When we recently sat down with the Food Network's resident queen of Italian cooking, Giada De Laurentiis, at the pasta-centric restaurant Bar Primi in downtown New York City, it immediately conjured up images of fresh bucatini and pies of steaming hot pizza. Here, the chef answers our burning culinary questions and shares her expert know-how.
Meal of the moment? I love my lemon spaghetti. It's made with lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and one clove of garlic—smashed, not chopped. I cook the pasta, toss it in there hot so it melts with the parmesan cheese, and top it with a little more pasta water to create a more substantial sauce. If I want a protein, I'll add shrimp.
Favorite gadget? My Kuhn Rikon serrated paring knife ($12; surlatable.com) comes with me everywhere I go. When I rent a house for vacation, I never know what they're working with, and cooking is simply not enjoyable with a dull knife.
Go-to ingredient right now? I like to mix fleur de sel and herbes de Provence in a little container. It tastes herby but floral, and the texture is really nice. I used it this summer on everything from grilled meat to salad dressings. It adds a great crunch.