How to avoid the hypnotic draw of the neon Drive Thru signs or the Tale of a Busy Mom!

In addition to being a mom and a personal chef, for the past 25 years of my life I have also been a speech pathologist. I worked in schools for several years before having children and once our second daughter was born 14 years ago, I found a position with a small agency where I remained until this past August. It was a perfect job that allowed me great flexibility to be home with my kids most of the time, and as they got older, it gave me time to start my chef business. In August I parted ways with my employer and for the first time in a long time was looking for another job. As most of you know, the job market is tough, even for teachers and therapists, and so I am still looking, but meanwhile I am filling a two month maternity leave in a local school district. It is a full time job 8-3:30, Monday through Friday.

I realize that a great majority of people do this and more each and every week, and I will go on record as saying that I have always had a great respect for working parents, and even more now as I am experiencing the crazy, hectic schedule and the physical exhaustion that accompanies working full time and managing a busy family of five!

After a couple of weeks on this new gig, I completely understand the hypnotic draw of neon signs saying “Drive thru” and “Pick Up Window” that seem to get brighter and more intense at say…5 pm while driving home to figure out what to feed the family! I get it! I really do! BUT…. I also know how important good nutritious food is for me and for my family. I know how much better it tastes to eat a home cooked meal AND I know that even with this new chaos in our lives, there IS a way to make it happen without collapsing on the floor in exhaustion or being chained to the kitchen after arriving home!

Tonight I ran into one of my neighbors, also a teacher and busy mom, in the grocery store on the way home from work. She jokingly asked what WE were having for dinner as she was trying to figure out what THEY were having for dinner. And it got me to thinking that maybe I should share some of my techniques for those of you struggling to “do it all!” Do we still order a pizza once in a while, you bet! And yes, even at the chef’s house, we have breakfast for dinner on occasion when the best laid plans fly out the window, but with some planning ahead, a couple of great kitchen tools and strategies, we can all eat better at home! So for the next few weeks I’ll share whatever tips I can along with some simple recipes that my family loves, and hopefully yours will too!

Tonight’s strategy? Ask for everyone’s input! I started this tradition many years ago when I got in a rut or got bored with what my palate was thinking of for dinner. I ask each family member to think of 5-7 dishes that they would like to eat at dinner time. Not only does that give me a nice selection of approximately 20 dishes (there are always overlaps between the kids), but it really cuts down on the upturned noses at the table. I asked them all for there lists this week and so far here is my working list in no particular order:
*Pasta Fagiole
*Cider Braised Chicken
*Salmon Burgers with Ginger
*Steak Fajitas
*Turkey Lettuce Wraps
*Fried Chicken
*Grilled Steaks
*Lamb Chops
*Homemade Pizza
*Chicken Noodle Soup
*Chicken Pot Pie
*Tilapia with Chile Lime Butter
*Beef Stew
*Pulled Pork
*Linguine with White Clam Sauce
*Shrimp Scampi
*Turkey Burgers with Wasabi Mayo
*Chicken Parmesan
*Mexican Tortilla Soup
*Pizza Supreme Soup

That made my life much easier already! With Thanksgiving and Christmas looming, we might not make it through them all, but it really helps me to organize a monthly menu. That’s right, I said MONTHLY!

When I make a monthly menu I always leave a few days blank for leftovers, to use up some things that we have, to try a new recipe that sounds delicious or if we have a crazy night and the plan becomes a joke…

And tonight our dinner utilized another of my favorite tips that I’ll talk about later….stocking the freezer! I had ground turkey ready to go and I was able to whip up a batch of our favorite Asian turkey lettuce cups!
Happy weekend!


