Giada De Laurentiis: I've created recipes and simplified them with ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. It's fine to use marinara sauce from a jar — if that's the only way I can get you into the kitchen. TV Guide: Italian cooking isn't exactly low-cal, but you look amazing. What's your secret?
De Laurentiis: Portion control. I eat everything, but I eat small amounts of everything. And I do outdoor activities like hiking and biking. TV Guide: With the current Atkins, no-carb craze, do you find yourself having to defend Italian food?
De Laurentiis: Yeah. People don't realize that pasta isn't the only thing Italians eat. We eat a lot of vegetables, chicken, meat and fish. Everyone looks at me and asks how I stay so thin when I eat all that pasta. But I don't always eat pasta. TV Guide: What is your first memory of food?
De Laurentiis: It would probably be in the kitchen with my mother. She used to make us these Parmesan crisps, and I'd help her put little mounds of them on a cookie sheet. My mom would give each of us a task. TV Guide: Does your husband, clothing designer Todd Thompson, help in the kitchen?
De Laurentiis: He doesn't cook. He's from the Midwest and he grew up on Chef Boyardee ravioli. He loves his fast food, but he does appreciate my cooking. TV Guide: What's his favorite dish of yours?
De Laurentiis: The penne alla vodka. And the chicken saltimbocca that has prosciutto and spinach in it. TV Guide: What is your ultimate guilty-pleasure food?
De Laurentiis: Chocolate cookies and brownies. I make cookies and I freeze them. Peppermint Patties, I adore. And plain old Hershey's chocolate chips — I eat a handful.
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