You might know Teresa Guidice as one of The Real Housewives of New Jersey (or for her infamous table flipping) but she has a knack for finding her way around the kitchen, thanks to her Italian family secrets. She's decided to share those secrets with the world in her new cookbook, Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It: Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!
The Housewife talked to us about how she keeps her recipes tasty and healthy and how tomatoes are an aphrodisiac (I know what I'm making for dinner!).
We also have five copies of her cookbook to give away (see below for details).
How'd you learn to cook?
From my mom, over the phone. When I got married, I realized I wanted to be able to make the recipes I grew up with for [my husband] Joe. I'd call my mom and say, "I want to make veal piccata for dinner. How do you make it?" A lot of the recipes in Skinny Italian are ones that my mom brought over on the boat from Italy, but the book also has some that I made up on my own, like the Zucchini "Spaghetti" Salad.
What's your favorite recipe in the book?
Teresa's Favorite Tagliatelle -- I like how it has so many colors as well as how good it tastes.
What's the most complicated recipe in the book?
My recipes aren't complicated because I wanted other moms to know that it really is possible to make homemade food for your family every night. I use very basic ingredients, so anyone should be able to do it.
Do your daughters like to cook with you?
They love it. It's so cute, I think maybe it's because they see me cooking so they want to do it, too. I came downstairs one morning and there was Gia making her own egg.
Italian foods are so carb-heavy ... how do you keep it healthy?
They're not! That's a common misconception. Real Italian food is not the same as what passes for Italian in many American restaurants. Italians don't sit around eating cannolis and chicken parm every day. You're right that if they did they would not be skinny. For example, I recommend using olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I saute instead of deep fry. I serve thin, crispy breadsticks with dinner, not fat, doughy breadsticks like at the Olive Garden. Some people think they should put sugar in tomato sauce -- that's disgusting! Don't do it -- a real Italian never would. I don't use sugar in anything that's not a dessert, and my desserts tend to be light and fruit-based. A lot of people at my bookstore signings have told me that they like the Strawberries & Sambuca recipe because it's only three ingredients and perfect for summer.
You look amazing after having kids ... other than eating healthy, what are your secrets for being so fit?
Thank you! In addition to making healthy homemade food, I'd also suggest thinking about how much of it you're eating. Keep your portion sizes reasonable. I serve pasta as part of a meal -- with a protein and a salad -- rather than as a whole plate.
What made you want to share your family's secret recipes with the rest of the world?
People kept asking me how I stay skinny after all my girls and how I manage to cook dinner seven nights a week with so much else going on in my life. I wanted to share my recipes so other people could manage it too.
You said on the show that it's superstition that you're not supposed to make tomato sauce when you're on your period ... are there any other interesting Italian superstitions pertaining to cooking?
Italians think tomatoes are an aphrodisiac. Maybe that's why we use tomatoes in so many of our recipes!
A big thank you to Teresa for taking the time to chat with us! Now, for the giveaway ...
To enter to win, tell me ...
What's your favorite Italian food?
Here are the giveaway rules ...
Only your first comment counts as an entry.
Five (5) CafeMoms who reply to this post with a comment by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, June 19, 2010, will be chosen at random to receive a copy of Skinny Italian (valued at $9.99).*
*No Purchase Necessary. Starts June 15, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. (EST) and ends June 19, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Open to US residents, 16 years and older, who are CafeMom members. Void where prohibited. Click here for the Official Rules.