Chipotle Braised Butternut Squash with Black Beans and Brown Rice, or My trip to Cleveland, Part 2

Of course the reason I went to Cleveland in September was because my recipe was chosen as a contender in the Aetna Healthy Food Fight. I was pretty excited to have my recipe chosen as it was my first time entering a recipe contest with an original dish. The guidelines for the contest were pretty stringent, for example the cost of whole dish couldn’t exceed $13.00 and the recipes received points for nutrition after each one was analyzed at the Culinary Institute of America. The final step for the competition was the cook-off. There are 10 cook-offs taking place around the country and the winners of each are invited to Los Angeles to cook a healthy Thanksgiving dinner for Bobby Flay!

To stay within the budget, I decided that using a local, seasonal vegetable would be an economic start and with fall upon us, the butternut squash was the best choice. Often people eat butternut squash on the sweet side, for example roasting it with brown sugar or maple syrup, but for my stew, I wanted to have a nice balance. I thought, “If this is being served as an entree, it should be savory and flavorful!” and having recently braised some short ribs with Chipotle peppers, I knew that this was going to be a really tasty way to prepare my squash. I wanted to add protein, and again due to budgetary reasons, I went with black beans. They are a great source of protein and fiber, not to mention delicious! I love to cook dried beans low and slow to develop their flavor, but for ease of preparation I went with canned beans. I tinkered with different additions and in the end, was very happy with the result. Because the use of whole grains was an important part of the nutritional analysis, I included the brown rice (which was almost the death of me during the competition!!)
When we got to the Ripe Festival where the Food Fight was happening we found out that they were already 2 hours behind schedule. Tami was supposed to cook at 2pm and I was to cook at 4 pm so it was a long day of waiting for our turns!

We watched a fellow personal chef at the noon time slot (which happened at 2 pm) so it was good to see the layout and some of the competition. The funny thing was the judges for that round! They were volunteers and employees of Aetna and the Botanical Gardens where the competition took place. There was one judge who tasted everything and made faces like she’d just eaten a bug. She was definitely NOT a foodie and Tami and I were glad that there was a change of the guard before we cooked. The new set of judges were very fun and excited to be judging the competition!

Tami finally got on stage at around 4. She made a great lettuce wrap with ground turkey, sweet potatoes, black beans and Chinese 5-spice. (Somehow I don’t have a picture of it though!) She was hands down the winner of her round!

At 6pm I finally got my turn! The staff in charge were a fun group of people, and there was an awesome R&B band playing across the lawn that got me dancing while I was cooking. I had a blast!
(Poor Tami had to cook with a very sad band trying to cover some awesome songs from the 70’s and 80’s but doing a really lame job of it!)

We were supplied with a convection oven and induction burners and pots and pans. They also provided the ingredients, and of course, mine were not what I asked for and I had to MacGuyver my way out of that fiasco, but it all worked out fine.

Cooking brown rice takes almost an hour on the stovetop and often it can get gummy if you aren’t careful, but cooking it in the oven is a brilliant way to make perfect brown rice every time. I use Alton Brown’s baked brown rice recipe from Foodnetwork which makes it easy, except…. working with a powerful, restaurant grade convection oven messed me up and at 30 minutes, the rice didn’t seem to be cooking (because I had reduced the temperature0 so I switched to the stovetop for some added excitement!
The stew came together really quickly but the darn rice kept me waiting and waiting.. I hate when that happens! But it all worked out and the final dish came together perfectly!
When preparing for the cook off, we were told to bring plating props for our dishes. Luckily, my friend Tami, the Dine in Diva has a signature color, green, and has many serving pieces in different shades of green which I knew would be a great way to show off my stew! I love the square bowl she had and as you can see the presentation was beautiful!

It took two weeks before we heard anything, and in the end my recipe wasn’t the winner of the Cleveland Food Fight, but my friend Tami’s was! That was almost as good as winning, and she’s invited me to travel with her to L.A. in November for the final round of the competition so I am really excited about that!

Even though it wasn’t the winner, I will share the recipe with you all anyway. It has been served to my family and friends with great success and I hope you’ll enjoy making it for yourselves! I also think adding a pound of ground turkey would be delicious! Enjoy!

