Friday, June 23, 2017

6-23-17 Rigatoni with butter-sage sauce

Preparing dinner could not be any easier. Once again we are taking advantage of the porch garden, tonight focusing on the vibrant sage plant at the top of the steps.


1.     Rigatoni – we use about ¼ to 1/3 lb. for 2 (almost any pasta will do)
2.     Butter – about 3-4 tablespoons
3.     Fresh sage – about 15 leaves
4.     Parmigiano cheese – about ¾ cup
5.     Salt & pepper to taste


While the pasta is cooking heat the butter over medium heat until it just begins to brown.  Add the sage and turn the heat to low.  When the leaves have wilted remove from the heat.  When the pasta is ready, add the pasta to the pan with the sauce, along with about ½ cup of the pasta water.  Mix in the cheese and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. 


We enjoyed the unique flavor of the sage.  I will do this again, but with lighter pasta, perhaps penne, or spaghetti.  The rigatoni was too “heavy” for this sauce.  If you have access to fresh sage I urge you to try this.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

6-22-17 Linguine from heaven

I’m not exaggerating.  When you experience this dish you will think you died and went to heaven.  The key to this culinary orgasm is fresh herbs and imported pasta.


1.     Linguine
2.     Olive oil
3.     Garlic
4.     Onion
5.     Fresh basil, spearmint, oregano, parsley, and tarragon – finely chopped
6.     Sundried tomatoes in oil – coarsely chopped
7.     Toasted Panko


Cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft, then add about 1-2 tablespoons of the herbs and the tomatoes.  Cook over low heat while the pasta is cooking.  Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the sauce, mix in the panko, and drizzle with olive oil.  Add some pasta water if needed.


The next time you’re eating at La Casa Renzulli this this is what you should ask for.
Elegant simplicity.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6-20-17 Spaghetti with fresh Cod in a tomato sauce

Until now, most of the seafood we heat has been shrimp, lump crabmeat, and occasional scallops. I would like to add more fish to our menu, so tonight I will see if I can come up with a pasta dish utilizing fresh Cod.  The plan is to cook the Cod in a tomato sauce with butter and fresh tarragon.  Keeping all fingers crossed.


1.     Spaghetti – Rustichella D’Abruzzo
2.     Peeled whole tomatoes – Antica Enotria 
3.     Fresh Cod fillet
4.     Achovy – 1 fillet finely chopped
5.     Olive oil
6.     Shallots
7.     Garlic
8.     Celery
9.     Fresh tarragon


Prepare the soffrito – Cook the shallots, celery, garlic, and anchovy in olive oil.  When the vegetables are soft and the anchovy cooked away, add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands, or in the pan with a large spoon or fork.  Add about 1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped fresh tarragon, cover, and cook at a slow simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the fish and continue cooking until it is cooked through and begins to break apart.

When the pasta is done add it to the sauce, mix well and serve, garnished with fresh tarragon.


This was fantastic, for several reasons.  The pasta is one of the best dried pasta available, and can be purchased online at multiple outlets.

The tomatoes are also imported, and provide a wonderful loose sauce that is perfect for poaching the Cod.

And finally, the fresh tarragon added the finishing touches to a great pasta dish.  Does it sound like I’m pleased with this?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cavatappi with Japanese eggplant from the porch and leftover grilled chicken from the freezer

It was a late dinner tonight and I'm too tired to write up the recipe.  I will add it to the post tomorrow. Although I'm sure you could figure out by the photo.

I will take the time to say that this was really good.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

6-18-17 Farfalle with fresh tomato salad and mozzarella

This is a dish that will appear often over the summer.  We wait all year for the fresh tomatoes.  I grew up with summer tomato salad, although my mother never combined it with pasta. It is a treat by itself, especially if you have good Italian bread to sop up the delicious juice.


1.     Fresh tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2.     Olive oil
3.     Water
4.     Garlic – one clove finely chopped
5.     Fresh basil coarsely chopped
6.     Oregano – I prefer the dry oregano because the fragrance reminds of my mom’s salad.
7.     Mozzarella cheese - diced


Place the tomatoes in a bowl with about ¼ cup of water.  Add the garlic, basil, and olive oil and mix well.  Salt to taste.  When the pasta is ready, drain and mix well with the tomatoes.  Add the cheese to the top of the bowl and serve.

You have to make this a few times to get a feel for the amount of water and oil to use.  No vinegar!!

I recommend making the salad and let it sit for about an hour before dinner.Thinly slice onions are optional.


This is a simmer staple.  Tonight we had a side of beet greens from the porch garden cooked in olive oil and butter with shallots and garlic.  Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture.  They were delicious.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

6-16-17 Capellini with shrimp in butter and wine

I have been thinking about this all day, waiting for the time to make it happen.  My goal was to emphasize the fresh dill and tarragon in a light sauce.


1.     Capellini
2.     Uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined.
3.     Fresh dill and tarragon coarsely chopped
4.     Shallot thinly sliced
5.     Garlic
6.     Olive oil
7.     Butter
8.     White wine
9.     Fresh lemon juice


Cook the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft, and add about a heaping tablespoon of the herbs and cook for several more minutes over medium-low heat.
Add the butter and shrimp and while they’re cooking add the lemon juice and a splash of wine.

When the pasta is done mix it into the sauce, along with more of the chopped herbs and some pasta water if needed. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and serve, garnished with herbs.


I’m becoming a big fan of fresh tarragon and have to be careful I don’t overdo its use. But that was not the case tonight. Patience and I both loved the light, loose, and delightful sauce in this dish.

Monday, June 12, 2017

6-12-17 Farfalle and small white beans

Tonight’s dinner will be a pale cousin to one of my mother’s simple, but always elegant dishes, beans and pasta (a.k.a. pasta fazool, past n beans, or to be linguistically correct – Pasta e Fagioli.


1.     Farfalle
2.     Peeled whole tomatoes
3.     Small white beans
4.     Olive oil
5.     Shallots
6.     Garlic
7.     Carrot thinly sliced
8.     Fresh oregano and basil


Cook the onion and carrots in olive oil until the onion becomes soft, then add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes before adding the tomatoes.  Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon or crush them by hand (a lot messier).  Add the basil and oregano and simmer for about 30 minutes for the tomatoes to break down and thicken the sauce.  When the pasta is cooked mix it into the pan with the sauce and serve, sprinkled with freshly grated parmigiano cheese.


Simple elegance, and quite delicious.
The tomatoes are available online at  The small white beans at Midtown Market..  Krogers does not carry them.