Is it the worry that keeps Giada De Laurentiis so slim? The pressure of having a famous name? The hard work put into her new restaurant, which opened Tuesday in Las Vegas?
Maybe. But it’s also a philosophy.
Her response — “I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything” — is inscribed on the modern, circular light fixtures suspended from the ceiling.
With its comfy earth tones, the dining room is meant to welcome guests from the moment they step off the escalators on the second floor of the new hotel.
“I wanted to build a place that was similar to my home, as if they [customers] were coming over for dinner,” she said. “Not many people get to come over to my house for dinner, but I wanted for my fans to come and touch a piece of me.… I felt that this was a really good way to get there.”
They’ll also be able to discover her culinary roots in the menu. De Laurentiis, the host of Food Network’s “Everyday Italian,” spent the first seven years of her life in Italy and emphasizes her Neapolitan background.
“My grandfather’s parents owned a pasta factory in Naples before World War II,” she said. “My grandfather [Hollywood producer Dino De Laurentiis] and his siblings — he was one of 10 children — would go door to door as children selling their mother and dad’s pastas and sauces.
“This is where my true passion for food came from. That’s why it was so ingrained and why the recipes have to remain a certain way.”
De Laurentiis proudly put her signature dish, lemon spaghetti ($28), on the menu at her namesake eatery.
“It’s so simple you’re going to laugh: lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, a little bit of garlic and olive oil,” she said. “You cook the spaghetti, you toss it with a little pasta water and torn basil. And we serve it with huge grilled jumbo shrimp.
“Some of the best food in the world is the simplest. Really, food should be simple. It should not be overcomplicated.”
Giada is open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Reservations: (855) 442-3271.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times