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"Donatella Cooks" recipes and book GIVEAWAY!

New Yorker Donatella Arpaia has released a cookbook that's much like the successful restaurateur herself.  Fashionable yet rooted in her Italian heritage, Donatella Cooks: Simple Food Made Glamorous (Rodale Books, 2010) makes comfort food sparkle with clever tips and tricks...who knew egg whites can transform plain mac-and-cheese into a chic delight?

Below are three delicious dishes from Donatella's book, plus you can win a copy!  How-to and rules below, after the recipes.  We'll start with dessert first... :)

Nutella Hot Chocolate

2 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I recommend Valrhona)
1/2 cup Nutella
Gourmet marshmallows, toasted if desired

COMBINE THE MILK and half-and-half in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and Nutella. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Cover to keep hot. If using marshmallows (and you should!), toast them, one at a time over a gas flame, turning until all sides are golden brown. Pour the hot chocolate into small coffee mugs, top with the marshmallows, and serve hot.

Eggplant Napoleon

YOU'LL NEED: cast-iron stovetop grill pan
2 Japanese eggplants, each cut into 4 diagonal slices
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 or 4 small balls buffalo mozzarella, 14 ounces total, cut into thick slices
12 basil leaves plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

SALT THE EGGPLANT and place in a colander to allow any excess liquid to drain off. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the eggplant and toss to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes.

BRUSH A CAST-IRON STOVETOP GRILL PAN with a thin layer of olive oil. Place over medium- high heat. Grill the eggplant until slightly charred, about 5 minutes per side. Set aside on a plate to cool. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Put the red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in a steady stream.

TO BUILD THE NAPOLEON, begin with a slice of the eggplant, followed by a slice of mozzarella topped with a basil leaf. Repeat. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and garnish with the basil leaves. Scatter the pine nuts around each napoleon and serve.

Salmon in Cartoccio with Caponata

YOU'LL NEED: parchment paper
12 ounces Italian-style caponata, from a jar or the refrigerated section, well drained
1/4 teaspoon dried Greek or wild oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, flat-leaf parsley, or basil
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
4 wild salmon fillets (about 6 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons white wine or vermouth


IF THE CHUNKS of caponata are very large, cut them into 1/2" cubes. Combine with the oregano, fresh herbs, and vinegar. Season each fillet on both sides with a little salt and plenty of pepper. Cut 4 sheets of parchment paper about 12" long. Fold in half, then open up and place a salmon fillet on one side of the fold. Spoon the caponata evenly over the top of each fillet, then drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon white wine. Fold the parchment over the fish and, beginning at one of the corners, crimp, roll, and fold the edges of the parchment to make a well-sealed package. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 12 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then transfer the packages directly onto plates. Slash the top open just a little to expose the salmon inside. Provide a bowl for guests to dispose of the parchment.

Doesn't that all sound so delicious?  Would you like to see more?  Win a copy of Donatella Cooks by answering this question in the comments:

What's your favorite Italian dish?

Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you've won.  Giveaway ends on Thursday at 6pm CDT - good luck!

This contest is closed.  Here's the winner!


Winner will be chosen at random.
Open to US residents over the age of 18.

Contest closes at 6:00pm Central on Thursday, 6/24/10.  Winner will be announced on Friday, 6/25/10.

Text & photographs reprinted with permission

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Reader Comments (14)

Ravioli Zucca! Yum!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

My favorite is brushchetta!!! I have fresh basil in my Florida room and some nights I will just go out there and cut a little off the plant, chop up some tomato, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. A little sourdough toasted with EVOO and I have dinner. LOL

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

Fav italian dish has got to be lasagna, hands down!
I luv it!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermeghan

Chicken piccata! Or lasagna. I'm hungry now!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChanthana

My favorite dish is lasagna!

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkatie@tulsadetails

I love most Italian dishes...but my favorite is probably the standard spaghetti & meatballs!

June 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandi

My favorite Italian dish is Linguini with Clam sauce.

June 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl W

My favorite Italian dish is Gnocchi. Whether it be with a cream sauce, pesto or marinara I just love it!

June 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Bruschetta! Hands down, evey kind every type, I love it!

June 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

This is a tough call. Since I am in gearing up for a half marathon I have been carbing up and trying to keep it light. I have been going with old fashion spagetti. I love to mix in hearty zucchini and fresh shrimp!

June 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

My favorite italian dish is fettucini alfredo...Nothing else like it..

June 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterraijean

Gnocchi! My favorite dinner in the world. :)

June 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDylan

Spaghetti alla Carbonara : )

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaula - bell'alimento

I love spaghetti! My mom used to make it once a week and growing up I vowed that I would never do that. And now that I have a family, I make it once a week too! Family tradition I guess!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlanna

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