Author: Michele Carbone (Page 1 of 4)

Lobster (The “Lovers Recipe”)

There are many recipes to cook lobster, some are excellent but boring, how many times do you want to eat a boiled lobster?  Others are good but quite greasy, cut lobster into half, put butter on top and broil, others are over complicated, and others simply disgusting.  Try my lobster and you will be happy.  This is especially good meal to cook if you want to impress your lover, spouse, significant other, etc.

Time to prepare: 15-20 minutes, depending on your stove.

Lobster with pear tomatoes

Lobster with pear tomatoes


  • 4 small-to-medium-sized lobsters.
  • ½ pound mixed yellow and orange “pear” tomatoes. If you can’t find them, you can use cherry tomatoes mixed with a golden heirloom tomato.Yellow tomatoes provide a very nice balance for seafood, so if you can find them, use them in any seafood dish. Betti and I go to the Farmer’s market every fall and buy and can the yellow and green heirlooms especially for this purpose. (See our canning recipe here: Canned Tomatoes – A Cooking Basic)
  • ½ glass white wine (always use good wine for cooking)
  • ½ bunch of wild arugula, or ½ one of those plastic boxes containing wild arugula
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • Salt
  • 1 or 2 spicy peppers (such as a Thai chili pepper), or ¼ teaspoon of dried chili pepper flakes

Recipe Preparation

  1. Using scissors, cut lengthwise along the back shell of the lobster and pull apart with your hands, cracking it well, so the meat is exposed , but the shell is still on the lobster.

    Lobster split along back of shell

    Lobster split along back of shell

  2. Put in a 10-inch pan, (le Crueset, Staub, Calphalon and Circulon are my preferred ones):
  • 4 lobsters,
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 1 or more chopped chili peppers, or red pepper flakes to taste
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Arugula
  • ½ cup of extra-virgin Italian olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Mix the ingredients well.
  2. With the heat on high, start with with lobsters on their backs.
  3. Move the ingredients around with spoon the ingredients every 2 minutes or so, and after the first 5 min, add ½ glass of white wine, letting it cook 1 more minute, and then turn the lobster on the other side (i.e., on their stomachs).
  4. Cook 5-6 more minutes, moving ingredients around every 2 minutes.
    Now the question is how powerful is your stove? If it is a Viking like mine, then the lobsters are probably ready, if it is a less powerful stove you may need 6 or so more minutes.
    The easiest way to decide is to look at the consistency of the tomatoes; when they become almost a pulp, i.e., you touch them with a wooden spoon and they smash easily, then the lobster is ready.
  5. Turn off the fire, put the lobster in the center of a large plate and put all around it the sauce.
  6. Enjoy with fresh bread.

Suggested Wine Pairing

Serve with champagne if you want to really charm your lover, or any other good wine (both a good white and a “soft’” red, such as a Chianti, Barbera, etc., but not a “super-Tuscan” or Cabernet, match well with this dish).



Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This is, quite possibly my referred pasta dish among the four traditional Roma pastas.  This is the recipe that is often the most screwed up, with many—often disgraceful—variations.  The following is the best recipe, which I copied from “Il Moro,” a trattoria near the Fontana di Trevi (in “Vicolo del Moro) where you can eat the best Carbonara (there it is called Spaghetti al Moro).  Other places in Roma where you can eat an excellent Carbonara are: Maccheroni, in Piazza delle Coppelle, near via della Scrofa; Sora Lella, on the Isola Tiberina; and Roscioli, near Campo dei Fiori.

possibly my referred pasta dish among the four traditional Roma pastas.  This is the recipe that is often the most screwed up, with many—often disgraceful—variations.  The following is the best recipe, which I copied from “Il Moro,” a trattoria near the Fontana di Trevi (in “Vicolo del Moro) where you can eat the best Carbonara (there it is called Spaghetti al Moro).  Other places in Roma where you can eat an excellent Carbonara are: Maccheroni, in Piazza delle Coppelle, near via della Scrofa; Sora Lella, on the Isola Tiberina; and Roscioli, near Campo dei Fiori.


