Garlic Bread

Dressing up a regular loaf of fresh bread makes it that much more irresistible.  I adapted this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa and it’s unbelievably tasty and full of vibrant, fresh flavors.  Just don’t make it for a new beau, cause that garlic sure packs a punch.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tbsp pesto (you could also use plain fresh basil, chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until minced.  Add the parsley, oregano, basil and salt and pepper and pulse until the herbs are finely chopped.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan and add the garlic mixture – saute until the garlic is fragrant – you don’t want to overcook it, you’re just getting rid of the raw garlic flavor.
  • Slice the bread in half horizontally and spread 1 tbsp of butter on each half of bread
  • Spread the garlic mixture evenly on each half of bread (depending on the size of your loaf, you might not need all of the mixture – reserve the extra for another day)
  • Put the halves back together, wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 5 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, open the foil up and open the bread so the inside can get a little toasty – bake for an additional 5 minutes

Fresh Tomato and Pesto Pasta

This pasta dish is simple, yet really delicious.  It’s a great as a side option for Baked Shrimp Scampi or as a quick dinner on its own.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. thin linguini or angel hair
  • 3/4 cup pesto sauce
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 – 1 cup powdered parmesan cheese, and more for topping

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • In a large saute pan, saute the garlic with 1 tbsp olive oil until it’s fragrant
  • Add the pesto sauce to the garlic combine well
  • Pour in the white wine, chicken broth and olive oil and bring to a simmer
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes and stir well over medium-low heat
  • Cook the pasta as directed and then add it into the pesto sauce mixture
  • Keep the heat on medium-low and and cook the pasta in the sauce so it absorbs the flavor
    • If the pasta seems a bit dry, add in more chicken broth or olive oil
  • Once the pasta is well coated in the pesto sauce, turn off the heat and pour in the powdered parmesan (as much or as little as you desire)
  • Top it all off with a little more parmesan and serve immediately!

Pesto Sauce

This sauce is extremely versatile.  You can put it on pasta, pizza, chicken, shrimp… the list goes on!  I use pesto a lot — so, I figured I’d post the recipe I use, which is really simple and quick and easy to make.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (Parmesan works, too)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth
    • Storage: I typically make this in bulk during the summertime and then freeze it in ice cube trays – then I can enjoy fresh pesto sauce anytime

Baked Shrimp Scampi

I watched Ina Garten make this dish on her show a few weeks ago and was dying to try it out.  Let’s just say, it did not disappoint.  This dish kind of blows baked stuffed shrimp out of the water – it’s full of so much flavor and is really easy to put together.  I made some small adjustments and it tasted like perfection.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. large shrimp (U8-12), deveined with the tails still on
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp dry white wine
TOPPING
    • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    • 4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
    • 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
    • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
    • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 extra large yolk
    • 1 cup panko

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Butterfly the shrimp but leave the tails on
  • Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and combine with the olive oil, white wine, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper – let the shrimp sit and marinate at room temperature while you prepare the topping
  • In a small bowl, mash the softened butter together with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and juice, egg yolk, panko and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Arrange the shrimp in one layer, cut side down around the edge of a 14 inch oval gratin dish, you want the tails curling up facing in towards the middle of the dish – pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp
  • Spread the topping evenly over the shrimp
  • Bake at 425°F for 12-15 minutes or until its hot and bubbly and the shrimp is totally pink – you can broil it for a minute or so to brown the top if it’s not crunchy enough