For chef and TV personality Giada De Laurentiis, Southern California is home, but the East End is a beloved annual retreat. She just opened her first restaurant, Giada, at the Cromwell in Las Vegas, and now she’s taking refuge in Amagansett to recharge, share time with family and friends, and feed the soul.
When did you first come to the Hamptons?
Three years ago—this will be our fourth summer out here.
But you also have sun and sea in California.
Here it’s a more relaxed environment, and an escape since it’s not home. The water’s shallower and warmer waters than the Pacific’s—and I love all the farmers markets!
Which are your favorite towns out here?
Amagansett and Montauk.
Do you have any local spots where you like to eat?
Pizzeteria Brunetti in Westhampton, The Surf Lodge, 1770 House Restaurant and Inn, Nick & Toni’s, and Dave’s Grill, to name a few.
What would be your ideal summer dinner party?
My friends and family have these great clambakes right on the beach. What would make it the ultimate party would be if Jimmy Buffett showed up!
Where would you get your ingredients?
And to drink?
Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel rosé on ice.
Do you like the restaurant world or TV world better?
Restaurant world. Equal amount of drama but only one costume, and I love to wear it.
If you weren’t a chef…
I’d be a race car driver.
Who would you love to cook for?
The Pope. Or Maleficent.
Spaghetti with Clams SERVES 4
1 lb. dried spaghetti
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
5 to 7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ½ lbs. Manila clams, scrubbed clean
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested, for garnish
In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta; stir constantly in the beginning to prevent noodles from sticking together. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. When almost smoking, add shallots and garlic, and sauté until soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the clams and wine. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until most clams have opened. Add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Whisk in butter to thicken sauce slightly. Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse pasta with water—this will remove the pasta’s natural starches. Place pasta in the clam sauté pan and mix thoroughly. Check seasoning. Pour pasta into large serving bowl. Zest lemon over the dish, being careful not to zest the white part of the lemon, which is bitter. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve immediately.