  • ¾ of a pack of spaghetti (about 300-350 grams) (you can also use bucatini or rigatoni)
  • 4 eggs – 1 whole egg, and 3 egg yolks, combined together in a small bowl
  • 0.3 pounds (150 Grams) of pancetta, or guanciale, or if you do not find those, thick sliced pork bacon.  Cut into cubes of about ½ – 1 inch
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Black pepper to taste
  • About 1/2 cup of parmigiano reggiano freshly grated cheese. (I suggest you cut it in 1-inch squares with a knife and put in a Cuisinart to grate).

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium skillet (padella), put the pancetta/guanciale/bacon, mixed with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  2. Bring the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes (the intensity of the heat changes depending on the stove; what you want is that in about 15 min, the fat from the pancetta/guanciale/bacon is released, and the pancetta becomes slightly crispy.
    1. It should not become not super-crisp, like the kind of bacon you serve with eggs!
  3. Meanwhile, boil the water in a pot. When it comes to a rapid boil, add the spaghetti.  Mix it with a long-handled wooden spoon so that it separates and does not stick to the bottom of the pan.  Add salt to the pasta water once it has come back to a boil (I usually use about 2 tablespoons of sea salt in the pasta water).
  4. Meanwhile grate the parmigiano (you need about 1/2 of a cup of grated parmigiano reggiano.  I’ve found that Americans often use more parmigiano than Italians do, which ends up covering up the great taste of the food.)
  5. A couple of minutes before the spaghetti is ready, in a small bowl, combine one entire egg + 3 egg yolks.  Beat the eggs with a fork until frothy.
  6. Warm a pasta serving bowl in a microwave oven or with hot water
  7. The following must be done very rapidly, the faster you move, the better the outcome;
    1. Drain the pasta very al dente
    2. Immediately add 3 tablespoons of the grated parmigiano.
    3. Mix the spaghetti and the parmigiano well (20 seconds) so that the spaghetti strands are well-coated with the cheese.
    4. As you mix the pasta, pout the egg mixture over the hot pasta, so that the eggs are “cooked” by the heat from the spaghetti.  (It’s best if you have another person mixing while one person pours – remember, I told you that cooking is a social activity, and it’s fun to engage your family and friends in the kitchen as you cook!)
  8. As soon as step 7 is completed, rapidly mix the pancetta into it, using about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pancetta.
  9. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of parmigiano, black pepper to taste and mix well for another minute or so.  Serve immediately.
  10. Depending whether the bacon you used was salty or not, you may need to add salt.


This is a fast and easy dish to prepare, yet it is the most easily screwed up recipe I know of.  Unless you move fast at the end –steps 7 through 10 and you eat the pasta immediately, it will not be good.

Suggested Wine Pairing

My preferred wine for this pasta is a Barbaresco (10 or more years old), or a good Barolo of a similar age.  Alternatively, you can pair this with a younger Barbera or Chianti or Cirò Rosso.

Risotto prepared with funghi porcini

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

Last August, when I was visiting family friends in Cellara, a small village in the Sila mountains where my family is from, my host brought out a basket of freshly-picked Porcini mushrooms.

Porcini Mushrooms

Fresh Porcini Mushrooms


We cooked them together and they were wonderful.

Cooking fresh porcini

Michele Carbone and Armando cook fresh Porcini mushrooms

While the dried Italian porcini mushrooms you find in the US are not as good as those freshly picked and eaten in the mountains of Calabria, they are still wonderful.  You can purchase them in the gourmet sections of your market.  If you cannot find the Italian funghi porcini, you can try this recipe with mixed dried mushrooms—but the flavor will not be quite the same.

