Tag Archives: Sauce

(Extra)ordinary – Chicken Livers

Transform ordinary chicken livers into an extraordinary sauce with this recipe from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, authors of The Silver Palate Cookbook – two of my favorite cookbooks!

“Pitti Palace Pasta”


1 pound chicken livers, trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

4 fresh ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

8 ounces wide noodle pasta (such as tagliatelle)

If the chicken livers are large, cut them in half.  Combine the flour, paprika, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper in a mixing bowl.  Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Dredge the livers in the flour mixture, and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes.  Raise the heat slightly, and add the tomatoes, vinegar, chicken stock, wine, and rosemary.  Simmer until slightly thick, 5 minutes.

Chicken liver sauce

While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta, and cook at a rolling boil just until tender.  Drain, and toss with the sauce.  Add the remaining 1 teaspoon pepper, and serve immediately.

In response to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra)ordinary

Jersey Tomato Sauce with Shrimp and Fettuccine

Now is the time to savor Jersey tomatoes, from a tomato salad to a marinara sauce.  Last night I prepared fettuccine tossed with shrimp in a Jersey tomato sauce.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, sliced

3 medium tomatoes (I used 2 red and 1 yellow), cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Chiffonade of fresh basil and parsley

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

6 to 8 ounces fettuccine

12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a pan over medium heat until the garlic is pale gold.  Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the basil and parsley and stir with a wooden spoon.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn down the heat to simmer.

Allow the sauce to simmer while bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  When the water comes to a boil, add a pinch of salt and 6 to 8 ounces of pasta.  I used a combination of Antica Pasta’s peperoncino fettuccine and spinach fettuccine – one of my favorite new finds (flavored pasta that actually has a flavor!)  Add the shrimp to the sauce, cooking about two minutes per side or until they become opaque.  Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve.

Shrimp in Sauce

I was so eager to take the first bite, that I neglected to photograph a freshly plated dish!

Shrimp in Pasta

Make the Most of Your Favorite Summer Herb with a Basil Pesto

During my Italian Lunch cooking class today, we made ricotta gnocchi with three sauces – marinara, pesto and butter sage.  While the marinara and butter sage sauces were quite delicious, the pesto made me appreciate the abundance of basil this time of year.  So, I share my recipe for basil pesto.



½ cup pignoli (pine nuts)

10 stalks of fresh basil

3 cloves of garlic

½ cup parmesan cheese

6 tablespoons of softened butter (yes, this recipe is a rich one!)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

Remove the basil leaves from the stalks and place them in a food processor.  Add the pine nuts, garlic, cheese and butter and blend until it forms a paste.  Add the olive oil little by little as well as the salt and pepper to taste while blending the other ingredients.  Be sure to use a spatula to push down any ingredients stuck to the sides of the food processor in between your processing.  Toss the pesto with gnocchi or your favorite pasta – a little goes a long way!


Heat Up the Kitchen with a Shrimp Fra Diavolo

If you’re in the mood for a seafood dish with a kick, I recommend a Shrimp Fra Diavolo.  It is a simple preparation yet an interesting alternative to a regular marinara sauce.

Begin by heading to your local seafood market for jumbo shrimp (I suggest four per person).  Then select your pasta.  This weekend I found an excellent egg pasta made in Italy by Bartolini called “Cirioline All’Uovo”.  The package contains eight nests of long squared pasta, adding more surface area for the sauce to adhere, and two nests per person seems to be the perfect amount to allow for seconds.

After you clean the shrimp, prepare what I refer to as a “fast sauce”.  This involves slicing three cloves of garlic and sautéing the garlic in olive oil.  Do this in a sauté pan that has a lid, and then add a box of Pomi chopped tomatoes.  Add salt to taste and stir.

The “Fra Diavolo” begins by adding several dashes of red paper flakes as well as a dried chili pepper.  Also include fresh herbs, such as basil and/or oregano.  (I am growing a hot and spicy oregano plant, which was an ideal pairing!)  When the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover.


While preparing the sauce, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  As the water comes to a boil, add a pinch of salt and then the pasta.  Stir the pasta periodically.  When about six minutes remain to cook the pasta, add the cleaned shrimp to the sauce.  Adjust the heat to medium and cover.  Turn the shrimp once while cooking so that each side becomes opaque.  This will take about three minutes per side.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauté pan, tossing it with the shrimp and sauce.  Serve the Shrimp Fra Diavolo in pasta bowls…with extra red pepper on the side.

Final Sauce


Dough Ball Pizza

1 Dough Ball = 2 Thin Crust Pizzas or 3 Thinner Crust Pizzas

My friend Vino makes the best thin crust pizza – it’s crispy, bubbly and cheesy.  This summer I practiced Vino’s process of dividing a dough ball into smaller dough balls to create the desired “thinness”.  This recipe will make two or three pizzas, depending on your definition of thin.


1 ball of pizza dough

1 box of Pomi strained tomatoes (or tomato puree if Pomi is not available)

Several colorful heirloom tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 package of mozzarella, grated

1 wedge of Gruyère cheese, grated

1 bunch of scallions, chopped

Fresh basil

Extra virgin olive oil

Fresh ground black pepper

Sea salt

Like Vino, I buy dough balls at Serpes Bakery in Elsmere, Delaware.  If Serpes is not in your neighborhood, you should be able to find similar dough balls at your local Italian bakery.

Divide the dough ball into two or three pieces, and form the pieces into smaller balls.  Let these rise under a kitchen towel to three times their original size.  At this point, “punch” down the balls and use a floured rolling pin to roll out each ball into a round crust about 12 inches in diameter, incorporating flour and stretching the dough as you roll.  You can store these pizza crusts in the freezer for later use.  In fact, the crusts slide off the pizza peel more easily if they are frozen.

To make the marinara sauce for the pizza, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and three cloves of garlic in a pan over medium heat until the garlic is pale gold.  Add the strained tomatoes, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Add some freshly chopped basil and stir with a wooden spoon.  Bring the sauce to a bubble and then turn down the heat to simmer.

Place a pizza stone on the grill or in the oven and preheat to about 550 to 600 degrees.  When the stone has reached the desired temperature, remove the crust from the freezer.  Place the crust on a pizza peel that has been dusted with flour to ensure that the pizza slides onto the stone.  Ladle sauce over the crust, then top with the mozzarella and chopped scallions.

Slide the pizza onto the stone and cook the thinner crust for about 5 minutes and the thicker crust for about 7 minutes.  The pizza is done when the crust is crisp, bubbled and browned.  Remove the pizza using the peel and place it in a large round platter to slice.

Repeat with the second crust, but top this pizza with sliced tomatoes and a combination of mozzarella and Gruyère as well as scallions.  If there is a third, consider a combination of sauce, mozzarella, Gruyère and any other cheese in your cheese drawer – Manchego, perhaps?

Crispy heirloom pizza

Crispy heirloom pizza