SQUID SALAD

A Christmas Eve Tradition

Ann Smith

3-4 pounds cleaned squid (at least 2 pounds tentacles)

1 cup white wine

1 stalk celery

1 peeled carrot

1 onion, cut in half

1 bay leaf

Remove clear hard tissue from squid and place cleaned squid and tentacles in cold water with white wine, celery, carrot, onion, and bay leaf. Boil until fork tender (could take 15-25 minutes). Rinse and slice squid; discard vegetables.

Toss with squid your desired amounts of: rinsed pitted black olives, rinsed pitted green olives, rinsed capers, chopped red onion, rinsed pepperoncini, rinsed garbanzo beans (chickpeas), chopped celery, 2 cloves minced garlic, juice of 1-2 lemons, fresh parsley.

Place in refrigerator for at least one day. Toss with extra virgin olive oil about one hour before serving.

 

NONNA'S LEMON

RICOTTA BISCUITS

Ann Smith

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar/more as needed for sprinkling

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 large egg

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, butter, and lemon zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in ricotta, egg, lemon juice and almond extract. Add dry ingredients and stir just until blended (the batter will be thick and fluffy).

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle almonds and then remaining teaspoon of sugar over muffins. Bake until muffins just become pale golden on top, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

PASTA W/ASPARAGUS

LEMON SAUCE

Ann Smith

1 pound fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound penne or pasta of choice

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces, reserving tips. Cook asparagus stems in 5-6 quarts boiling water with 2 tablespoons salt until very tender, 6-8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander, reserving cooking water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain asparagus well and transfer to a food processor or blender.

Cook asparagus tips in same boiling water until just tender, 3-5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to colander, reserving boiling water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain tips well.

Puree asparagus stems with zest, oil and 1/2 cup asparagus cooking water. Transfer sauce to a 4-quart saucepan. Cook pasta in boiling asparagus cooking water until it still offers considerable resistance to the tooth, around three-quarters of recommended cooking time. Reserve 2 cups cooking water and drain pasta.

Add pasta, asparagus tips, and 1/2 cup reserved water to asparagus sauce and cook over high heat, stirring, 3-5 minutes, or until pasta is almost al dente and sauce coats pasta. Add more cooking water, 1/4 cup at a time, until sauce coats pasta but is a little loose (the cheese will thicken it slightly).

Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

 

CHICKEN STEW

W/COUSCOUS, SPINACH

& PARMESAN

Serves 4

Melissa Pearce

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

1/2 cup pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 sprig fresh rosemary

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 bunch spinach, stems discarded and roughly chopped

grated Parmesan for serving

Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and couscous. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and couscous is lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary. Cook stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add broth, chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and couscous is tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken and, using two forks, coarsely shred; return it to pot. Stir in spinach. Serve topped with Parmesan.

 

SPAGHETTI W/ASPARAGUS

BAY SCALLOPS W/BUTTERY

BREAD CRUMBS

Melissa Pearce

3/4 pound spaghetti

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup Panko

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving

1 large bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed/cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 pound bay scallops

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cook spaghetti according to package directions reserving 3/4 cup cooking water, drain. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add Panko and cook, stirring until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Stir in chopped dill and transfer to a plate. Melt 1 tablespoon of remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus and cook just until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add scallops and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook just until beginning to turn opaque, 2-3 minutes. Add spaghetti and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water and toss to coat. (Add more cooking water as needed to loosen sauce.) Add lemon zest and juice and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Serve spaghetti topped with bread crumbs and additional dill.

 

SPICY SHRIMP &

FARRO SOUP

W/WINTER GREENS

Melissa Pearce

1/4 cup olive oil

4 large shallots, coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, coarsely chopped

1 to 2 fresh hot red chilies, sliced, plus more for serving

4 cloves garlic, sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 (15.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup whole farro

3/4 pound peeled and deveined medium or large raw shrimp

5 ounces (8 cups) torn Swiss chard (from about 1 small bunch)

torn basil leaves and crusty bread for serving

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, carrot, chilies, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until vegetables are just tender, 6-8 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices along with broth and bring to a boil. Add farro and cook until tender, 20-25 minutes. Stir in shrimp and chard and cook until shrimp are opaque, 2-4 minutes. Transfer soup to bowls and sprinkle with basil and additional sliced chilies. Serve with bread.