Risotto is a classic Northern Italian preparation for their famous Arborio and Carnaroli rice products.  I prefer the Carnaroli risotto rice if you can find it, because it is a little starchier than Arborio; it’s less likely to get mushy if you overcook it.  Usually you need to look for the risotto rices in the gourmet sections of the market, although also has a variety of Italian rices available

So here is how you make risotto

Now for many years I thought I made the best risotto with porcini, until I ate it at “Papa` Giovanni” a restaurant in Roma near the Senate (strongly recommend you eat there!).  I called the host, Daniela, and told her: your risotto is better than mine.  How do you make it?  She told me she uses olive oil instead of butter, garlic rather than onion—I was surprised, to say the least.  I tried and it worked great, so I modified the recipe.  Here it is:

Ingredients for 4-7 people – depending on how much you eat!

  • 1 ounce (about 30 grams) dried funghi porcini (Porcini mushrooms)
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 handful of finely-chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 spicy pepper, such as an Italian pepperoncino from Calabria or a Thai pepper
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 ½ cups of risotto, Carnaroli preferred (1 box of 450 grams)
  • About 1.5 liters chicken or vegetable broth, brought to a low boil in a medium sized saucepan (this is incorporated in the risotto)

How to Make this Recipe –critical step: DO NOT text, answer the phone etc.  You are cooking risotto, and the risotto wants and demands your full undivided attention and “he”–the risotto—will reward you for that!

  1. In a small bowl –enough to submerge the mushrooms, soak the dried funghi porcini in chicken broth water for about 30 minutes.
  1. Heat the chicken broth to a low boil (I do not recommend vegetable broth) in a pot. Keep the broth on a low boil or simmer throughout the recipe; the broth is incorporated into the rice one cup at a time, and it must be very hot when it is added.
  1. In a large heavy pan, add 1/3 cup olive oil, and 2 cloves of smashed garlic and sauté it gently until the garlic takes on a golden color.
    • While the garlic is being sautéd, squeeze the water/broth from the mushrooms that have been soaking and chop them. Reserve the water/broth so that you can incorporate it into the risotto later.
  2. Discard the garlic and add the finely-chopped parsley and spicy pepper (chopped very fine). Allow the flavors to combine for 30 seconds on low heat.Reserve a little bit of the chopped parsley for a garnish when you serve the risotto.
  3. Add the risotto, bringing the heat to medium. Toast the risotto in the pan for 2minutes, stirring so that each grain of rice is coated in the oil. The grains of rice should begin to cook—you’ll see kind of a white dot in the center of each grain, indicating that it’s read for the next step.  If you do not see well do not worry for the dot, after 2 min is ready!
  4. Add the chopped mushrooms and stir with the risotto for 1 minute or so.
  5. Add 1 cup of white wine, and continue to stir until the wine has been incorporated (30 seconds or so).
  6. Now start adding the heated broth, using a scoop or ladle to add it to the pan with the rice, 1 cup at a time.Keep stirring the risotto as it incorporates the broth.  You stir to make sure that each grain of rice is exposed to the broth and heat as it cooks.  I also re-heat the reserved water/broth from the soaked porcini and add that liquid to the pan as well, since it provides more of the mushroom flavor to the risotto.
  7. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, until the risotto is ready. This usually takes about 20 – 25 minutes.  The risotto should be slightly firm – you don’t want it to get mushy- and remember that it will continue to cook for a little bit after you turn the fire off, so turn it off the fire 2 min before you think the risotto is ready.
  1. When the fire is off – risotto is ready– stir in the butter and about ½ cup of the grated Parmigiano. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped parsley.Put the rest of the grated Parmigiano in a small bowl so that you can serve at the table, allowing your guests to add more to their risotto if they like.  (Americans tend to use more Parmigiano on their pastas and risottos than Italians).

Wines: Barbaresco or Barolo, or Gattinara (10+ years old or older opened at least 12 hours earlier), or if you find it, try this one that I had the other day and that is outstanding Langhe Nebbiolo Cascina Luisin 2014, same grape as the other (Nebbiolo) but much less expensive, and opening it 1 hour in advance will do it)


Il risotto ai porcini richiede brodo di pollo fatto in casa, porcini veri, tanto amore e poco o niente burro.

Soffriggere aglio in olio (1/3 of cup) rimuovere aglio aggiungere prezzemolo e pepperoncino, 30 secondi, aggiungere riso -450 grammi per 4-7 persone- cuocere a fuoco medio/alto 2 minuti, aggiungere i porcini freschi, oppure se secchi rinvenuti per 10 min almeno o di più in un po di brodo e poi strizzati.

