Giada De Laurentiis Once Said Her Crab Salad Napoleon Is ‘One of the Prettiest Dishes’ She’s Ever Made

Having a brunch or light lunch? Give Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis‘ Crab Salad Napoleons with Fresh Pasta a go for an easy, elegant, and impressive dish.

Culinary personality Giada De Laurentiis wears a pink dress in this photograph.
Giada De Laurentiis | Manny Hernandez/Getty Images

The chef described her recipe as ‘perfect for a ladies’ lunch’

The Food Network star, in her cookbook Everyday Pasta, said that this recipe “is one of the prettiest dishes I have ever made. It’s perfect for a ladies’ lunch, as it’s not too heavy and is extremely elegant looking.”

Her tips for preparing it for a gathering include making “it ahead of time and serve slightly filled. You could also substitute chopped cooked shrimp for the crab if you prefer.”

In an appearance sponsored by Food & Wine in which she prepared the dish, De Laurentiis notes that this recipe is “better for a smaller dinner party. So if you’re going to have four to six people, it’s a great dish. If you’re going to have 20, forget about it.”

De Laurentiis’ crab recipe is easy to make

The chef’s dish calls for fresh pasta sheets, mayonnaise, chopped fresh chives, lemon juice, lump crab meat, frozen peas that have been thawed, and lemon zest.

The chives are mixed with the mayonnaise, along with the lemon juice to cut “through that heaviness, that thickness. Just a little bit because if you add too much lemon juice to the mayonnaise, it’ll curdle.”

De Laurentiis places each cooked pasta sheet into ice water “just to cool them down really quick because I don’t want the pasta to fall apart as I assemble it together.”

A bit of the mayo is tossed with the lump crab and peas, and the small pasta sheets are dried off.

The chef’s pretty dish is assembled in a layered fashion, with a cooked sheet of pasta placed first on the plate, then spread with the prepared mayonnaise. Another pasta sheet goes on, followed by more mayonnaise, and a smattering of chives, and it’s ready to serve.

While cooked and portioned prepackaged lasagna sheets could be used for the dish, De Laurentiis says in her cookbook that “nothing beats freshly made pasta. It takes a bit of time—and a pasta-rolling machine–but the results are worth the effort.”

She adds that you can also just buy “good-quality fresh pasta, either in sheets or cut into noodles. But like making your own bread, making fresh pasta is a very satisfying way to spend a Sunday afternoon.”

Get the complete Crab Salad and Napoleon recipe and reviews on Food Network’s site.

De Laurentiis’ simple crab dish was a hit with reviewers

The chef’s elegant but simple recipe earned the praise of home cooks on Food Network’s site.

“Very Easy to prepare, and absolutely scrumptious to the bare plate!!!!!,” one person wrote.

Another reviewer added that the seafood dish was as fresh as a sunny day: “Really a very simple recipe. I used crab claw meat which is much cheaper than lump crab meat. Do not use canned crab. I also used wonton wrappers instead of fresh pasta. In the middle of winter in the northeast, we had a light meal to remind us that spring is around the corner.”

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