Alex Guarnaschelli Shares Her Ideal Summer Comfort Food Menu

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli shared some of her favorite summer comfort foods with E!, with dishes from her newly released (and first) cookbook Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook. The dishes — Baked Clams with Bacon, Shrimp and Cucumber Salad, and Quickie Strawberry Tartlets — are light, made with in-season ingredients, and quick to prepare.

"I like food that's seasonal and respects the seasons, but I think it has to be light," she told E! of summer comfort food.

Guarnaschelli, a Food Network Iron Chef whose career has brought her to the kitchens of elite restaurants like Daniel and Guy Savoy, grew up in a food-loving family (as you may know, her mother, Maria Guarnaschelli, was a cookbook editor), and in her new cookbook, she returns to simple ingredients and techniques.  

"All Americans love comfort food," she told E!. "But then there's all the nuanced dishes that, because of your culture or whoever was cooking when you were brought up, are your own."

That, she says, it what she likes best about comfort food, and has instilled that feeling in her cookbook by including familiar recipes — like the Baked Clams with Bacon that she told E! her mother used to make. "On the one hand, it's a universal sentiment," she said of comfort. "But the other hand, it becomes very specialized and personal."