the Pence family cookbook

Recipes Tagged with “Italian”

Pasta with Creamy Leek and Garlic Pesto

Main Course Bacon Italian Leek Pasta


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • About 1 1/2 pounds leeks (2 or 3 large), trimmed, well rinsed, and chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Black pepper
  • 8 ounces any pasta


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain it on paper towels.

Turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and leeks to the skillet, along with another tablespoon or so of oil if needed to keep things from sticking, and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Transfer the garlic and leeks to a blender or food processor with the egg, parsley and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Return the purée to the skillet, off heat.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it’s tender but not mushy, then drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Turn the heat under the leek mixture to medium, add about 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid to thin the pesto, and toss in the pasta, adding more liquid as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the bacon and more parsley, and serve.

Serves 4

The New York Times

Beef and Sausage Meat Loaf with Mozzarella

Main Course Beef Cheese Italian Sausage


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (15 percent fat)
  • 1 pound coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed, meat crumbled
  • 2 cups chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, divided
  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine


Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine first 11 ingredients in large bowl. Gently mix in 1/2 cup tomato sauce, eggs, and wine. Place meat mixture on large rimmed baking sheet and shape into 16x4-inch loaf. Brush with remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Bake meat loaf until cooked through and thermometer inserted into center registers between 160°F and 170°F, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Armandino Batali, Bon Appetit, September 2004

Whole Wheat Focaccia

Bread Italian


  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet active dried yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs olive oil

Toppings: cumin seeds, thinly sliced onions


Combine warm water and yeast. Stir in olive oil, cumin seeds, chopped garlic, salt and flour and mix to form a dough. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes in a folding motion until the dough is smooth.

Grease a large bowl with olive oil and plop the dough into it. Roll around a few times to coat the dough in the oil. Cover the bowl with a warm cloth. Place the bowl in a warm spot and let the dough rise for about an hour.

After the rise, punch the dough once and place it on a floured surface and knead gently for a few minutes. Roll out the dough to about 1" thickness.

Place dough on a greased baking sheet. Poke holes all over the surface with your finger.

Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil. Top with cumin seeds and sliced onions.

Cover with the towel and let rise again for 20 minutes, in a warm spot.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 30-35 minutes or until you see a light brown crust. Check the bread for firmness with a toothpick. Cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Healthy Happy Life, via Tasty Treats

Stuffed Meatballs

Main Course Cheese Italian Pasta Sausage


  • 2 lb. italian sausage
  • 12 small mozzarella balls
  • 1 large (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 container store bought pesto
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh basil (optional)
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta


Divide sausage into 12 parts, wrap it around the cheese balls. Cover a baking sheet with olive oil. Bake meatballs at 350 for 45 minutes (or so) – keep an eye on them, you’re looking for browned but not overcooked. Heat tomatoes w/ pesto, wine, red pepper flakes, heat through and cook gently for a while. Gently blend the whole thing with an immersion blender to break up the big chunks. Optionally top with a little chopped fresh basil. Serve the whole thing with whole wheat pasta. Oven-roasted broccoli is great on the side, as are fresh greens.


Fettuccine with Sausage, Sage, and Crispy Garlic

Main Course Italian Pasta Sausage


  • 3/4 pound fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup grated Asiago cheese (about 3 ounces)


Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic slices and sauté until light golden, about 45 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to bowl.

Increase heat to medium-high; add sage to same skillet and stir until beginning to crisp, about 10 seconds. Add sausage and sauté until browned and crisp in spots, breaking up with fork, about 8 minutes.

Drain pasta; add pasta and remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Using tongs, toss pasta with sausage mixture. Add crushed red pepper, if desired; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to large bowl. Top with crispy garlic and grated Asiago cheese.

Bon Appetit, March 2008

Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs

Main Course Fennel Italian Pasta


  • 1 3-ounce package pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large red jalapeño chiles, seeded, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, cut into thin wedges with some core attached
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Toscano cheese, divided


Sauté pancetta in large skillet over medium heat until pancetta is golden. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in skillet. Add garlic and chiles; sauté over medium heat 1 minute. Add fennel; cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Mix in broth, 2 tablespoons parsley, lemon juice, and fennel seeds. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until fennel is very tender, 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta until tender; drain. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Uncover skillet with fennel mixture and return to high heat. Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Add fennel to pasta. Stir in 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 cup cheese, and pancetta. Add cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Toss pasta; transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons parsley over. Serve with cheese.

Bon Appetit, January 2010

Pasta With Sausage, Shrimp, And Peperoncini

Main Course Italian Pasta Sausage Shrimp


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini plus 1 cup liquid from jar
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese
  • Sliced fresh basil (for garnish)
  • Additional grated Asiago cheese


Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Add sausage; cook until browned, breaking into pieces, about 4 minutes. Add peperoncini, shallots, and next 6 ingredients; cook until shallots are tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add pepperoncini liquid; stir until most of liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add Marinara, cream, and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are cooked through, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in another large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring often. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Transfer pasta and 3 tablespoons cheese to pot with sauce; stir to incorporate. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with basil and additional cheese.

Storie Street Grille, Blowing Rock, NC

Italian Sausage

Main Course Italian Pork Sausage


  • 5 lbs well-marbled pork butt
  • 1 cup cold wine (red or white)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 5 tbsp fennel seed
  • 2 tsp crushed chili peppers
  • 5 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp anise, optional (ground)


Cut the pork butt into long, relatively thin strips. Mix with all the remaining ingredients and marinate overnight. Process twice through a meat grinder.

Taken from Emeril Lagasse and Lesley’s Recipes

Pork Chops Scarpariello

Main Course Chile Italian Pork


  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops (2 pounds total)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 fresh red or green cherry peppers or 2 fresh red jalapeños (1/4 pounds total), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Roast bell peppers on racks of gas burners over high heat (or on rack of a broiler pan about 2 inches from heat), turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let stand, covered, 20 minutes. Peel, then halve lengthwise, discarding stems and seeds. Cut peppers into 1-inch pieces.

While peppers stand, mince and mash half of garlic to a paste with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Combine with rosemary, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Rub onto chops.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté pork, turning once, until pale golden in spots and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Add roasted peppers to skillet with onion, remaining garlic, cherry peppers, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add wine and broth and boil until liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Add meat juices from plate and remove skillet from heat. Add butter, stirring until incorporated. Stir in lemon juice, parsley, and salt to taste and spoon over chops.

Gourmet, August 2008

Penne with Zucchini and Sweet Onion

Main Course Italian Pasta Zucchini


  • Salt (for the cooking water, plus teaspoon or more to taste)
  • 8 ounces dried penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces (12 thin slices) pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, preferably sweet, such as Vidalia or Mayan, cut into ¼- to ½-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 1 pound zucchini, preferably 4 small ones, cut into ½-inch dice
  • Leaves from 6 stems basil leaves (3 tablespoons), chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

You can use this recipe as a template, replacing the vegetable and the fresh herbs.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the penne and cook according to the package directions. Drain and hold in a colander.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large (at least 12-inch) skillet or shallow braising pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until the pieces start to turn translucent but not brown. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pieces soften.

Add the zucchini and the teaspoon salt (or to taste) and stir to incorporate; cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender. Add 2 tablespoons of the basil and the pepper to taste.

Combine the cooked penne with the vegetable mixture in a large serving bowl, preferably warmed. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of basil. Serve warm, with Parmesan for passing at the table.

Stephanie Witt Sedgwick