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It may be too hot to cook, but Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis proves it doesn’t mean dinner isn’t possible.

Here are three quick and delicious hot-weather dishes from the celebrity chef.

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis wears a black-and-white checkered sweater in this photograph.
Giada De Laurentiis | Bennett Raglin/WireImage

The chef knows the dog days of summer call for easy recipes that get you out of the kitchen quickly

No one wants to fire up the oven when it’s a scorcher outside. Culinary personality Giada De Laurentiis writes in her cookbook Everyday Italian, where you’ll find the recipes featured here, that a simple recipe is best on warmer evenings.

“Sometimes you want slow-roasted, sweet, caramelized root vegetables,” she says. “But sometimes you want your veggies bright and crisp, tasting as much as possible like freshness itself. For me this is especially so in the summer; when ripe produce is at its peak, you don’t want to spend a lot of time over the stove, and you’re looking for a vibrant plate. These are the recipes for those times.”

De Laurentiis’ Peas and Prosciutto

This light meal from the Italian chef features deliciously salty prosciutto: “I consider it a genius way to liven up the plate. And this is the easiest side dish you will ever make. I like to add this to my scrambled eggs for breakfast.”

Her recipe also calls for chopped shallots, minced fresh garlic, frozen peas, thinly sliced prosciutto, and chopped fresh parsley. All the ingredients are heated in a large skillet and it’s done in about five minutes.

It’s a quick supper, as one reviewer noted on Food Network’s site, where you’ll find the recipe: “This recipe was inexpensive, super easy, and absolutely delicious. While it may have been intended as a side dish, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it as a main dish. Thank you!” 

The chef’s Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta recipe 

De Laurentiis’s simple recipe is done quickly with just a few ingredients: coarsely chopped pancetta, minced garlic, and reduced-sodium chicken broth – and, of course, Brussels sprouts.

Many home cooks noted on Food Network’s site that the Simply Giada host’s dish made Brussels sprouts lovers out of them: “This was so easy to make. My husband and daughter loved it and ask me to fix it all the time. If your family isn’t crazy with Brussels sprouts fix this recipe they will be.”

The Brussels sprouts, De Laurentiis notes, “can be prepared up to … 8 hours ahead. Dry thoroughly and refrigerate in a resealable plastic bag.”


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De Laurentiis’ Everyday Caponata can be served with toasted bread 

This eggplant-based dish, the chef notes in her cookbook, “is one of the great Sicilian vegetable dishes, often eaten as a relish alongside pork roast or fish. … It can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature, making it the ultimate vegetable dish for a casual party.”

In addition to eggplant, De Laurentiis’ recipe also includes celery, onion, red bell pepper, canned diced tomatoes, raisins, dried oregano leaves, red wine vinegar, sugar, and capers.