Category Archives: Italian

Parchment Baked Salmon with Tomato and Basil

Parchment baked is my newly discovered favorite way of cooking.  Parchment paper prevents food from sticking to the pan and makes cleaning a breeze.  The food is cooked in its own juices and you have assurance that it won’t dry out even if a bit overcooked.  It is also a great idea for pot luck when everyone can bring their own “mystery” packets.


  • .70 lb salmon steak or fillet
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup of chopped basil leaves
  • Dash of salt and pepper


  1. Combine, chopped tomato, shallots, garlic, basil leaves and lemon juice into a small bowl.
  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  3. Place salmon fillet in the center of  parchment paper. Drizzle each fillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil and half of the mixed vegetables on top.
  4. Place packages directly on hot baking sheet in oven at 400 F and cook for 20 minutes.

Source:  Whole Foods Recipes


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Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce

Does the smell of certain foods make your mouth water and your stomach growl even when you are not hungry?For me, just the fragrance of fresh herbs makes me want to cook them in a dish.  I was shopping at the local fresh produce market yesterday, and came upon this wonderfully fragrant bunch of basil. I can tell that it was very fresh as it looked to be right out of the soil, with its root and dirt clinging onto it and all. It was an impulse buy, and I didn’t even know what to cook with it initially.

It came to me after reviewing the items in the home pantry and the other produce that was available – I can make a nice clam pasta with it! The results turned out very nicely, and I hope that you like it as much as I did.


  • 1/2 box of thin spaghetti pasta
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, julienned
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 4 stalks of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 oz button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cans of clams with juice
  • 1.5 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and spaghetti.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or follow instructions on the box.  Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pasta and mix well.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat.  Add garlic and shallots, cook until fragrant  Add onion, tomato and the clam juices, cover and cook for a couple minutes.  Add asparagus and mushrooms.  Cover and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until everything is cooked through.  Stir in flour,  half and half, and wine.  Cook until the sauce thickens, stir in pasta, basil and clam meat.

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Seared Scallops with Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

A tasty recipe from Cooking Light.  The only modification I made to the recipe was the flour.  The sauce came out to be a little thin, so I added a tablespoon of flour which turned out to be just right.  This is a light version of a creme sauce pasta with very little butter and creme, but it’s just enough to cling to the pasta.


  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Half a box of pasta
  • 8 scallops
  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium skillet; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Drain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids.
  • Return wine mixture to skillet. Add half and half; cook over medium heat 1 minute. Add butter, stirring until butter melts. Stir in tomato, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt, flour, and pepper. Add pasta; toss well. Cover and keep warm.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Arrange scallops in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Add scallops to pasta mixture; toss gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro, if desired
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Italian, Pasta Recipes, Seafood Recipes


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Lemon Basil Shrimp Pasta

This dish is inspired by one of my favorite pasta places in New York City – Il Corallo Trattoria in Soho. When I went there for the first time, I was blown away by the simplicity but deliciousness of their Capellini Limone. This recipe is meant to recreate the dish at home. While it is not exactly the same, I think that I was able to capture the essence of the dish: clean and fresh flavors, simple, and feels like summer.


  • 1/2 box of angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal Steak Seasonings
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, julienned
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  1. Marinate shrimps with 1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and spaghetti.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or follow instructions on the box.  Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pasta and mix well.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add shrimp and cook until the shrimps are opaque.  Remove from skillet.
  4. In the same skillet, stir in garlic, onion and tomato, cook for a couple minutes.  Add pasta and lemon juice, cook for 1-2 minute or until everything cooked through.  Then add basil and shrimp.  Serve with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Italian, Pasta Recipes, Shrimp Recipes


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Lasagna Roll

Making a full lasagna may not be practical if, like me, you are usually making a meal for two. Lasagna rolls on the other hand allow for flexibility in controlling the portion size and are also very easy to make. You may add more or less ingredients depending what you have on hand, and there is also a lot of flexibility in using healthier alternatives in the ingredients. It’s ready in a fraction of the time and with much less effort!


  • 4 long, thin lasagna noodles
  • 6 oz Italian-style chicken or turkey sausage
  • 1 bag frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of nutmeg, basil, italian seasonings
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup non-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 bottle marinara
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grate Parmesan cheese, optional


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until al dente (usually about 30 seconds to a minute less than the package instructions recommend). Drain and toss with just enough oil to coat (to keep them from sticking).
  2. Brown the sausage in a large saute pan over medium heat until cooked through. Add garlic, spinach, pepper flakes, and nutmeg and cook until the spinach is warmed through. Season with salt, basil, Italian seasonings, and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Combine with the ricotta in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400F. Spread a thin layer of the marinara on the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Lay out the noodles on a cutting board and cut each in half cross-wise. Working one strip at a time, place a large spoonful of the spinach-ricotta mixture at the end of the noodle, then roll into a tight package (but not too tight or the filling will squeeze out). Continue until you’ve run out of the ricotta-spinach mixture, about 8 lasagna rolls. Place the rolls in the pan as you complete each one.
  4. Top the lasagna rolls with the remaining marinara, then with the mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 2 minutes, until the cheese and sauce are bubbling.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top to serve.

Source: Cook This, Not That with modifications.

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Spaghetti Carbonara

There are many different versions of Spaghetti Carbonara recipes online and I was glad to find that the traditional version doesn’t use creme.  It’s lighter and the sauce is just the right amount and consistency so that it sticks to the pasta; the last thing you want with this dish is pasta swimming in too much sauce. The fresh parsley, melting cheese, egg, and wine combine to create flavors that are just the right amount of richness without being too overpowering.  This is a recipe that was adapted from the Cooking Light Magazine, with slight changes.  I adjusted the serving size and used half a box of spaghetti instead of one box. Also, I added peas and mushrooms as I thought that the peas add a bit of color and mushrooms pair well with the dish.



  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ounces Parmesan Chese or Asiago Cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup of parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of frozen peas
  • 8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. In a large bowl, crack the eggs and beat lightly.  Add parsley and 1/2 cup of the grated cheese to the eggs.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat.  Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add mushrooms and frozen peas.  Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over high heat.  Add bacon and cook until it is brown.  Remove and set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and spaghetti.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or follow instructions on the box.  Drain well and immediately pour pasta into bowl with egg mixture.  Mix well.  Pour the mushrooms, peas and bacon on top of pasta and combine throughly.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and pepper to taste.


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Shrimp and Tomatoe Risotto

Shrimp and Tomatoe Risotto

As i’m writing about this recipe, I am craving for it at the same time.  This is my favorite dish and it’s the best risotto I have ever had!!   I love the shrimp creme, the fresh tomato and all the spices and cheese on it.    I revised the original recipe from Food Network, so the shrimp stock portion is right for 1 cup of rice and I also marinate the shrimp for more flavors.


Shrimp Cream:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes (I used a fresh tomato)


  • 5 cups shrimp stock, recipe follows
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 cup finely minced shallots
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves, plus 1/4 cup, chopped for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan (I used asiago)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Special equipment: food processor


For the shrimp cream: Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the shrimp until just opaque, about 2 minutes. In a food processor, puree the shrimp, heavy cream, and tomatoes until smooth.

For the risotto: In a small pot bring the shrimp stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and keep warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the shallots and saute until soft. Add the arborio rice and onions and stir until it is coated with butter, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, stir until most of the wine has been absorbed by the rice. Season with the salt and pepper.

Add the hot stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, after each addition, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock and stirring to release the starch from the rice. Begin to check the rice for doneness after 18 minutes, it should be al dente.

Add the shrimp cream mixture and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, basil, parsley, and Parmesan. Adjust the seasoning.

Marinate the shrimp with sea salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika for 15 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat saute the garlic and remaining shrimp in olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the shrimp on top of the risotto and sprinkle with the parsley.

Shrimp Stock:

  • 2 pounds shrimp shells
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 cups cold water

In a large stock pot over high heat, saute the shrimp shells until bright pink. Add the leeks, carrots, onions, shallots, garlic, and thyme and cook until soft and golden. Pour in the white wine and reduce by half. Add the cold water and bring to a boil. Skim any foam or impurities from the surface. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.


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Asparagus in Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

An excellent 15 minute cold side dish that everyone loves.  Asparagus is low in calories, full of antioxidants and vitamins. With this light sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, this dish can match anyone’s healthy diet.  This dish also tastes delicious and it’s super easy to make.



  • 1 lb fresh asparagus
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoe sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add asparagus, covered, 4 minutes.  (do not over-cooked)
  2. Chill in fridge for an hour.
  3. Combine sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Drizzle over asparagus.

Note:  You can also steam or roast the asparagus, they taste just as good when you serve them cold.


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