Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Penne with Shrimp

For those Lenten meals, or simply something different, try this Penne with shrimp.


3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup quality, extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, 1/4 inch diced
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
1-2 TBS dried oregano
1/4 cup red wine
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tin whole flat anchovies drained and chopped
1 lb. med or large shrimp
1 lb pasta shapes, such as penne, rigatoni or med. shells, cooked al dente
2 TBS quality, aged balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 TBS red wine vinegar
10-15 fresh basil leaves, minced
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles striped from stem
Freshly ground pepper


Cut broccoli into florets and blanch in boiling water for 4 or 5 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Transfer to large bowl, combining with pasta. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they release their juices, 5-6 minutes.

Add garlic, tomatoes, diced pepper, anchovies and balsamic vinegar and stir for 3 or 4 minutes. Add shrimp, and cook until pink. Transfer to bowl and combine with broccoli and pasta.

Combine remaining oil, red wine vinegar, rosemary, basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl
Combine with pasta. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Oil and vinegar amounts can be adjusted to taste. Salt and pepper to taste. (Should be fairly salty already from anchovies).

Penne with shrimp just might be one of the best, and one of the simplest pastas you've ever tasted.

I would try a Sangiovese or Borolo wine with this one.

Scallops with Linguini and Orange Sauce

For a uniquely tasting pasta dish, a refreshingly different light taste, try this

Scallop Preparation:

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 TBS butter
25-30 Bay Scallops or about 8 large sea scallops, quartered

Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 Cup finely minced onions or shallots
2 TBS red jalapeno peppers, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup fresh Orange Juice or 3 TBS frozen concentrate
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup red or green bell pepper, minced
3 cloves finely sliced garlic
16 ounces cooked and drained linguine or angel hair pasta
Minced fresh Italian Parsley for final garnish


Heat 2 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Just before adding scallops, add the Butter. Remove from heat after scallops become pale but not cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.


Heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos. Sauté for about 6 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the orange juice and let simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cream and scallops with all of their remaining juices, and let the sauce reduce for about 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and combine with the sauce. Remove from heat. Garnish with minced fresh Italian parsley. Serve with REAL garlic bread, and a slightly chilled dry Chardonnay wine

Monday, February 21, 2005

Eggs Benedict with Crab on Toast

This is wonderful for a late brunch.

2 Ciabatta bread loaves or English Muffins, cut in half lengthwise toasted and buttered
12 ounces of fresh crab meat
8 poached eggs
1/2 cup of quick Hollandaise Sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
4 wedges of lemon

Butter the toasted ciabatta to taste. Spread 1/4 of the crabmeat over each half of the ciabatta loaf. Gently place two poached eggs on top of the crabmeat. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of hollandaise sauce over each egg. Sprinkle a teaspoon of chopped chives over the sauce and serve immediately.

A bowl of the remaining hollandaise sauce and fresh lemon wedges can accompany the meal.

Quick Hollandaise Sauce

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup butter (2 sticks) melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced herbs - parsley, thyme or tarragon (optional)

Place egg yolks in the blender. Blend at low speed until thoroughly mixed. While the motor is running, slowly add the boiling water, followed by the hot butter. The butter should be added very slowly in the thinest stream possible. When the butter is completely incorporated, add the lemon juice, salt and herbs if you're using them. If the sauce is too thick, add a few drop of boiling water. The sauce will hold as you poach the eggs and prepare the other ingredients.

Serves 4

Sunday, February 20, 2005


This is a tasty veal stew that would be a perfect cold weather meal. Serve it with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Polenta, or rice.

2 1/2 Pounds of Veal, Cut Into 1 Inch Cubes
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Carrots, Chopped
1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
1/2 Cup Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup Beef Or Veal Stock
1/2 Cup Good Brandy
Salt & Pepper

Sprinkle the veal cubes with flour. Melt the butter with the oil, in a large casserole. Add the veal cubes, and sauté until lightly browned. Add in the vegetables, and continue cooking until they are lightly browned as well. Stir in the brandy, and cook until it has almost completely evaporated. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley and broth, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover casserole dish, and simmer over low heat for 45 minute to an hour. Add additional liquid during the cooking period if it seems to be drying out. Serve hot, over rice, polenta, or with garlic mashed potatoes on the side. A must is REAL garlic bread.

Penne With Artichokes And Shrimp

This should tickle your fancy - especially if you like shrimp.

This easy pasta dish combines two of my favorite ingredients, artichokes and shrimp. I added some ripe cherry tomatoes, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and some chopped fresh parsley and mint. The only trick to making this dish sensational, is to be careful not to overcook the shrimp. If you were in a rush, you could use canned or frozen artichokes, although you would lose something in the flavor. You could also add other vegetables in as well if you chose to.