Fuoco forte 1 minuto.

Aggiungere 1 bicchiere di vino bianco, fuoco forte, 1 minuto massimo, poi il resto dell’acqua in cui avere rinvenuto i porcini –sarà circa 1 cup, e poi abbassando un po il fuoco a medio/alto un po per volta brodo di pollo –non vegetale per favore!- finchè il risotto è quasi pronto.

Spegnere il fuoco 1-2 minuti prima che è pronto–il risotto continuerà a cuocere un po.

Aggiungere 1 cucchiaio di burro, circa ½ cup parmigiano, mischiiare bene, servire e offrite altro parmigiano a tavola a piacere.

Per il sale se il brodo era salato a dovere non serve, altrimenti dovete aggiungerlo.

Vino ideale, vedi sopra, se possibile Barbaresco di 15-20 anni.

Basic Chicken Broth (Basic, or light version)

My wife Betti makes all of the broths we use in our recipes.  We always have a store of frozen chicken, vegetable, and meat broths available because the flavor of these home-made broths is much richer and more intense than that of packaged broths.  If you have to buy a broth, look for an organic broth in your local market.  But I promise you, once you’ve made your own broth, you won’t go back to the store-bought variety.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 carrots, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 white onion, quartered
  • 2 leeks, chopped into rounds (wash the leeks carefully to remove the grit)
  • ½ bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • A handful of salt
  • A bunch of fresh thyme – sometimes you can find a combined bunch of thyme and marjoram mixed together at the market, and you can use this bunch

How to Make this Recipe

  1. In a large stockpot (about 4 quarts of water), add cold water and all of the ingredients except the chicken.
  2. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Allow the vegetables to cook for about 40-45 minutes.
  3. Raise the heat to a boil and add the chicken (don’t add the giblets—you can reserve them for something else).
  4. Bring the heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow it to boil for about 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to a simmer, so that you see rolling bubbles every minute or two, but the water is not rapidly boiling.
  6. Partially cover, and allow to cook for about 1 hour. You can skim off any foam periodically, so that the resulting broth will be very clear.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pot, placing it into a large bowl or baking dish so that it can cool. Keep the broth on a low simmer until the chicken is cooled enough to pick the meat from the bones. Once it’s cooled, you can shred the meat from the bone and use it for another recipe—my favorite use for the shredded chicken is a variation of the Mediterranean Chicken Salad recipe from the classic cookbook The Silver Palate:
  8. Put the bones back into the broth and cook for another hour, partially covered, and always at a low boil.
  9. Strain the chicken broth once it’s cooled enough for use or storage.

Fish Broth

How to Make Fish Stock

Use only fish from the sea, not from rivers and lakes.  You can use anything you like. For example, you can use 1 pound of sardines and/or fish heads (say salmon, grouper, Mahi Mahi, shirimp, or the “skin” of the shrimp. Always use some, say 10 or so mussels or clams, etc. and their spines. Do not use small fish. Then, you do not have to deal with their small bones that will choke some guests not used to eating fish).

In a pot (really big),  add the fish; it should occupy about 1/3 to ¼ of the pot.  Add 1-2 glasses white wine –depending on how big your pot is, 1 red onion cut in 4, 4 cloves of garlic crushed, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 celery cut in pieces, water up to 2 inches to the top, black peppercorns, and salt. Let it boil lightly for 2-3 hours or three, until the water is about half then what you started with. Drain the broth, set aside until it reaches room temperature, and then freeze. When you need it, you will defrost it.

Pollo alla Diavola, the Devil’s chicken

Clearly the Devil knows how to cook a chicken!

This is a classic Italian recipe, rarely or maybe never seen in the US restaurants.  Ideal for people who like to grill or who are on a diet and want to eat well.

