Pete & Kathy’s Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Scampi Pasta

I had some dental work done yesterday and really needed something soft, comforting and delicious to eat today.  I have a few recipes my cousin Kathy sent me from her home in Italy to try out and there was one that I definitely had my eye on.  Yesterday, while my mouth was still numb, I went shopping.   I was worried that today I might not be up to going out, so I picked up some nice, fresh shrimp.  I was planning on making Kathy & Pete’s  Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Scampi Pasta dish.  It had caught my eye when I received her recipes.

This morning, my husband and I decided to take a ride to see my mom and dad at mom’s nursing home.  I was feeling better and we wanted to see them before the coming snowstorm.  I had some meals prepared for my dad and wanted him to have them for the week.  On the way home, we stopped over in Williamsburg to see our daughter.  It was a great day.  It’s always so good to see my family – true medicine for the soul.  There’s nothing like spending time with my family to cure all that ails me.

I thank God everyday for my family.  I was so fortunate to be raised by two people who know the definition of unconditional love.  My parents, George and Else, have been married for over 60 years.  They are totally devoted to their marriage (in sickness and health) and their family. Dad was a policeman and was on the job for over 30 years.  Mom was a homemaker most of her life, but she was a hair dresser prior to marriage. This career fit her well as she was always so stylish and beautiful.  Both of them taught my two brothers and I so much about life.  They worked extremely hard and saved to make sure we were well provided for growing up.  We didn’t have a ton of money back then, yet we never felt poor.  My parents supported us in many ways and always encouraged us to try anything we wanted to do.  They were always there for us and I appreciated that support, especially as a young stay at home mother of three children.

Mom and Dad, 2016

As soon as we got home today from our visit, I pulled out the recipe I wanted to make.  I made a batch of pasta dough and while it rested I did the same.  This recipe is quick and delicious and carries a slight kick.  It was cooked and on the table in 30 minutes, so it will make a nice addition to our work week rotation.  One change I made to the recipe was to put a small amount of fresh baby spinach in at the last minute.  I felt I needed a vegetable and thought this would be the perfect addition.

Pete’s Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Scampi Pasta

  • 8 ounces linguine ( I made homemade pasta noodles)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine OR chicken stock if you don’t want to use alcohol
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon (I did not use)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

*Slap Ya Mama All Natural Cajun Seasoning from Louisiana, Original & Hot Blend, 8 ounce canisters, 2 Pack


  1. Pour a nice cold beer, as it goes great with this meal.  Turn Alexa on for dancing in the kitchen.image
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions and drain well. (Homemade takes 2 minutes)
  3. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter over a medium-high heat.
  4. Add in the shrimp, cajun seasoning, olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.009E5D62-9489-40FD-B01A-067042E93434
  5. Stir periodically, until fully cooked- about 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in wine OR chicken stock and the fresh lemon juice; season with salt and pepper
  7. Lower to a simmer; remove from heat and stir in pasta, lemon zest, HALF a cup of the parmesan cheese and mix until fully incorporated.
  8. Top with the last half cup of parmesan cheese & chopped parsley
  9. Serve immediately


This was just enough for two with no leftover.  Sorry, I took the picture before I decided to add the baby spinach.  Thanks to Pete and Kathy for sharing their favorite recipes.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!  Please drop me a note if you would like to share a story, or recipe from your family.  I’d love to feature it on an upcoming blog post.


Spicy Lentil Soup with Sweet Potato Gnocchi

This weekend my husband and I are both under the weather.  Bob has the flu and I had a root canal, neither pleasant or fun.   We made the decision Friday to stay home this weekend and forego our visit to Queens.  Neither of us want my dad or mom to catch the flu and my mouth is still sore from my date with an endodontist.

I look forward all week to cooking on the weekend and even though eating is hard right now, I need to prep meals for the week.   I cooked a few meals for lunch and dinner for the week and made a nice pot of soup for the two of us for today.   It was a perfect day for cooking, dreary, rainy and quiet.

When I was a kid my mother always made lentil soup.  It was in her weekly rotation of meals.  I was not crazy about lentil soup back then.  In our house you were not allowed to leave the table until your plate was empty.  When my dog Pierre was alive this was no problem, as I merely put it on the floor while mom was busy washing dishes.   Pierre was my childhood dog,  a black French Poodle that was bought by scraping together our money.   My brother George paid the most, as he was the oldest and had a coin collection we could cash in.

The dogs of 72nd Street – Loretta & Rusty, Lianne & Rumple and Me & Pierre

Pierre wasn’t always the nicest dog to others, but he was sweet with me and he always ate what I didn’t like.  He lived for 16 years, happily eating all the foods I hated.  After he passed away it became tougher for this picky eater to finish her food.   I remember many a stand-off at the dinner table over finishing my lentil soup.  Who knew that all these years later it would become one of my favorites.

A few years ago, as an adult, I had a small bowl of lentil soup when out to lunch at Carrabba’s.  This version was so different from the plain lentil soup I grew up on.   It was super spicy and had a great kick to it.   After that lunch, I experimented to get my lentil soup to taste similar.   The recipe I use today is as close as I can get it.  It’s hearty, spicy and just what we needed today.   I paired it with homemade sweet potato gnocchi, adapted from my cousin’s husband Pete’s recipe shared last week.   Usually, I serve this soup with small pasta noodles but wanted something a little heartier today, aka comfort food.   It was quite delicious!

Spicy Lentil Soup


  • 1 medium Yellow onion chopped
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2-3 hot Italian sausage links (removed from casing)
  • 1  ham steak cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small can Muir organic diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 1/2 tbsp basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp. thyme
  • Red pepper flakes


  1. Pour a glass of Chardonnay and turn on Alexa for dancing in the kitchen. F737CB1E-B104-4EAF-993A-DA29A6E86892
  2. Remove hot sausage from casing and break apart in soup pan using wooden spatula.  Cook until brown then remove from pot.
  3. In same pot, sauté onion, carrot and celery over medium heat in olive oil 4 minutes until tender.
  4. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the chopped ham, can of tomatoes, water, chicken broth, vinegar and lentils.5BEB173E-FA8A-49BD-9C40-FA71AC404468
  6. Add salt, pepper, basil and thyme and stir.
  7. Bring to boil.
  8. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender. About 60 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi


  • 4 Sweet potatoes halved
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • salt to taste


  1. Boil sweet potatoes until soft.
  2. Rice into large bowl using potato ricer.
  3. Add eggs, salt and flour48639EC5-7432-43AD-9666-3C8E52BDDA43
  4. Mix with hands until it no longer sticks. Add flour as needed.
  5. Roll pieces into tubular shape the size of your finger and cut into one inch pieces. 7EBAAB62-FC90-420D-BDAC-41DAF51460E0
  6. Boil in salted water until they rise to top of water, under 10 minutes.
  7. Serve on top of bowl of lentil soup.

E2A15A4F-1A37-41CE-9256-EC2A2BCA6351Stir together and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan.  This makes enough to freeze, or eat for lunch during the week.  Either way, it’s delicious.

Do you have a recipe to share?   Would you like to have your family recipe featured?   Contact me to discuss sharing your favorite recipe on a future blog.  It’s a great way to honor your loved ones.

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