Chipotle Braised Butternut Squash Stew with Black Beans and Brown Rice
Yield: 8 cups

1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia), diced (app. 2 cups)
1 large Poblano pepper, chopped (app. 1 c)
3 cloves garlic
3 Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a 7 oz. can), finely diced
1 15 oz. can no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels from a fresh ear of corn, or frozen
1 15 oz. can low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. fresh butternut squash, diced
¼ c. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of one small lime

2 c. brown rice, cooked according to package directions, divided

1 c. nonfat Greek yogurt, optional
½ c. toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

Heat a deep sauté pan over medium, then add oil. Saute onions for 2-3 minutes, then add Poblano pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes until onions become translucent. Add the Chipotle peppers, garlic and black beans and sauté for another 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, corn and broth and bring to a simmer, add the butternut squash and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is tender.
Add cilantro and lime juice just before serving.

In a large bowl, put ½ cup of the brown rice and ladle over 1 cup of stew.

Garnish each bowl with a tablespoon of yogurt if desired.

My trip to Cleveland, Part 1, The Westside Market!

A few weeks ago I entered a recipe in the Aetna Healthy Food Fight. I received notification that my recipe had been selected for the cook-off round in Cleveland to take place on September 25 and 26. My friend and fellow personal chef, Tami Mitchell, Akron’s own Dine In Diva, also had a recipe selected so I went for a visit and we had a great girl’s weekend!

I arrived on Friday afternoon and Tami took me to one of her most favorite places, The Westside Market. We walked through the doors and there were some nice stalls of produce vendors that reminded me a bit of our own Rochester Public Market, but it was neater and indoors which is a plus! But then….we entered the beautiful old market building that houses a mecca of gorgeous, wonderous ingredients! Isn’t it incredible?

We walked the aisles and I was amazed by the gorgeous meats, many which are butchered on site
and look at this fish… it is really unbelievable!

Tami’s clients are very lucky because she often shops there for their meals.

We also visited some vendors of herbs, nuts and seeds, grains and the Mediterranean market where I bought some pomegranate molasses and some dried kiwi. They had a great selection of grains and pastas, as well as European spices, juices and drinks. It was a fun shop to nose around in.

I fell in love with the Westside market and the next time I go to visit Tami in November, I am bringing my BIG cooler and bringing home some treats for my kitchen!

Next up…a trip to Lilly’s Chocolates for some awesome chocolate and wine and beer pairings!

A perfect taste of summer~Roasted Tomato Soup

As summer sadly wanes and fall is creeping up on us, this is prime time to savor the delicious summer bounty. I had a few pounds of gorgeous tomatoes sitting on the counter waiting to be eaten and today, with a little rain outside and a chill in the air, it was the perfect day to make Roasted Tomato Soup.

As a kid, I HATED tomato soup. The stuff in the can doesn’t taste like tomatoes at all and add to it a grilled cheese sandwich with the ubiquitous American cheese and it was one of my worst nightmare dinners! But homemade tomato soup is completely different. Made with fresh tomatoes that are concentrated down to their perfectly delicious essence, a bowl of fresh tomato soup is really just sublime.

This recipe is so fast and easy, it makes a perfect meal on a busy weeknight, and of course you should make extra and freeze it so in the middle of snowy January, you can dig it out of the freezer and remember that summer will, in fact, come again!

For this recipe, you begin by roasting your tomatoes. If you have never roasted a tomato, you are really missing something! It is simple to do and you can use any type of tomato to roast. (You can even do a bunch of cherry tomatoes left on the vine, they make a great presentation as a garnish on a vegetable plate or a grilled salad!) Just crank the oven up to 450º, slice your tomatoes in half (or quarters if they are large) drizzle with olive oil, add some garlic cloves and roast them for 20-30 minutes until they begin to caramelize. You can roast them and freeze them, make a simple sauce out of them for pasta, or make them into soup! Oven roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic
We had a three cheese crouton to accompany the soup tonight and my eleven year old son decided that dunking the bread into his soup tasted just like pizza! Alrighty then, dunk away!

