Calabrian Shrimp And Orzo

Photo by Flo P on Unsplash


  • 10 oz peeled shrimp
  • 4 oz orzo pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 1 1/2 tsps chili paste (Calabrian if you have it)
  • 2 Tbsps creme fraiche
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Fill medium pot w/ salted water and bring to a boil.
  2. Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel, place in bowl with chopped garlic, capers, and chili paste, stir and let marinate.
  3. Add orzo to pot of boiling water, and cook, uncovered, for 7-9 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.
  4. In a large pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over med-hi heat until hot. Add the sliced zucchini in an even later. Cook, without stirring for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Move zucchini to one side of pan, and add shrimp to other side in an even layer. Again, cook without stirring for 2-3 minutes or until slightly opaque. Stir it all up,  while continuing to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add shrimp and zucchini to the pot of cooked orzo, along with the creme fraiche and the juice of half a lemon. Stir to combine and season w/ salt/pepper to taste.
  6. Serve w/ parmesan and lemon wedges.

Pasta, Peppers and Sausage


  • 1 package fettuccine
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, sliced into 4 pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups (14 1/2 oz can) diced tomatoes in juice
  • grated parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 450˚. In 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish, toss peppers, onion and basil in olive oil and spread in even layer. Add sausage pieces.
  2. Bake 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring once or twice.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and juice and bake 10 more minutes.
  4. Cook pasta. Drain.
  5. Remove sausage, cut into thin slices, and return to pepper mixture.
  6. Combine pasta and pepper mixture, toss, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Summer Risotto


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lb. arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 cups non-fat chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsps. light butter
  • 6 Tbsps. grated Parmesan cheese
  •  18 sea scallops
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped


  1. Heat oven to 250˚. Gently toss tomatoes in 2 tsp oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake on a non-stick baking sheet 1 hour.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil on medium heat in a medium pan. Cook garlic and half the onion until translucent; add zucchini and cook 5 minutes. Pureé zucchini mixture in a blender with lemon juice and 1 Tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium pot on medium heat and sauté remaining onion until translucent. Add rice and cook 2 minutes. Gradually pour in wine, stirring until rice absorbs wine. Add broth 1 cup at a time until absorbed, stirring continually for 20 minutes or until rice is tender (add more broth in necessary). Once rice is cooked, stir in zucchini pureé, butter and cheese. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a small pan. Salt and pepper scallops and cook both sides until lightly browned. Add tomatoes and sauté 5 minutes. Spoon risotto on plate and top with scallops, tomatoes and parsley.


Tomato Sauce #1

This quick and easy tomato sauce is the base for two meals: spaghetti marinara and steamed mussels with tomato broth. We call for canned tomatoes because most of the fresh ones available in the wintertime have a bland flavor and mealy texture. Sugar will help round out the flavor if your tomatoes are too acidic. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like your sauce to have a bit of heat. The leftover sauce also freezes well for future meals.


  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (28- to 32-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional), or to taste


  1. Cook onions and garlic in oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, including juice, and salt, then simmer gently, uncovered, stirring and mashing tomatoes with a fork occasionally, until sauce is thickened and reduced to about 5 cups, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  3. If sauce tastes too acidic, add sugar and cook 5 minutes more.

Makes about 5 cups

Sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead, and can be frozen in an airtight container 3 months.

Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Sauce

If you are tight on time, you can substitute 2 cups of your favorite plain tomato sauce for the Simple Tomato Sauce. Two cups of fresh bread crumbs can be substituted for the panko (they will shrink as they toast). Because these cutlets are breaded, we found that one cutlet per person was plenty—but try to buy the largest chicken breasts you can to ensure good-sized portions.


  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets
  • 2 cups tomato sauce , warmed (see below)
  • 3 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Simple Tomato Sauce

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a
shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

2. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the
excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

4. Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted,
about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.

Simple Tomato Sauce Preparation

Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

Chicken Cutlet Preparation

  1. Tenderloins tend to fall off or disintegrate during pounding, so they are best removed and reserved for another use.
  2. Halve breasts horizontally to form two cutlets. Cut this way, they need little or no pounding. If pounding, follow steps for small breasts.
    For Small Breasts
    Pour 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in the center of a sheet of plastic wrap. Turn one cutlet in the oil to
    coat. Top with a second sheet of plastic wrap and pound gently to an even 1/4 inch thickness. Repeat with remaining cutlets, adding additional oil as needed.
  3. Coat the dry chicken breast – liberally and evenly with flour before spanking the excess off, leaving only the barest film.
  4. Using tongs, dip the floured breast in the egg wash, taking care to coat the entire surface before letting the excess drip back into the pan.
  5. Good crumb depth is essential for an even, dry coating. Toss the chicken in the crumbs to coat and then press with fingers for even distribution.

Serves 6

Pesto Spread

Great on pasta and sandwiches, recipe courtesy of Annelis and Matt (134 Noble Neighbors)


  • 2 cups pine nuts (almonds or sunflowers also good)
  • butter
  • 2-3 cups fresh basil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Toast nuts with butter in skillet until aromatic and slightly browned. Let cool.
  2. Add to food processor along with all other ingredients except oil, and pulse until pasty and thick, slowly adding the olive oil until desired consistency is achieved. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spaghetti and Meat Balls



  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped and sauteed
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup pure olive oil

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juice, pureed in a blender
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 basil leaves, chiffonade


  • 12 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 pound #8 or #9 spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Garlic Bread:

  • 1 stick soften butter
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 country loaf, cut into 3/4-inch slices

Meat Ball Preparation

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, except olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat the oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and fry until golden brown, but not cooked through completely. (remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.)

Tomato Sauce Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft.
  2. Add pureed tomatoes and juice, bay leaf and parsley, pepper flakes and salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, add meatballs and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and parsley, add the basil and serve.

Spaghetti Preparation

  1. Bring salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente.
  2. Drain well in a colander, toss in sauce, serve with meatballs and Parmesan cheese.

Garlic Bread Preparation

  1. Combine butter and garlic. Spread evenly on bread and broil until browned.

Yields 4 servings.