ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Part 1 of the Giveaway ends tonight! Spicy Shrimp and Lago di Como

Happy Friday!!

As if being Friday isn't good enough, we also get to visit Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum! What a great way to start the weekend. Thanks to Michael for being such a gracious host

      How are you all? I've gotten a few emails asking if all is well, since our posts are a bit further apart. It's just that crazy time of year- end of school (finals, AP testing for Allie, lots of parties, sporting events, etc...), Spring cleaning, yard work, and all the rest of the good stuff that May brings. This week I had 2 design jobs to complete, 1 to bid on (still waiting on that), a staff dessert party at the middle school (Cassata Cake), a teacher dessert party at the middle school (Banana Praline French Toast- I expect a couple of our middle school teachers to be calling me about personal training after this week!), a Parisian street fair fundraiser at the Arts Center (Allie is working that-she takes Honors French), and the all day OPEC track meet for my 13 year old will be Saturday. Yikes! Just reading it makes me tired! I'm hoping Mother's Day on Sunday will be a relaxing family day.

We're down to the last day of Part 1 of our very first Giveaway! This has been SO much fun and we're going to try to do some more "fun" stuff in the coming days and weeks. So be sure to follow us and join in!

Part 1 ends tonight at midnight eastern time!! We can't wait to see who wins (though we really wish we could send each and every one of you a gift). Make sure you go here to enter. Remember to follow for an extra chance and be sure to follow us on Facebook- we like to post bonus recipes there :)

Would you like one of these?

or this?

I KNOW many of you have said you covet THESE!

YOU get to choose if you win Part 2!!

Part 2 will end next week on May 6th- this is a SEPARATE Gioveaway being sponsored by the fabulous folks at CSN stores. Check it out and enter here

Lago di Como

As I was writing yesterday's Tablescape Thursday post, my mind started wandering again (my husband's eyebrows are raised as though this is something new??). I was remembering some of the most memorable meals of my childhood summers in Italy. My earliest recollection of ever eating shrimp was during a trip to Lago di Como. Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and is known for the spectacular villas built on it's shores, many dating back centuries.

I must have been very young on this particular trip, as I remember sitting on my Nonno's lap as he urged me to take a bite of the shrimp he held. I remember that I was more interested in the crusty bread in front of me (s-i-g-h... some things never change) and how much I was enjoying dunking it in the juices. My Nonno was laughing that a child so young was loving this slightly spicy dish. I seem to recall that the shrimp was not peeled- I probably mortified my mother sucking on the shells to get every drop of that garlicky, spicy, buttery sauce out! Some years ago I happened upon a recipe in our local paper in NY. I was immediately struck by the similarities to the flavors I remembered. Over the years I've made this many times and in many incarnations ( it no longer even vaguely resembles the original newspaper recipe) with the amount of spice varying dependent on who was at the table that night (my mom HATES pepper- go figure for an Italian!) Tonight's recipe is based on my memory of that day, so very long ago. This is a basic version of this dish with minimum spice- heat it up to your family's taste

Pattie's Lake Como Shrimp

First, make the breadcrumbs:

about 1/2 loaf good Italian bread, cut into chunks and whirled in food processor into coarse crumbs- don't pulverize!
Coarsely chop about 1/4-1/2 cup fresh herbs. I mixed parsley, basil, and oregano (fairly heavy on the oregano and basil)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2-3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 TBLSP butter
5-6 anchovies
3 cloves garlic, pressed and minced
salt and pepper

Mix chopped herbs with Prmesan and set aside. Heat anchovies slowly in oil and butter, stirring to dissolve. Add garlic and stir for a minute or two till fragrant- don't burn. Throw in bread crumbs and saute, stirring frequently till bread is lightly golden and fragrant. Pour into a bowl and stir in cheese/ herb mixture. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3 tblsp. olive oil
about 3 cups small white onions (it's what I had in the pantry -cippolline would be perfect), parboiled
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
about 1 1/2-2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp cumn
3/4 cup red wine
1 28 ounce and 1 15 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice- cut the tomatoes in half
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander
red pepper flakes to taste
11-2 tblsp. butter
about 1 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined- OR devein shrimp, but don't remove shell :)
1 large lemon, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in large saute pan. Add onions, add salt and pepper,  and saute for a minute or two over medium high heat. Lower heat and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, giving an occasional stir till onions start to brown nicely. Uncover, add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and chopped herbs, cook till reduced to about 1/4-1/3 cup. Add tomatoeswith their juices and spices. Cook for 5 minutes and swirl in butter. Taste for seasoning- this dish should have a little kick and lots of flavor- add whatever it needs at this point. Pour into wide shallow ovenproof casserole. Lay shrimp on top. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, dot with butter and roast for 10-12 minutes till shrimp is cooked. Serve with lemon slices to squeeze on top and extra grated Parmesan cheese

doesn't look like much, does it?

 but scoop it out and find the good stuff..

Serve over pasta, rice or polenta (yummy), or simply with crusty bread. The herbed crumbs on top will absorb the juices and turn into a flavorful mush to scoop up!

