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

Spinach Calzone

Usually, spinach calzones are bland… but these are anything but boring!  The trick is all about seasoning the spinach properly – the rest takes care of itself.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. bakery dough
  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste (you’ve got to taste this because spinach needs a lot of salt to have flavor)
  • 1 tbsp roasted garlic puree (I use the brand Inglehoffer)
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1/4 lb. american cheese
  • 1/4 lb. mild provolone cheese
  • Approximately 1/2 lb. large slice pepperoni
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Defrost the spinach in the microwave (high for 10 minutes)
  • Strain very well – you really need to squeeze the spinach dry – press it against the side of the strainer
  • Saute the spinach in a medium saute pan with the 1/4 cup olive oil and garlic
  • Add the olives, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper and mix well – lastly, fold in the parmesan and turn off the heat
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 15 in. x 10 in. rectangle (about 1/4″ thick)
  • Place a row of provolone slices down the center of the rectangle
  • Top the cheese with a wide layer of pepperoni slices (I use three slices in each row)
  • Spoon the spinach mixture on top of the pepperoni (I use all of the spinach, but you can use less if you want)
  • Top the spinach with another wide layer of pepperoni
  • Place a row of american cheese on top of the pepperoni
  • Pull one side of dough over the cheese and then overlap that by pulling the other side of dough over – fold up the ends and pinch to seal closed
  • Flip the calzone over and place seam side down on a greased baking sheet (I use Pam with Olive Oil) – brush the calzone with olive oil and top off with grated parmesan cheese
  • Bake in the oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown


Robust Red Sauce

This red sauce is rich in flavor and has a little bit of a kick.  It goes well with any Italian dish and I use it with a lot more than just spaghetti and meatballs…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz. can Pastene ‘Kitchen Ready’ tomatoes (if you want a smooth sauce, use 2 cans of this instead of the diced)
  • 1/3 cup red wine (one you would drink)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and then add the garlic – saute until fragrant
  • Add in the cans of tomatoes and the rest of the olive oil and turn the heat up to medium-high, bringing the sauce to a boil
  • Add the red wine  
  • Season the sauce with the oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour (or until it begins to thicken), stirring frequently – I usually also break up the large tomato chunks with the back of the spoon