Sunday, April 30, 2017


This dish is very much like a seafood chowder or stew but it does not contain potatoes and is not soupy. You can put this together in the afternoon, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake in the oven. You may have to bake it 5 minutes longer if it comes out of the refrigerator. If you love seafood in a sherry sauce with crispy bacon on top, you'll love this!

2 slices bacon, chopped
4 T unsalted butter, divided
1 small leek, diced
½ carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T all-purpose flour
¼ cup dry sherry
½ cup clam juice or seafood broth
¼ t saffron threads (optional)
6 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, cut in half crosswise
6 sea scallops
4 oz cod or haddock, cut into bite-size chunks
½ cup half-and-half
4 oz cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-size chunks, (a lobster tail is perfect)
½ cup panko (Japanese dried bread crumbs)
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 T chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 t chopped fresh tarragon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a saucepan cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
Drain off the bacon grease but leave the brown bits in the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and sauté the leek, carrot, and celery for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the flour and cook a couple of minutes.
Add the sherry and cook a couple of seconds, then add the clam juice and saffron, if using.
Add shrimp, scallops, and fish and cook 2 minutes.
Evenly divide between 2 gratin dishes and add the cooked lobster meat to the top.

In a small bowl, combine the panko, Parmigiano, parsley, and tarragon.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and mix into the crumbs.

Spoon the crumbs on top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.

Serves 2

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Who doesn't love twice baked potatoes with cheese and pancetta or bacon? My son and daughter love these at Christmas with a prime rib roast and Yorkshire Pudding. I served these with steaks on the grill and a big green salad. Choose medium size potatoes, because these are whole potatoes with the tops cut off instead of large potatoes, cut in half.

6 medium-size baking potatoes
6 slices bacon or thin slices pancetta, diced
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola or grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
6 T unsalted butter
6 scallions, chopped
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper
Chives, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes with a brush under cold running water.
Dry potatoes with paper towels and brush with a little avocado oil
Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp.
Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

Let potatoes cool for 15 minutes then place potatoes on a cutting board and cut a horizontal slice off the top of each potato.
Scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl.
Mash with a potato masher then add the bacon, cheese, sour cream or yogurt, butter, and scallions.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon back into the potato skins and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Garnish with a few chives, if desired.

Serves 6

Friday, April 21, 2017


All'Arrabbiata sauce is a Roman favorite and it translates to 'angry'. You can make it as spicy hot as you desire by adjusting the red pepper flakes. Traditionally this tomato sauce is served with penne pasta. You can also leave out the pancetta if you prefer.

4 oz pancetta, diced
2 T avocado oil or extra-light olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 to 2 T red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press or minced
3 (28 oz) cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
1 cup water
1 T chopped fresh basil
½ cup dry red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the pancetta and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the fat is rendered. 
Add the oil and sauté the onion and red pepper flakes for 5 minutes, until translucent. 
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and hand-crush them, removing any hard center cores.
Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.
To the saucepan add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil, and wine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil penne in salted water until al dente, about 8 to 9 minutes.
Save ½ cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce.
Stir pasta water into the sauce.
Pour drained penne back into the pot and add some of the tomato sauce, as needed.

Spoon penne into warm pasta bowls, sprinkle with grated cheese and garnish with basil.
This makes enough sauce for 3 lbs of pasta.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Who doesn't like stuffed pork chops? I think almost everyone does and this is a simple recipe with a delicious sauce. Get your butcher to cut a pocket in each thick chop or you can do it yourself with a small paring knife. If you don't want to use wine, double up on the chicken broth. USDA has lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 degrees F to 145 degrees F with the addition of a three-minute rest. 

2 T avocado oil or extra-light olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
1 stalk celery, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t dry thyme
2 T minced parsley
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup bread cubes or plain stuffing croutons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pork Chops
2 thick tomahawk pork chops, trimmed of excess fat, and a pocket cut into each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T extra-light olive oil
½ cup minced onion
¼ t dry thyme
1 T all-purpose flour
½ cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken broth

Melt the butter in olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. 
Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic for 10 minutes. 
Add the thyme, parsley, rosemary, and bread cubes. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Spoon into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pack as much of the stuffing into each pork chop and secure with toothpicks.
Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  

Heat the oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the pork chops and brown on each side for about 3 minutes.
Remove and set aside on a platter.  
Pour out most of the grease from the skillet and add the minced onion and thyme.  
Sauté for about 5 minutes then mix in the flour and cook another 2 minutes.  
Add the wine and chicken broth.
Simmer until it thickens slightly.  
Place the browned chops and any liquid that has accumulated on the platter into the skillet.

Cover with a lid or with parchment paper and then aluminum foil.
Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until internal temperature of stuffing is 145 degrees F.

To serve, arrange the chops on a heated platter or plates and pour the sauce through a strainer over them. 
Let rest 3 minutes before serving.


Ernest and Elizabeth Novello with friends in 1966 waiting to be rowed into the Blue Grotto on the island of Capri. On one of our trips to the Amalfi Coast, our daughter swam through the less touristy Green Grotto (Grotta Verde) located closer to Marina Piccola at the Faraglioni rocks. Kayaks and swimmers are only allowed to go through the Green Grotto. We met her on the other side and she didn't want to get back in the boat. There is another green grotto about 3 miles (5 km) west of the town of Amalfi called Emerald Grotto (Grotta di Smeraldo). It is the jewel of the Amalfi coast. Italy is truly a magical place.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Here is my version of a Chopped Roma Salad, with shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and cannellini beans.

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 small head radicchio, chopped 
½ cup cannellini beans drained and rinsed 
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
Shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese, for garnish

¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, pressed
½ t freeze-dried or dried oregano
½ t freeze-dried or dried basil
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse and spin dry the lettuces.
Place in a salad bowl and add the beans and sun-dried tomatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, oregano, and basil.
While whisking, slowly add the olive oil and whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour some of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.
Top with a few pieces of shaved Pecorino Romano cheese and serve.

Serves 2