Don't forget to enter the Giveaways! 

As Always,

Buon Alimenti, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. The thought of the shrimp in it's sauce and crusty bread are making my mouth water! Delightful recipe, Allie. Believe, me I can sympathize with May being busy! I've been spending more and more time in the garden and yard myself.

  2. Pattie, You do it to me every single time, I am dying for some of this delish shrimp!! You are an amazing lady, just look at all you do and you cook like this on top of everything else. I really admire someone like you that keeps all the balls in the air and still makes her family top priority. Thanks for the visit on my front porch you are always so faithful, hugs Kathysue

  3. Oh yes, I am definitely your long lost sister-in-food! This recipe is spectacular. I can just taste the juice left in those shrimp shells you were talking about! Yummy.
    I always say May is like December. Both months are crazy busy!
    Hi to Allie from me... Auntie Yvonne!

  4. Mmmmmm...Pattie, I love shrimp and this recipe sounds so good! I just love all your photos and memories of Italy.

    We also have a lot going on in May, but thankfully it is all good, so busy times are happy times!
    ♥ Pat

  5. Seriously, if you ever decide to pack up and move to my little town in Arizona to open a restaurant, I will eat there every night. Once again your food looks and virtually smells amazing!

  6. As always, beautiful photos of both food and sights. Love my visits to Bramasole. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Gorgeous photos and delicious food! Wonderful!

    The platters are from Mikasa. I got them at an outlet store, not long before all the Mikasa outlets closed. You might be able to find them at the Mikasa website. I love using them with a small soup bowl..the lions head bowls, as well as using them for breakfast and pasta and other things. They are just the right size. I hope you are able to find them.

    Happy Mother's Day!

  8. I just had a good dinner but now I'm thinking it was not that great after mouth literally is watering after reading this recipe. It's a must make soon recipe in my book. I'd love to live on the street you show in your last gorgeous is that? I always, always, always love visiting Bramasole!
    I just added you on my sidebar...which I thought I had already!
    Have a happy Mothers Day!


  9. Pattie, I feel the same way about May. It is such a busy month. We have very little down makes me excited for school and sports to be over and have a hopefully relaxing summer! I am glad you could share a delicious recipe with us and some of the most beautiful pictures. I just love that last picture. I could move right in! Keep in touch...let us know if you head this way :)

  10. Hmmm the dish sounds yummy and easy to make. Lake Como is in my bucket list. You found great pictures of it.

  11. Oh gosh, that shrimp dish looks so tasty! I am allergic to shrimp but I am betting Todd would love it. Sounds like you lead such a busy life! Busy is good, or at least I think it is! Have a great weekend! xxoo

  12. Hi Ladies, Pretty pictures and I love the plaid napkins and placemats with your serve ware.Italy looks similar to the islands in Greece.You are so busy, do I give you a lot of I am amazed. Take care and Bless,Emelia

  13. Oh my GOSH I am bookmarking this recipe!!! Oh, looks so good I want to cry (I'm just emotional today - but it DOES look so good!!).

    You always make me wish I could move to Italy, I swear!

  14. Really lovely your memories of Italy, thanks for sharing them with your recipes, you have a great blog and I'm glad to have known you...Have a nice weekend to both, Ciao Anna

  15. Thanks for sharing your childhood memories with us. As I said it will be a hard choice when it comes down to where I will be travelling in Italy. You could tell you wouyld be a kindred spirit at a young age.

  16. The shrimp sounds wonderfully flavorful and I loved your pictures today, Pattie. I'll have to give this a try. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  17. merci de partager ces beaux souvenir d'Italie avec nous
    bon weekend

  18. Pattie,

    I had left a message here before, but I guess it did not work..

    Yep, I used the cornstarch, but you can also use the corn meal - as my mum does! And hse adds fennel seeds to the batter too. It is soooo yummy!

    If you try, let me know which you prefer! :)

    Oh and the hubs and the children will adore this recipe! They all love spicy stuff, but hubs is a spice addict and ADORES shrimp!!

    So this is perfect!

    Happy Mother's Day to you and my love to Allie

  19. Oh Yum! I like recipes that when the dish is served people just look at it and say, "Huh, well, okay" and then once that first spoonful is dipped out, everyone's eyes light up and dig in. It's kind of like a little surprie present.

    You do sound very busy! I hope that this Sunday you will be able to have a little quiet and relaxing time!

  20. Hey, Pattie! Oh, I definitely want to be entered in your giveway!!! What great prizes!!! I would be happy with any of them.

    But girl, you have got to stop doing this to us with that delicious food! I'm starving! May I come to your house and eat now???


    Sheila :-)

  21. Patti, I forgot and signed in from my email account. The above post is from me at the quintessential magpie. LOL! And I'm a follower! I don't twitter or do facebook, but I follow you on blogger!


    Sheila :-)

  22. Fabulous pictures and yummy food. Thanks!


We LOVE comments and it's a great way to lead us to your home! Thanks for visiting!