Cooking with Valerie Bertinelli

Where are my foodies? Who else loves to browse the cookbook aisles? There’s not much I love more than a new cookbook. Flipping the pages and checking out all the yummy recipes and making a list of all the new ones I want to try.

So when some folks reached out to me about Valerie Bertinelli’s (yes that Valerie! Most recently known from the Food Network but I can’t not mention “One Day at A Time” loved that show)  Valerie’s Home Cooking: More than 100 Recipes to Share with Friends and Family cookbook I was thrilled. Not only do I watch her on the Food Network but she’s an Italian girl. Like me! Ok maybe I’m not Italian but my hubby is so that counts, right? And I learned everything I know about Italian cooking from my mother in law and Valerie’s book is inspired by her family’s recipes so I knew this was gonna be a match made in Italian foodie heaven.

I chose 2 dishes I was going to make and review. The Spicy Arrabiata Penne and the Chicken with Lemon Wine Sauce.

The first one I tested out was the Spicy Arrabiata Penne. You can’t go wrong with a dish like this. It’s super easy to make and super flavorful. Both my hubby and I loved it. He agreed we need to def make it again. I feel like it came out looking just like the picture (minus the fact that I didn’t use shaved parm we ended up just using regular grated parm cheese but the shaved gives it that extra touch and makes it extra fancy.) My only suggestion would be for this dish is to adjust the red pepper flakes if you don’t love spice. It’s definitely got a kick so if you have kids I would maybe omit it in theirs. Also, I would not have reserved any of the pasta water. I typically don’t occasionally I will if I’m making a ton of gravy/sauce but not always. I felt that adding the 1 cup of pasta water really watered it down so I would just not add that and your sauce will be nice and thick and chunkier.

Photographer Leslie Grow, Food Styling Cat Steele, Prop Styling Lindsey Lower,
Spicy Arrabiate Penne

Wanna try this recipe yourself? If you try it let me know what you think.

“One of my all-time favorite meals centers around tomatoes. I have several photos on my phone illustrating this point. One shows a fresh harvest of tomatoes from our garden; they’re literally spilling out of bowls onto the kitchen counter. I think this was a message from our wonderful gardener, Carlos. The first year I planted tomato plants, the majority of them died. I went to Carlos, asking for help. I think he felt bad for me, and not only did he bring those plants back to life, he added more and somehow has them producing fruit well into the winter. Another photo shows my arrabiata sauce simmering on the stove, tomatoes quartered and afloat on a sea of luscious sauce full of spices. I swear I can smell the red pepper and garlic through my phone. Fresh tomatoes are a bonus, but obviously canned tomatoes provide the same classic taste. This is an easy dinner when I’m in a hurry, and with a green salad and a creamy dressing to balance the spice, along with fresh bread, you can rely on this as a Monday through Friday staple, as I do, or serve it for a casual Saturday night with friends.” – taken from Valerie’s cookbook.

Serves 6

Spicy Arrabiata Penne

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 (1-pound) package uncooked penne rigate
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (26.46-ounce) package chopped tomatoes (such as Pomì)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • Shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish


  1. 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the 1/4 cup chopped basil.
  3. 3. Stir the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water into the tomato mixture. Garnish with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and additional basil, if desired, and serve warm.
  4. Cooking Tip
  5. It’s important to generously salt your water. It adds flavor to your pasta. Don’t rinse your pasta after cooking, and don’t drain all the water; save some to flavor your sauce.

Up next I wanted to try the Chicken with Lemon Wine Sauce. We always love a piccata so I figured we would love this. I make chicken cutlets often and usually just cook them the whole time in oil on the stove so I liked the idea of just browning them first then popping them in the oven while the sauce is being made. Plus a lot of times I find when making recipes your meal is getting cold while the sauce is being made and we hate that. So this kept everything nice and hot.

Here’s my pic and here’s my pic with the book image. Clearly, they aren’t close. In the cookbook pic the sauce has a more yellow tinge to it and looks thicker. Mine came out clearer and more watery. The flavor was definitely good and I probably should have made some sort of side to go along with it as my plate looks pretty boring lol. We both agreed we liked this dish as well but next time I think I may add a touch of flour into the sauce to thicken it up just a smidge.

All in all we really liked both recipes and are looking forward to trying out more of them “One Day at A Time” (had to).

Did you try any of the recipes from this book? If so, share your faves with me. I wanna know what you think.

Credit: Excerpted from Valerie’s Home Cooking by Valerie Bertinelli. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

*The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. I was provided this book for review.
**Recipe provided to me to use in post.



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