Roasted Tomato Soup
(adapted from Tyler Florence)

2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes — (if possible use a mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
6 cloves garlic — peeled
1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia — sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, the bay leaves, and the butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Wash and dry basil leaves and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender, or transfer in batches to a food processor or blender and puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in bowl with 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes and a splash of heavy cream.

Serves 4-6.

Gourmet Pop Tarts!

OK, maybe not gourmet, but homemade and oh so much better than the ones from the box! These are a little labor intensive, but fun to share and really tasty so I think worth the effort for a special occasion!

Last weekend I enjoyed my yearly “chef retreat” with some of my dearest friends. Each year a new person or two joins the mix to add to the fun and this year I was so excited to meet chef Coco Jacobs from San Francisco. She always cooks the most amazing ethnic foods for her clients so I love her recipes, and she loves to bake!
While at the lake, she made these home made pop tarts to share for breakfast. They were adorable, and DELISH so I made my own for my family this week.
Coco uses an all butter pate sucre recipe, but I used the famous Foolproof Pie Dough, made with vodka that I discovered from America’s Test Kitchens. Love that dough! Make sure all the ingredients are really cold and that the pastry rests in the fridge for at least 30 minutes since it is a soft dough. It will be much easier to roll and pick up!

Coco suggested using a nice fruit conserve or cool jam vs. using fresh fruit like you do for a pie or tart because the fresh fruit is too juicy and needs to cook awhile to thicken which would be messy!

With the bounty of local blueberries, I made my own conserve and cooked 6 cups of blueberries with 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch, about 3/4 cup of sugar, a dusting of cinnamon and a good squeeze of lemon juice over medium heat for about 20 minutes until the berries had melted down and the sauce thickened. (This was enough for a double batch of pop tarts or a single batch and a family who cannot keep spoons out of the bowl, and some sundaes made with said filling over vanilla ice cream…) I let it cool while I made and chilled my pastry dough.

To assemble, divide the pastry into two rounds as you would for a pie, roll one half into a rectangle about 8″ x 16″ on a well floured board. You want the pastry thin because you will have two layers of it and you want to taste the filling!
Cut the rectangle into 4, 4″ strips (4″ x 8″) and transfer to a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. (This was the tricky part as my pastry was soft, and I considered rolling it directly on the parchment or Silpat next time.)
Place 2 Tb. of filling on the lower half, flip the top of the strip over to cover and then using a fork, crimp and seal them all the way around.

Bake at 400º for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is nicely golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

To glaze, mix about 1 c. of confectioners sugar with 1/2 tsp. of almond extract (this flavor MAKES them!) and then a little dribble of milk to make a thick glaze. Coat each tart with glaze when they are cool and I used some colored sprinkles on mine, well, because Coco did! They are really cute!
Pop Tarts!
This is really a “concept” recipe with plenty of room for creativity with fillings. I am hoping Coco may chime in here with suggestions to improve my technique, but I have to say thanks to one very cool lady for sharing such a fun and delicious treat with me! My family thanks you!
Please visit Coco’s website to learn more about her business!

Aztec Chipotle Lamb Chops with Citrus-Cilantro Yogurt Crema

I’ve been out of the kitchen for almost a month due to a broken foot. It’s been a long hot summer, but I’m back in the saddle and ready to cook!
In May, I picked up 1/2 of a lamb from Kyle Farms right here in my home town! We have chops, riblets, ground lamb, leg and shoulder to enjoy over the next few months.
Yesterday was another hot day here in western NY, so while my family spent the afternoon at a baseball game, I spent some time keeping cool at home and developing a recipe for dinner using the chops from Kyle Farms.