Ingredients for 4 to 6 people

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Create a marinade by mixing:
    • ½ cup virgin olive oil
    • Juice of 2 lemons
    • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
    • 6 leaves of fresh sage, minced
    • ¼ of cup of fresh rosemary
    • Salt and black pepper to taste

How to prepare this recipe

  1. Using a cleaver or sharp knife, cut the chicken along the chest. Open it like a book. Press on it to flatten it.
  2. Pour the marinade over the chicken; massage well and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably for 2 hours.
  3. Start the grill. I prefer mesquite or other natural briquettes (the devil does not use gas!)
  4. Cook the chicken on the grill for about 35 min—depending on the heat of your fire and the size of the chicken, the cooking time may vary between 30-40 minutes.
  • Turn the pieces over a total of 4 times
  • Each time you turn the chicken, brush the pieces with the marinade
  • I put a weight on the chicken to keep it flattened –I use a brick of marble, but a pizza stone works well, too.Of course the chicken will be black and burned: that’s why it is called the Devil’s chicken.  Eat everything, including the burned skin!  It tastes great.
  1. Buon appetito!

If you do not have a grill you can cook in an iron skillet on a (powerful) gas stove with heat at maximum, again putting a weight on the chicken to smash it down as it cooks.

Suggested Wine Pairing

I like a good Rosè from Calabria (Cirò Librandi, for example) or from Sicily (Regaleali Le Rose).

Italian version:

  1. Pollo aperto come un libro, tagliandolo lungo il petto.
  2. Metterlo a marinare con: ½ cup di olio d’oliva, 2 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, ¼ di cup di rosmarino, 6 foglie di salvia a pezzetti, 2 limoni spremuti, sale e pepe.
    Idealmente lo lasciate nella marinara 2 ore, al minimo 30 minuti.
  3. Accendere la griglia a carbone.
  4. Cuocere il pollo circa 35 min, dipende dalla potenza del fuoco e dalla grandezza del pollo, girandolo ogni dieci e spalmandolo con la marinata quando lo girate.
    Io uso una lastra di marmo che metto sul pollo per tenerlo schiacciato mentre cuoce.  Il pollo naturalmente sarà un pò bruciacchiato, perciò si chiama pollo alla diavola!
  5. Buon appetito!

Se non avete la griglia potete cuocerlo in una padella di ferro sul fuoco a gas. Fuoco al massimo sempre usando un peso sul pollo per tenerlo schiacciato.

Vino: a me piace un Ciro Rosè Librandi o un Regaleali Le Rose, ma naturalmente un chianti ci sta a meraviglia, e se preferite, un Regaleali bianco.

Oven-baked fillet of fish with fresh tomato sauce (Filetti di Cernia or altro pesce al pomodoro fresco al forno)

Baked filet of fish with tomato

Do you want a very fresh, simple recipe for fish? This takes only a few minutes to prepare and cook.

I use grouper or any other very fresh filet of fish.  When you shop for the fish, make sure the filets are of consistent thickness so they bake evenly.

Ingredients for 4-6 people

  • 1 filet of fish per person
  • ½ cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1/3 cup olives
  • Salt and, if you like, black or red pepper to taste

How to make this recipe

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425° F (220° Celsius)
  2. Put in a food processor olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and basil, salt, pepper, and mix just a little bit–do not exaggerate, just process until the tomatoes are still chunky.
  3. Put fish in a baking dish. Pour the tomato mixture from the food processor over the filets.
  4. Add the olives, and then turn the fish over so that both sides are coated with the tomato blend.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes, then pull the pan from oven, and turn over the filets. Cook for another 5 minutes (add or subtract a minute or two, depending on the thickness of the filet). Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.
  6. Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

Ideally, if you can find it, a sparkling white from Librandi called “Labella”, otherwise a cold “Pecorino”.

Italian version:

  1. Un filetto di cernia o di altro pesce, a testa.
  2. Mettere nel food processor circa 250 g di pomodori freschi con la buccia, 1 spicchio d’aglio, 1 tazzina di caffè di olio d’oliva, 1 mazzetto di basilico, sale e se vi piace 1 peperoncino rosso. Mischiare un pó per amalgamare il tutto senza esagerare!  Non deve essere  una pappa liquida!
  3. Mettere i filetti di pesce nella teglia da forno, girarli, versarci sopra le olive, e infornare a 220 C (forno già caldo) per circa 10 min girando una volta.
  4. Buon appetito!

