the last few days, both the inbox and the spam filter. They both turned up finds. One was an e-mail I’d sent myself from work — subject line “giada” with a work link inside.
I thought the link was a story the paper had written about her, slipping in and out of dresses ahead of some event, seemingly always verging on the accented ingredient name-dropping she does to great effect. I remembered in the story that even in real life Giada couldn’t help her constant overexplaining. Like her overly rich and European-seeming friends she feeds at the end of each episode, despite their clearly expensive pants having no business mixing tomato sauces and the outdoors, the explanation effect is offputting if you want to like her. You worry that if she were in your kitchen, you’d offer her wine and she’d start on a story about wine and her grandmother. In this story, her grandmother would not have a beloved drinking problem, drop anything, steal anything, or be immediately to Lucy’s left when you watch the grape-stomping scene — the only valid reasons to postpone accepting a glass of wine.
But I was wrong about the link. It wasn’t the story but an excerpt from her new book. The receipt was “Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood.” It contained zero superfluous explanation, not a word more than necessary to complete the instructions.
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, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until tender but not brown. Add the sun–dried tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add the wine, shrimp, and clams and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the shrimp are pink and the clams have opened, about 7 minutes. Discard any clams that have not opened.
Add the spaghetti to the skillet with the seafood mixture. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine, then gently fold in the arugula. Mound the pasta on a serving platter and serve immediately.
Finishing my own plate of pasta, I went looking for the story. Quickly found it. She was in a dress shop.
“I’m petite, but most petite women don’t have breasts and curves. I have a hard time getting clothes that fit right, and for some reason the pieces I have from him, it’s as if he sculpted them for me,” Giada said. A grandmother story followed.