Rumor has it that in Rome, ladies of the night who were voraciously hungry after a long night on the job, would come home and prepare pasta using staples always on hand in the pantry. This pasta dish, which is lusty and full of bold flavors, was named for the ladies. It is one of my favorites.
- 1 pound imported dried Penne
- Extra virgin olive oil to coat bottom of pan
- 1 can whole tomatoes, San Marzano if available
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- Dried crushed red peppers to taste
- 1 oil packed anchovy (optional but authentic and delicious)
- 2 tablespoons small whole capers in brine (drained) or chopped large capers
- ¼ cup good quality black olives, pitted & chopped
- 3 tablespoons salt plus additional for seasoning
- Liberal amounts of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped italian parsley, plus additional for garnish
- ¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- Boil a large stockpot full of water for pasta, while preparing sauce.
- Heat olive oil in another large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and saute for one minute, stirring. Add garlic, red pepper (if using) and anchovy and continue to saute for several minutes until anchovy starts to dissolve. (do not allow vegetables to brown, but to look translucent).
- Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as they are added to the pot. Add capers, olives and black pepper. Increase heat to medium high heat and boil sauce for eight to ten minutes to reduce and thicken.
- Add 3 tablespoons of salt to pasta water. Prepare pasta according to directions minus 2 – 3 minutes, until slightly underdone. Drain pasta very well, reserving ¾ cup of pasta cooking water.
- Add drained pasta to pot of sauce gradually, mixing and adding reserved water as needed, to help moisten and bind the sauce together with the pasta, tossing as you add more pasta and water, until all of pasta has been added to sauce.
- Garnish with cheese and chopped parsley, serving immediately.
Serves 2-3 as entree, 4 as first course
photo by Kristi Senat
Traditionally Sicilian, this dish is earthy with greens and a perfect balance of sweet and savory, I love it warm or at room temperature as part of an Italian style buffet
- 2- 10 oz packages fresh spinach or 4 bunches fresh leaf spinach
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup raisins, plumped in hot water for 10 minutes
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- Salt & fresh pepper to taste
- Wash spinach thoroughly in several changes of water, drain well
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add garlic and saute for several minutes, until slightly golden. Do not brown garlic as it will be bitter!
- Add spinach, raisins, salt & pepper and saute until spinach is wilted. Add pine nuts, toss and taste for seasoning adding additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve immediately or may be served at room temperature.
This is a classic, simple dessert that fills the house with the aromatic and fruity scent of apples, cinnamon & butter. I like to serve the crisp warm with a large dollop of crème fraiche.
- 6 – 8 baking apples peeled, cored and sliced (I use Granny Smith or Golden Delicious)
- 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish or pan.
- Combine apples, cinnamon, white sugar, ½ cup of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons flour. Toss well and pour mixture into baking dish.
- Combine remaining flour, remaining brown sugar, oats, salt and ¾ of butter in a medium sized bowl. Using 2 knives, a pastry blender or your fingers, blend ingredients until they look like coarse crumbs, working quickly to keep butter cold. Pour mixture over apples. Dot remaining butter on top of crisp.
- Bake crisp for approximately 50 minutes, or until bubbly and brown and apples are tender inside when pierced by a knife. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes before serving. May be served warm or at room temperature.
Black beans make a dramatic, dark colored dip that pops with flavor from lime, jalapeno and cilantro. Make this a day or two ahead of your party and bring to room temperature prior to serving
- 2-15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
- 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled & chopped
- 1 small red onion, peeled and diced finely
- 1 small red pepper, seeded and diced finely
- Minced, seeded Jalapeno pepper, to taste (optional)
- 1 tsp cumin
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 TBS sherry vinegar
- 2 tsp Kosher salt to taste
- 2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 2-3 TBS cold water
- Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium high heat. Sauté garlic, onion and pepper(s) with cumin, until translucent.
- Transfer sautéed vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade along with black beans, lime juice, sherry vinegar and salt. Process until smooth, tasting for seasoning.
- For a Summer, no cook version, add vegetables raw to beans before processing.
- Add water to thin and additional salt, if necessary.
- Transfer to a bowl, drizzle w/ oil and garnish with cilantro.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, with tortilla chips and/or crudités as a dip.
Red Snapper is a delicious, mild, sweet and moist fish – perfect for grilling and topping with the fresh and spicy mango salsa
- 2 cups peeled, diced, ripe mango
- 3 plum tomatoes, cored and diced
- 1 yellow or orange pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion (rinsed in a strainer in cold water 2x and drained)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- Minced jalapeno or serrano pepper to taste
- 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Taste for seasoning.
Can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated, bring to room temperature before serving
For the snapper
- 4 – 6 oz red snpper filets
- Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- Preheat a gas grill to medium high. Oil the racks very well.
- Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper, liberally.
- Grill the fish without turning for approximately 5-6 minutes until fish is just opaque in the center.
- Remove fish carefully from grill and place on a serving platter.
- Top fish with salsa and serve immediately.