Summer Recipe: Spaghetti with ricotta and zucchini

Sauteed zucchini draining on paper towels

Sauteed zucchini draining on paper towels

Out of the many recipes of pasta with ricotta, this is in my opinion the best one.  I modified slightly from a book called Pasta Fresca, written in 1988 by Viana Kleiman. Of note, I could not make this recipe for 20 or so years because there was no good ricotta in the USA.  Fortunately this has changed, and now Bellwether Farms in California makes a ricotta as good as the one I eat in my house in Calabria.  Whole Foods and other specialty markets carry Bellwether’s ricotta, or you can order it directly from them.

Ingredients for 4-6 people

  • 1 box spaghetti (450g)
  • ½ cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove or garlic
  • 1 medium size zucchini for each person, cut in ½ cm round coins
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 box of Bellwether Farms Whole Cow’s Milk ricotta (340g)
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • 1 bunch of basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of the boiling water in which you cooked the pasta

How to make this recipe

  1. Boil water in a large pot and add spaghetti.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, combine the olive oil, smashed garlic cloves, and rosemary in a large skillet. Bring the heat to medium to medium-high.
  3.  Note that the heat is somewhat dependent on your stove: for example, on a gas stove, you might use “medium high” and on an electric stove, you might use “high” heat. The heat needs to be intense enough to brown the zucchini.
  1. When oil is hot—hot, but NOT smoking, do not let it smoke, it means the heat is too high—add the zucchini and cook until golden brown on each side (remember to turn them!). Also, when the garlic is golden, remove it from the skillet and throw it away.
  2. Remove the sautéed zucchini from the skillet and place on absorbent paper towel to drain the oil. Keep the skillet ready with the olive oil and  rosemary sprig.
  3. By now the pasta should be almost ready. Taste it to be sure it is a little bit hard “al dente.” Scoop out 1 cup of the boiling pasta water and reserve.
  4. Quickly drain the pasta and transfer it in the large skillet —fire off—which contains the remaining olive oil and rosemary. Now you must move very fast:  mix well, add the ricotta and a little bit of water to make the ricotta smooth, but not liquid –you can always add more water but you cannot take it out, so add a little bit at the time; you will need about 1/3 of a cup.
  5. Add the basil and zucchini to the skillet and mix it well.
  1. Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

A cold Arneis or Vermentino from Sardinia, or, ideally, if you can find it, a sparkling white from Librandi called “Labella.”

Italian Version of Pasta e ricotta per 4-6 persone


  • 1 pacco di spaghetti e 350 g di ricotta fresca di ottima qualità (preferisco per questa ricetta la ricotta integrale di latte di vacca, ma si puo usare pure ricotta di pecora).
  • 1 zucchina media a persona tagliata a rondelle di mezzo cm
  • 1 tazzina di caffè olio d’oliva
  • 1 spicchio d’aglio schiacciato e un rametto di rosmarino
  • Un mazzo di basilico spezzettato con le mani.


  1. Mettere acqua a bollire, aggiungere sale e pasta.
  2. Soffriggere le zucchine con aglio e rosmarino in olio di oliva in una padella grande, finchè dorate da entrambe le parti.  Spegnere il fuoco e mettere le zucchine su carta assorbente.
  3. Appena la pasta è al dente, prendere una tazza d’acqua, poi scolare la pasta e metterla nella padella con l’olio che è rimasto dalla frittura (fuoco spento). Rapidamente: mischiare bene, aggiungere la ricotta e un po’acqua della pasta, quel tanto che pasta a rendere la ricotta ‘vellutata, cremosa, ma NON liquida.
  4. Aggiungere basilico e zucchine e servire con up pó di pepe nero.
  5. Buon appetito!

Vino: Librandi Labella freddo (ideale), oppure se non lo trovate, un Arneis o un Vermentino un po frizzante ci stanno pure bene.