Often when I make lamb chops I will do it the French way with a simple but delicious herb and breadcrumb coating (aka persillade). It’s very straightforward and really fabulous! Sometimes I lean toward the Mediterranean flavors and do a garlic and rosemary paste on lamb with a little mint, but this time I wanted to do something a little different.
It’s been so hot recently that I have been thinking of something Latin. Something spicy, smokey and bold.

I love using rubs on beef and lamb to impart flavors and to create a nice crust when it’s broiled or grilled. The all natural lamb is so flavorful I wanted something to compliment the sweetness of the meat so I got out my spices and got to work! Coffee imparts a really smokey, deep flavor and cocoa powder gives a great depth of flavor that reads as very savory, not sweet like chocolate. In Mexican cooking, dark, unsweetened chocolate is sometimes added to a sauce such as mole to add a really deep rich flavor. It is a perfect ingredient in a rub for something like beef or lamb that can stand up to some bold ingredients. To balance all the deep, rich flavors, I chose to use dark brown sugar that has more molasses and is very rich as well. The sugar is an important part of the rub that will caramelize when put on the hot grill.
I needed some heat for this rub and went with ground chipotle as the cayenne would be too “in your face” and the ancho got lost with all the deep flavors of the coffee and cocoa. Chipotle peppers are smoked jalepenos, so that there is a nice smokey undertone and a warm, gentle heat that is one of my favorites! It took a little time to get the ratio just right, but I was very happy with the final product.

Once the rub came together, I decided that a nice fresh, light crema would be perfect to accompany the sweet, smoky spicy lamb. I wanted something a little sweet but not cloying, and fresh with a lot of citrus. I had cilantro in my fridge which was exactly what I needed to round out the flavors.

A word of advice is to make sure you don’t overcook the chops. They cook really quickly and there is nothing worse than lamb cooked past medium rare. (Well, maybe overdone fish… but that is another post! ) Whether you grill, broil or pan sear your lamb chops, watch them carefully and don’t walk away!

I served the lamb chops with potato stuffed mini peppers and broiled asparagus and dinner got four thumbs up around the table

Grilled Kyle Farms Aztec Chipotle Lamb Chops with Citrus-Cilantro Yogurt Crema
Serves: 4

8 Kyle Farms natural lamb chops

3 Tb. finely ground coffee or espresso
1 Tb. unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Ghiradelli brand)
1 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ground chipotle pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. kosher salt

Citrus-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
1 6-8 oz. container of plain, non-fat Greek style yogurt
2 Tb. orange blossom honey
1 lime, zested and juiced
½ lemon, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, grated
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro

Assemble all ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Spoon liberally onto both sides of the chops, and pat gently to make the rub adhere. Place chops on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator for about 20 minutes prior to grilling. Store any unused rub in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 6 months.

Assemble the Citrus-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce and chill in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Preheat grill on high for 7-8 minutes or to 400º, then turn off the burners on one side to create a cooler side to the grill. Sear the chops for about 2 minutes on the hot side of the grill, turn and sear for another 2 minutes, then move the chops to the cooler side of the grill and cook for another 2-4 minutes or until just medium rare. Cover with a tent of foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before eating.

To serve, make a small pool of yogurt sauce on the plate and top with two lamb chops per person, or to serve family style, line the chops up on a platter and drizzle the sauce over the top.

Dinner from Federal Hill with love!

When I take off for a few days to a new place, I am always looking for something fun to bring home. My 11-year old son always asks if I’ve brought something for him, and he’s usually non-plussed with my foodie finds, wishing instead for a toy or a trinket, but I think this time, even he liked my souvenir!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going on a great foodie tour of Providence, RI with a few of my chef friends. We met early on Saturday morning on a gorgeous sunny day to tour the Italian neighborhood of Federal Hill with Chef Cindy Salvato.

Chef Cindy Salvato

Chef Salavato was an instructor at Johnson and Wales for many years and she was a wonderful guide for our tour. She had recently had knee surgery so she soldiered along on crutches, God bless her, and she shared with us the rich Italian culture of this small neighborhood on the hill that is full of gems! We got great information, enjoyed great humor and fabulous food tasting, and had a perfect tour guide! I highly recommend checking out Cindy’s tours if you are ever in Rhode Island.

