Carnevale has come and gone and the Lenten season is in full swing, which for many of people means meatless Fridays until Easter. Italians use this opportunity to create delicious meals using fish, eggs, cheese, beans and vegetables. Classic Italian dishes like ‘uova in purgatorio’ and ‘pasta e piselli’ are staple Lenten dishes sure to bring back nostalgic memories of your childhood when your parents would constantly remind you “no meat on Fridays.” I will help you pass this Lenten tradition on to your children and grandchildren without the hassle of wondering what to make. Each week until Easter, I will include quick and delicious meatless recipes.
Tuscan Shrimp with White Beans
2 cans cannelloni beans
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
16 large shrimp, peeled (tail left on) and deveined
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup peeled, seeded and diced fresh tomato, or you can use canned tomatoes
1 cup whole basil leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Put the 2 cans of beans with all the liquid in a large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and bring the beans to a low simmer. Keep warm while you prepare the shrimp.
Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet over a high flame. Add the shrimp, season with salt and cook for about 1 minute, tossing frequently. Remove the shrimp to a bowl. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until it browns. Add the pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato and basil and stir briefly, then add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 minute and then stir in the shrimp. Toss well and cook briefly to reheat the shrimp. Remove the shrimp mixture to a plate and sprinkle with parsley.
Spoon the white beans on a platter or individual plates. Drizzle them with the olive oil and then top with the shrimp.
Pasta and Peas
1 package of fresh or frozen spring peas
1 lb Ditalini pasta
1 small to medium onion
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Slice the onion. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and cook until translucent, then add the peas.
In a separate pot, cook pasta in salted water. When pasta is cooked, drain and add to the onion, oil and peas mixture. Mix thoroughly and season to taste.
In a large sauté pan over a medium flame, heat the oil and add the onions. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the onions are slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the flame to medium and simmer for about 6 minutes. Add the rice and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring constantly.
Clean the shellfish and season with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for 6 minutes. Stir in the butter, cream, cheese and scallions. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over a medium flame. Add the onions and sauté until tender. Add the tomatoes, parsley, oregano, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Cook the tomatoes mixture for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of the Parmigiano cheese. Break the eggs, one at a time (not breaking the yolk) to the top of sauce. Cover. Simmer until set, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano. Serve hot.