(For 3-4 people)

There are few dishes that chefs screw up as much as this one—too often, octopus served in restaurants tastes like bland rubber. Yet, if cooked well, this is one of my preferred dishes. But, for that I have to cook it myself.

Part of the key is making sure that you get small octopus.


  • 1 to 1¼  pound of small octopus—this should be at least 2 small octopus
  • ½ bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 or more hot Italian, or Hawaiian, or Thai peppers, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine for cooking
  • Juice from 1 or 2 lemons (depending on how much juice they have)

Make sure you have the octopus cleaned by the fisherman or fish vendor if you don’t know how to clean it yourself. Then, separate the legs and cut them transversely at ½ inch intervals. Slice the head ¼ inch transversely.

Use a pot with a lid that seals perfectly.  If you have an enamel pot (such as a Staub or Le Creuset pot), use that.


  1. On medium to medium-low heat, fry the garlic cloves in the olive oil.  Remove the garlic from the oil as it becomes golden. Do not burn it!
  2. Add parsley, hot pepper, the octopus and salt. Turn the heat to high, and cook for 1 minute.  
  3. Add the ½ glass of white wine and cover the pot. Lower the flame, and continue to cook on medium-low heat for 35 minutes without ever removing the cover to look at it.
  4. Mince 1 more tablespoon of parsley.
  5. After 35 minutes, open the lid and add the parsley and the juice of 1 or 2 lemons (depending on how juicy they are and how much you like the lemon flavor). Keep on the heat for 30 seconds, mixing well.
  6. Turn off the heat and serve the octopus as either a “soup,” or serve over toasted bread—you need good Italian bread! I prefer olive bread, but any crusty bread will be great. You’ll want to use the bread to sop up the flavorful broth (sugo) created by this recipe.
  7. Buon appetito!

Italian version of this recipe:

Polpo (o meglio polipi come tutti li chiamano in barba allo Zingarelli)

Ne pescavo 1 al giorno quando ero piccolo,più di cento a stagione, al blu 70.  Poi li portavo a casa dove li ammazzavano la seconda volte perche` non li sapevano cucinare.  O duri e gommosi, oppure affogati nel pomodoro.  Per molti anni ho continuato a pensare che I polpi erano un piatto di seconda qualitá, finchè ho imparato a cuinarli: oggi sono fra i miei piatti preferiti.  Procedete come segue.  Per 3 persone circa 300 g di polipetti piccoli, almeno 2 meglio 3-4, o anche meglio imoscardii che sono i polipetti con 1 sola fial di ventose.  

Usare una pentola con coperchio a chiusura perfetta-se non lo avete mettete un peso sul coperchio.

  1. Fatevi pulire il polipo dal pescatore se non sapete pulirlo, e guardate come fa!
  2. Separate le gamebe e la testa.  Tagliate le gambe trasversalmente ogni cm,ela testa a rondelle ogni mezzo cm.
  3. Soffriggere in ½ bicchiere di oilio d’oliva 2 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, togliere come prendono colore.  
  4. Aggiungere ½ pugno di prezzemolo tritato e 1 o più secondo i gusti di pepperoncino calbrese picante tritato.  (a me piacciono molto piccanti) e il polipo.  Fuoco forte soffriggere 1 minuto
  5. Aggiungere ½ bicchiere di vino bianco e coprire.  Abbassare il fuoco a medio-basso e cuocere 35 min senza mai scoperchiare-altrimenti mangerete un polipo duro e gommoso.
  6. Aggiungere il succo di 1-2 imoni-dipende da quanto succo fanno, vi serve circa 1/3 di bicchiere di limone.
  7. Cuocere per altri 30 secondi.
  8. Servire su fette di pane abbrustolito

Buon appetito!


Two Great Shrimp Recipes

(For 4)

These are two very different, easy, and excellent shrimp recipes. I like to make them at the same time, dividing the shrimp half and half among the two to see which of them my guests prefer. Usually, it is about 50/50.

