For Food Network personality Valerie Bertinelli, Italian cuisine is a specialty.
The Italian-American draws from her family’s trusted recipe box and adds her own creations to that catalog of dishes. Here are just some of her best.
Bertinelli inherited her cooking chops from her mother
In her cookbook Valerie’s Home CookingBertinelli revealed that her mother, while not Italian, threw herself into trying to find her way in the cucina largely due to her husband’s Italian family.
Her “specialty was Italian food, even though she is of Anglo-Irish descent and grew up in New Jersey,” the culinary personality wrote. “She learned to cook from the women in my father’s family. When I was a kid, she made a mean lasagna, and the rich, creamy goodness of her risotto still comes through when I think of perfection at the end of a fork.
Valerie Bertinelli’s version of her mother’s risotto
Risotto has earned its place as a delicious starchy staple in Italian cooking. Bertinelli wrote of her modest yet stylish spin on the recipe: “I see this as a luxury one-dish meal that I can serve during the week. It’s creamy, with al dente rice, the way risotto should be,” she continued.
While the actor’s mother (to the disappointment of Bertinelli and her siblings) used chicken neck, gizzard and liver in her risotto, in her version she adds diced tomatoes, ground pork, dry white wine, baby spinach, grated Parmesan cheese and, of course, , Arborio rice.
She suggests serving this meal “with crusty bread and a salad,” confident that “as it has been for me, it will become a favorite family recipe.” I’ll add one more note: Thanks, Mom.”
The full recipe can be found in the Valerie’s Home Cooking cookbook.
Bertinelli’s mother’s lasagna recipe
Bertinelli’s lasagna is taken from her mother’s trusty recipe box and stays true to the family original.
This is a whopper of a lasagna that is perfect for a large crowd and includes ground beef, hot Italian sausage, onion, garlic, dried oregano, tomato paste, packaged tomatoes, eggs, shredded mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and oregano, no – cook lasagna noodles, and lots of ricotta cheese (almost two pounds, to be exact).
Reviewers on the Food Network websitewhere you will find the full recipe, the first mentioned One day at a time star’s version “my favorite lasagna recipe” and “Very easy to prepare and simply delicious.”
Bertinelli’s Arrabiata Penne is a feast for tomato lovers
This rustic yet impressive meal calls for tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
After cooking for a while, fresh basil, cooked pasta and grated Parmesan cheese are added and the dish is ready to serve.
Although Bertinelli prefers fresh tomatoes for the recipe, she notes that it’s fine to use canned tomatoes to save time: “This is an easy dinner when I’m in a hurry, and with a green salad and a creamy dressing.” to balance the herbs, along with fresh bread, you can count on this as a staple food from Monday to Friday, just like me.”
The many five star ratings for the recipe, found on the Food Network sitepraised the simplicity of the dish.
It’s a busy home cook’s dream meal, as one said in their review: “We made this for dinner tonight and I’m amazed at how easy it was to prepare and how fantastic it tastes. It will be added to our weekly rotation.”
RELATED: Valerie Bertinelli’s English Lemon Cake Gets Extra Pungency From 1 Genius Ingredient