1 Pound Penne Pasta
4 Medium Artichokes, Cleaned, Choke Removed, Cut Into Quarters and Dropped In A Lemon Water Bath
1 Lemon
2 Large Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 Cup Good Quality Olive Oil
16 (or more) Large Shrimp, Peeled, Deveined and Cut Into 2 Or 3 Pieces
16 to 20 Ripe Cherry Tomatoes, Washed and Cut In Half
2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Mint
2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Parsley
Salt & Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes As Desired

Place the artichokes in a pot, and cover with enough of the lemon water to just cover them. Bring this to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook just until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Heat half the oil in a saucepan, and add the garlic. Heat for a minute or two until sizzling, but do not burn.

Add the artichokes with half of the fresh, chopped herbs, and saute 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, shrimp, salt and pepper to season. Add a small amount of red pepper flakes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until the tomatos begin to soften, and the shrimp turn pink. Taste and add additional pepper flakes if you would like more heat.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, and return to the pot, keeping a small cup of the pasta water aside. Add the sauce ingredients, the olive oil, and a few teaspoons of pasta water if needed to moisten to the pot and cook a minute or two until combined. Add the rest of the fresh herbs, and serve, topping each serving with some of the remaining sauce.

A delicious meal.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Beef Carpaccio

Carpaccio of beef was created in Venice, and has become famous throughout the world as being typical of modern Italian cuisine.

There are many variations of sauce used to drizzle over the paper thin slices of raw beef, but a simpler presentation would be to use peppery arugula, shaved parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. There are oher variations which use sauces of a similar nature to what they still serve in the place of origin. If possible, to make things easier, ask your butcher to slice the beef for you in paper thin slices. Or, Partially freeze the beef, and slice it by hand yourself with a razor sharp knife.

This meal serves wonderfully as a light lunch or as an appetizer for dinner.

1 Pound Beef tenderloin, bright red
2 Cups Fresh, washed and Dried Arugula Leaves
A Wedge Of Parmesan Cheese
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
Lemon Wedges

Arrange the arugula leaves on individual plates, and lay the beef on top. Drizzle with the olive oil, and season with the salt and pepper. Shave some of the parmesan cheese over the dish, and serve with a lemon wedge.

Sauce Variation:

If desired, simply arrange the carpaccio slices without the above ingredients, and drizzle with the following sauce.

1 Egg Yolk
1 Cup Of Olive Oil
Juice Of 1 Lemon
Salt & Pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard dissolved in 1 Teaspoon Warm Water
Dash Of Hot Pepper Sauce

Place the egg yolk in a blender with half the olive oil. Pulse to mix. Turn the blender on, and add the oil in a very slow stream. Add the lemon, mustard and seasonings. Pulse. Drizzle the sauce over the carpaccio slices and serve.

If you simply cannot stand the thought of raw beef, stir fry the slices in olive oil for no more than 10 seconds on high heat, but you'll be missing a real flavor treat.

Serve with slices of REAL garlic bread found on this BLOG, and a glass of slightly chilled Chianti wine.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Lemon-Chicken Marsala

To complete this meal, serve over a bed of linguini pasta or penne along with a fresh green salad or antipasto.

1 oz. Dried Porcini Mushrooms
8 oz. Fresh White Mushrooms
4 Chicken Breast Halves, Skinned
Flour For Dredging
Salt & Pepper
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 TBS butter
2/3 Cup Sweet Marsala Wine
Juice from one lemon
1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
Heavy Cream (Optional)

Re hydrate the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup warm water for about 30 minutes. Remove from the water, pat dry with paper towels, and chop coarsely. Strain the porcini water, and set aside to use later. Slice the fresh mushrooms thinly.

Dredge the chicken breasts in flour seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, and then brown in a skillet with the oil over medium heat. Once well browned, remove the chicken and set aside.Cook the sliced mushrooms in the same pan until tender and golden brown. If the pan becomes too dry, use a little of the porcini liquid to moisten it.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan with the mushrooms, and add the porcini, the Marsala wine, 1/4 cup of the porcini liquid, and the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Turn down to medium low heat, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes. If the juices begin to evaporate too much while cooking, add a few tablespoons of the porcini water and/or 1/4 cup heavy cream for a lighter sauce.

When completed, the sauce should be thick and creamy. To serve, place chicken pieces on a platter, spoon over the juices, and sprinkle with the fresh parsley. A very sparse sprinkling of fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese is also a nice addition and adds the final touch for a delicious, quick meal. A glass (or 2) of Chianti wine is a must.