Note: These same recipes will work with other crustaceans, you just need to adjust for amount of time and ingredients.

Recipe 1:  Shrimp with tomato sauce, green onions, and mint


  • Approximately 20 very large shrimp, with heads and tails
  • ¼ stick of butter (about 25 grams)
  • ½ box of crushed Pomì or other crushed Italian tomatoes (if you have homemade canned tomatoes, use them instead–see my website recipe)
  • 1 bunch (approximately 8) green onions, chopped
  • ½ glass white wine
  • ½ cup of fresh mint, finely chopped


  1. In a large pot, boil water. Add the shrimp and boil it for 2 minutes.
  2. Using a colander, pour out the water, and allow the shrimp to cool. Once the shrimp have cooled, peel them, leaving their heads attached to their bodies. Put the peeled shrimp onto a platter.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet, add green onions and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or until they are soft. Stir often to avoid sticking.
  4. Keeping the heat on low, add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Add the white wine and allow the sauce to continue simmering for another 5-6 minutes, until the sauce is reduced (i.e. it becomes thick again).
  6. Spoon the sauce over each dinner plate, then put 5 shrimp on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped mint.
  7. Buon Appetito!


  1. Bollire i gamberi 2 min, raffreddarli, pelarli lasciandogli la testa.
  2. Squagliare ¼ di bastoncino di burro, circa 25 g, in una padella a fuoco basso
  3. Aggiungere 1 mazzetto di cipolline verdi tagliate a rondelle (circa 8 cipolline), 5 min a fuoco basso o finchè pronte (girate spesso)
  4. Aggiungere mezzo scatolo di pelati (250g), meglio Pomì “crushed” o ancora meglio conserva fatta in casa, vedi la ricetta sul mio website.  Cuocere a fuoco basso 2-3 minuti.
  5. Aggiungere ½ bicchiere vino bianco, continuare a cuocere sempre a fuoco basso per altri 5-6 minuti.  Spegnere il fuoco.
  6. Mettete la salsetta al centro di ogni piatto, metteteci sopra 5 gamberoni, la menta tagliuzzata e buon appetito.


Recipe 2:  Shrimp Calabrian style


  • 20 shrimp with head and everything else, not peeled!
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped very fine
  • Hot red pepper (better fresh southern Italian hot peppers, or Hawaiian hot peppers, or Thai peppers, or whatever dry red pepper you have)
  • 1 glass white wine


  1. Using scissors, cut lengthwise along the spine of the shrimp, starting from the junction of the head-body down toward the tail–but leave the head and the shell on! Carefully pull the black cord from the shrimp and rinse under cold water. Set aside until all the shrimp have been sliced.
  2. In a large pan, add ½ cup olive oil, and turn the heat to high. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Turn the flame off, and allow the garlic take on a golden color.
  3. Remove and discard the garlic.
  4. Turn the flame back to high and add ½ of the minced parsley, red pepper to taste, and immediately add the shrimp. Cook about 1 minute per side, add 1 glass of white wine, and cook for 2 more minutes (i.e. 1 additional minute per side).  
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour the sauce from the skillet over each plate, add the shrimp on top forming a circle, then garnish with the remaining minced parsley.
  7. Buon appetito!

Italiano: Gamberi alla Calabrese

  1. Tagliare il guscio dei gamberi dorsalmente con le forbici, senza rimuovere nè guscio nè la testa.
  2. Versare circa un bicchiere d’olio d’oliva in una padella grande.  Fuoco forte.
  3. Soffriggere l’aglio, rimuoverlo appena imbiondisce, aggiungere un pugno di prezzemolo tritato, pepperoncino rosso, a gusto vostro, a me piacciono molto piccanti, e immediatamente anche i gamberi.
  4. Soffriggere 1 minuto per lato.  Aggiungere 1 bicchiere vino bianco.  Cuocere altri due min, sempre fuoco forte, 1 minuto per lato.  
  5. Rimuovere padella dal fuoco, aggiungere un pugno di prezzemolo tritato, e servire i gamberi con la loro salsetta.  
  6. Buon appetito!

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