We began at Antonelli’s which I posted about last week ( the little store on the square where you choose your own live chicken) which is where I got my fresh quail eggs. Then we moved on to Tony’s Colonial which was a fabulous little Italian market. It’s not a huge place, but the shelves are just full of wonderful little Italian gems. Artisanal pasta in all different shapes, rich tuna packed in oil, herbs, spices, incredible olive oils and balsamic vinegar, olives, jams, tomatoes… you name it! There was a deli counter with beautiful homemade “take out” and sausages and cheese. Oh it was wonderful!

Chef Salvato taught us about choosing REAL Italian ingredients that hold a special certification, Denominazione di Origine Protetta, or D.O.P. It’s not authentic unless it says D.O.P. on the label! We had an interesting discussion about San Marzano tomatoes and how even if the can says “San Marzano” they aren’t the real deal unless the D.O.P. symbol is on it.

Look for the D.O.P.!

Some of the SM tomatoes used by the Foodnetwork chefs are NOT the real deal, but are SM TYPE tomatoes that are grown in Florida not Italy. Be careful out there! (By the way, Wegmans has a store brand of San Marzano tomatoes, and they are indeed D.O.P.! That’s why we love Wegmans!)

Cindy also talked about the pasta making machines that make the pasta we consume here in the US and that the mass-produced pasta is fed through Teflon coated die so that the surfaces are smooth, but “artisanal” pasta is made with old fashioned bronze dies which are rough and give the pasta some rough surface area for the sauce to cling to. Sure enough, looking at the pastas at Tony’s they were rough and a bit craggy.

So on to my dinner connection to Federal Hill. After the tour, I went back to Tony’s Colonial to do a little shopping and came home with some great artisinal pastas including a bag of artichoke pasta! They are beautiful little green leaves of pasta flavored with artichoke. MMMMM!

A shrimp scampi-ish dish with an addition of sauteed shallots and a good handful of fresh basil was the perfect foil for my little artichoke leaves. The pasta cooked to perfectly al dente and had the mild earthy flavor of artichokes that really complimented the sweetness of the shrimp and the tart, bright lemon. The underside of each leave was mottled and bumpy which did hold the delicious lemony shrimp infused sauce…OH YUM! It was a 20-minute dinner from start to finish and so very satisfying! Luckily there is some left over for my lunch today!

In the end, it wasn’t a t-shirt or a plastic New England lobster that my son had hoped for, but the whole family enjoyed my little gift from Tony’s which of course is the whole point of bringing home a souvenir, right?

If you can go to a great Italian market, buy some artisanal pasta and check out the difference that the rough surface makes, but if you only have the brand name pasta, either way, you’ll enjoy this recipe!

Shrimp with Garlic, Shallot and Lemon over Artichoke Leaf Pasta
Serves: 6 servings
3/4 pound artichoke leaf pasta, orichietti or other flat shaped pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup fresh Italian basil, chiffenade
zest of one medium lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
¼ c of dry sherry or dry white wine
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Prepare pasta per package instructions. Meanwhile prepare shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes, then add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. (Don’t cook the shrimp until they are done as you will finish cooking them with the pasta!) Remove from the heat, add wine or sherry, return to the heat and cook for one minute to cook off the alcohol. Then remove the pan from the heat and add the parsley, basil lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine. Keep the pan in the wings…it’s not done yet!
When the pasta is just cooked, drain it, reserving some of the pasta water, and add it to the skillet with the shrimp. Toss and continue cooking for one minute until the pasta is coated with the sauce and cooked to al dente. Add a bit of the pasta cooking water if needed to “loosen” the sauce if the pasta seems to absorb it quickly.

Always serve your pasta on a platter or a very shallow bowl so that the sauce doesn’t puddle to the bottom! Enjoy!