Giada De Laurentiis’s upcoming cookbook, Happy Cooking (out November 3), is going to be different. No, she’s not suddenly taking on Szechuan cuisine or proselytizing a raw food diet. But she is taking a new approach to cooking and food. Instead of focusing this book on a specific cuisine or course or season, she decided to feature recipes that make her happy—both to eat and to cook.
“This year has been an interesting one for me with a lot of changes,” she says. “I got divorced and my life turned upside down. I had been with my husband for 22 years, since I was 18 years old and I am so no longer 18 years old. I am a 40 year-old single woman. It’s a totally different life and I don’t even know where to begin. I had to rethink of the things that were still special in my life and tap back into them and see if they were still there.” Cooking, she fortunately discovered, could still bring her joy. “There’s a therapeutic sense of calmness that I find when I cook,” she says. “So I decided I would call the book Happy Cooking because truly, cooking is one of the things that makes me happiest. I rely on it a lot.”
The book’s 200 recipes include calming foods like bone broth (recipe below), chicken soup, lots of pastas and cakes. “It’s a sneak peek into my daily rituals and how I keep myself going—even through difficult and busy times,” she says. “It’s like opening a window to a different part of my life, which I haven’t done in the past because, quite frankly, I didn’t even know it existed.”
Reprinted from Happy Cooking. Copyright © 2015 by Giada De Laurentiis. To be published on November 3, 2015 by Pam Krauss Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Makes about 9 cups
This broth is made without salt, because it can become too salty as the liquid reduces. Season to taste before adding to soups or sauces, or sipping from a mug.
2 pounds beef bones
2 (6-ounce) pieces of oxtail
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, halved through the equator
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 raw chicken carcasses
4 1/2 quarts cold water
3 carrots, washed and cut in 3 pieces each
1 small celery root, peeled and cut in 6 chunks
1 head of garlic, halved through the equator
Stems from 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
6 large sprigs of thyme
Kosher salt, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Place the beef bones and the oxtails on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle and rub the bones and oxtails with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to coat them evenly. Roast for 20 minutes until the bones are fragrant and golden brown.
3. In a large stockpot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Place the onion in the pot, cut side down, and cook for about 5 minutes or until both cut sides are a deep, even brown. Remove and set aside. Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste is caramelized and a shade darker in color, about 2 minutes. Add the beef bones, oxtail, and the chicken carcasses to the pot and cover with the water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat as needed to just maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, skimming any impurities or grease that may float to the surface.
4. Add the browned onion, the carrots, celery root, garlic, parsley stems, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs to the stockpot and continue to simmer gently for an additional 3 hours. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate if not using immediately. Before using or sipping, season with salt if desired.