Thursday, December 30, 2010

Linguine with Shrimp and Pesto

This recipe is from the back of a bag of frozen shrimp. Sometimes I use walnuts, sometimes pine nuts, at times a combination of Italian parsley and basil. But today I made this quick and easy Pesto with walnuts and basil.

Pesto Ingredients

2 cups firmly packed basil leaves
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, toasted
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
pinch of kosher salt
6 T olive oil

Makes approximately 1 cup.


Put basil leaves, walnuts, garlic, parmesan and salt in a food processor and process until a paste is formed. With processor running, slowly add the olive oil.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add about 12 oz. (3/4 box) linguine and cook until al dente. Drain pasta.

In a small saucepan add 1/2 cup half and half and bring to a steady simmer, careful not to burn.

For the shrimp:

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 T olive oil

Heat the olive oil in saute pan, add shrimp and saute about five minutes, until opaque.

Add the drained pasta to the sauteed shrimp, add the half and half and 1/2 cup of pesto and mix well. Serve with grated parmesan and chopped walnuts.

Serves 4.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chicken with Pine Nuts and Olives

We recently had our first winter storm. So great for our first significant snow to fall on a quiet Sunday. The nest was full, fireplace blazing and it was a perfect evening to have some comfort food.

This recipe is from Lidia Bastianich's cookbook, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy. I halved the amount of butter and olive oil and also used some black olives in addition to green. The chicken cooks slowly and when served is carmalized and tender.


4 pounds assorted chicken pieces, cut-up
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 cup brine-cured green Italian olives
½ cup white wine
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted


Rinse the chicken pieces, and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off excess skin and all visible fat. Cut drumsticks off the thighs; cut breast halves into two pieces each. Season the chicken all over with the salt.

Put the olive oil and butter in the pan, and set over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted and hot, lay in the chicken pieces, skin side down, in a single layer; drop the garlic cloves and bay leaves in the spaces between them.

Cover the pan, and let the chicken cook over gentle heat, browning slowly and releasing its fat and juices. After about 10 minutes, uncover the pan, turn the pieces, and move them around the pan to cook evenly, then replace the cover. Turn again in 10 minutes or so, and continue cooking covered.

While the chicken is browning, pit the olives (if they still have pits in them). If you're using small olives like Castelvetrano, use a pitter and keep them whole. If you have larger olives (such as Ascolane or Cerignola), smash them with the blade of a chef's knife to remove the pits, and break them into coarse chunks.

After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes, scatter the olives onto the pan bottom, around the chicken, and pour in the wine. Raise the heat so the liquid is bubbling, cover, and cook, gradually concentrating the juices, for about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid, and cook uncovered, evaporating the pan juices, occasionally turning the chicken pieces and olives. If there is a lot of fat in the bottom of the pan, tilt the skillet and spoon off the fat from one side.

Scatter the pine nuts around the chicken, and continue cooking uncovered, turning the chicken over gently until the pan juices thicken and coat the meat like a glaze.

Turn off the heat, and serve the chicken right from the skillet, or heap the pieces on a platter or in a shallow serving bowl. Spoon out any sauce and pine nuts left in the pan, and drizzle over the chicken.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Chocolate Silk Pie with Berries

A foodie friend of mine, Liz, blogged about this recipe which she had gotten from her friend. You can check out her yummy blog That Skinny Chick Can Bake at Thank you so much Liz........this is a WOW dessert!

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons melted butter

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup half and half
1/3 cup Kahlua
2 sticks of butter (1 cup), at room temperature
5 egg yolks
3 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 or 3 1/2-pint containers of raspberries
Seedless raspberry jam
Freshly whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter till combined. Press mixture into bottom and halfway up sides of 9 inch springform pan. Freeze 15 minutes.

Prepare filling by combining chocolate, milk, half and half, and liqueur in saucepan. Stir over medium heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Gradually add butter, stirring till melted.

Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in warm chocolate mixture and corn syrup...adding too quickly will scramble the eggs. Pour filling into crust and bake till filling starts to bubble, about 15 minutes. Cool on rack, then refrigerate overnight.

Carefully remove sides of springform pan. Arrange berries on top. Melt jam over medium heat, stirring frequently. Brush melted jam over top of berries. Serve with whipped cream.

Chocolate melting:

Blending with eggs:

Ready to bake:

After chilling overnight with sides removed:

Topped with raspberries and brushed with melted jam: