Creamy Ricotta Pasta

In a large skillet, brown 1 large zucchini diced; 6 large crimini mushrooms, chopped; 1 small bunch of scallions thickly sliced. Add 8-10 pitted kalamata olives, halved. Stir and simmer. Drain one can Marzano whole tomatoes. Chop and add to the skillet. Heat and stir. Season with oregano, basil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat and add large dollops ricotta cheese. Stir into the sauce. Serve over fresh pasta topped with a generous amount of lemon zest.


Veal Piccata with Cavatelli

Slice 2 small zucchinis lengthwise, cutting off ends. Place in a baking pan, peel side down. Drizzle with olive oil. Spread a pinch of cayenne on each. Place in the oven until it reaches 400 degrees. Then, broil until crisp on top. Remove from oven.

When cool, cut zucchini into small chunks. Finely chop 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes.

In a large non-stick fry pan, heat a thin coat of olive oil on high heat. Quickly brown milk-fed veal cutlets, pounded to about 1/4″, on each side. Do it in stages so they don’t touch. Sprinkle with ground pepper and garlic powder.

Remove to a plate after each stage.

In the same pan with leftover drippings, brown a minced shallot. Add a couple pats of butter. Deglaze with 1/4 cup dry white wine. Add juice of 2 lemons and 1/3 cup capers. Stir. Turn off heat.

In a large pot, add fresh cavatelli to boiling water. After water comes to a full boil again, cook for 5 minutes until tender. Drain.

Bring fry pan back to high heat and place veal cutlets and juices back into the sauce until just heated.

Serve with shallot, lemon, caper sauce over cavatelli topped with zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes.

Sprinkle with romano-parmesan grated cheese.

Fresh Pasta Mozzarella

Access to fresh pasta has rekindled a preference for it when possible. It is different, lighter and a bit stickier which makes sauces adhere better. It cooks much faster 2-3 minutes. No. I won’t go as far as to make it from scratch.

In a non-stick fry pan, heat a little olive oil. Add hot pepper flakes and fresh chopped parsley. Add fresh chopped mushrooms. Brown.

Add par-boiled asparagus pieces and brown. Or broccoli.

Season with dried oregano, basil to taste.

Add a couple pats of butter and heat to finish.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil water and cook fresh pasta, 2-3 minutes. Drain.

Toss in small fresh mozzarella balls.

Serve covered with vegetable sauce.

Top with grated romano/parmesan mix and lemon zest.

Astice di Natale



Christmas Eve. After decades of Lobster Newburg, no such sauce to be found in Manhattan. So. A new recipe. Lobster in a butter sauce over fresh pasta.

1/4 lb. cooked lobster meat from Citarella per person. More is fine.

Serves 8+.

In a large stock pot on medium high, heat 2 – 3 lbs. lobster meat in 1 lb. melted butter, juice of 2 lemons. Add cracked pepper to taste.

Serve over fresh pasta.

Garnish with diced sun-dried tomatoes, whole capers, and dried basil.

Buon Natale!


Note: Aragosta v. Astice. It looks like a New England lobster is astice. A warm water langouste appears more aragosta.

Holiday Shrimp Fra Diavolo

After you’ve trimmed the tree, it’s time for a hearty reward.

Serves 2.

Shell, clean 6-8 large shrimp per person.

Pat dry and set aside in a bowl.

In a large deep fry pan, heat 1 jar Rao’s or Citarella Arrabbiata sauce.

Add 1/2 cup dry red wine, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, pepperoncini flakes and dried oregano to taste. Stir.

Add shrimp to the sauce and cook on medium heat to keep a low boil until done, about 6 minutes.

Serve over favorite pasta.

Top with spicy fresh mozzarella balls, basil leaves and lemon zest.


You can use any tomato sauce, just add more pepperoncini flakes than you would for Arrabbiata. It’s meant to be spicy hot. Il diavolo!

Best Veggie Pasta Ever

If I do say so myself. Inspired after watching favorite Lidia Bastianich’s Saturday show. Yet, I didn’t want meat or fish in the dish.

A bright balance of ingredients came together just as I tasted them in my mind. A perfect supper with Frog’s Leap Zin. A little sauce dominates the taste.

Make spaghetti as directed. Half a DeCecco box for 2.

Meanwhile, drain and chop a can of Cento whole Marzano Italian tomatoes.

Chop 10 Crimini mushrooms into quarters.

Chop 14 Kalamata olives.

Chiffonade 20 fresh basil leaves.

Julienne half a lemon peel (no pulp).

Finely mince 2 cloves garlic.

Drain 1 tbs. capers.

In a heavy cast iron fry pan, brown the mushrooms in olive oil.

Add ground black pepper, dried oregano and thyme, to taste; half the minced garlic.

Deglaze with a quarter cup of the Zinfandel.

Add the chopped tomatoes, olives and capers.

Stir and heat for a couple of minutes only. Should stay chunky.

Stir the drained pasta with a little butter and pepperoncini flakes, rest of minced garlic.

Serve in bowls. Spoon sauce on top of the pasta, then finish with the fresh basil and lemon peel. Basil and lemon shine.

Summer End Pasta

Neighbor with greenest thumb ever brought over sweetest cherry tomatoes.

Made a little spaghetti.

Roasted zucchinis with olive oil, pepper and garlic powder.

Put the cooked drained pasta back in the pasta pot, with no water.

Turned to medium high heat, and stirred in chunks of the zucchini, the cherry tomatoes and a generous amount of butter.

Served with shaved asiago.

Simple is best when the garden is still giving us these gems. Thanks, Louise!

Colitti Spaghetti

They rhyme in our world. Like confetti.

It’s a deep, thick sauce made with pork chop, bone-in. Serves 6.

In a stock pot, brown a large bone-in pork chop and 1/2 sweet onion, chopped.

Add 1 16-oz. can whole tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves, shredded
Dried oregano to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
4 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup of Chianti or dry red wine

Bring to boil, then turn to low. Let simmer uncovered for a couple of hours. Stir occasionally.

Pork should fall off the bone, tender and juicy. Remove the bone. Sauce should be dark and rich. What we Colitti’s called “dirty”.

Serve with Spaghetti and freshly grated romano-parmesan mix and garlic bread.


Ben Piccata

mAdBen son came home from Manhattan craving my variation on veal scallopine piccata.

Dr.Husband procured the finest milk-fed veal cutlets from Frigo’s Italian market in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The owner, Joe, likes to pound them. I prefer them unpounded. It’s an ongoing battle, but I usually win.


Serves 4.

So, cutlets are like 1/2″ thick. If they are too thin, they overcook in a second. Thicker means moister.

Dredge 2 lbs. cutlets in egg/milk batter, then flour.

In a very large skillet, brown cutlets in olive oil, both sides, quickly and in stages so not touching.

After each stage, deglaze and scrape with dry white wine (could use broth).

Set aside cutlets in a bowl with deglazed juices until all cutlets arebr owned.

To the skillet added 1/4 lb. butter, tiny asparagus tips, chopped shiitake mushrooms, stirred until firm but soft.

Add the cutlets back in with all of the juices/wine, scraped bits.

Add juice of 2 lemons and 3 hefty tablespoons capers, over the cutlets.

Simmer covered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile make Fettucine, tossed with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.