Sunday, February 7, 2010


After a rich meal, there is nothing more appealing than a nice refreshing sgroppino. Sgroppino is native to northeast Italy, and is very popular throughout the Veneto region.  It can be served as a dessert, or even after a dessert as a sort of refreshing palate cleanser. When I make sgroppino, I serve it in a small champagne flute, which I fill about half full. While it might seem like part of a summery menu, I really enjoy sgroppino all year round. It is never out of place at my table.


(makes 4-6 servings)
2 cups (1 pint) lemon sorbet
2-3 ounces vodka
3 ounces prosecco

Let the lemon sorbet stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes to soften. I use my hand mixer and the  big cup that one might use to make shakes to make the sgroppino. With the hand mixer combine the sorbet, vodka and prosecco. The consistency should be somewhat thick, but you should still be able to drink it  without needing a spoon. Pour sgroppino into serving glass of your choice, and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint if you like.  Enjoy!

Penne with shrimp and zucchine

This is a great weeknight meal, because it is simple and takes little time to make. It so light and fresh tasting.

1 lb shrimp (for convenience I buy it cleaned, shell off)
1 shallot minced
1 clove minced garlic
3-4 zucchine finely chopped (I pulse them in a food processor)
salt to taste
extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 lb. penne pasta (I prefer Barilla)

Before getting started, put your pasta water to boil. Do not salt the water until it is boiling hard. When the water is boiling and salted, add the pound of pasta, and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. The shrimp and zucchine should take a little bit longer to cook than the pasta, so time your pasta accordingly.
In a large skillet, heat about 4 tablespoons olive oil. When it is really hot, saute the shallot and garlic until soft. Next, add the chopped zucchine and cook for about 5 minutes. When the zucchine is mostly cooked, add the shrimp and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste.
When shrimp cooked through, drain the pasta and toss it with the shrimp/zucchine mixture.  At this point add the chopped fresh parsley, and perhaps some additional olive oil to keep a nice consistency. As any Italian will tell you, never add any parmesan cheese to your seafood pasta dishes. Enjoy the simplicity of your beautiful  ingredients.