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How to cook like an Italian

A delicious meal from a home cook

My friend’s mom, Liz, is one of the best home cooks I know.  She is Sicilian-American like I am, and she makes everything from scratch-even her own ricotta and pasta.  It’s really impressive to spend a day with her in her kitchen to see what she winds up producing, which is usually unscripted and always delicious.

For Christmas Eve this year, she decided to make a dish I’ll call Linguine with Shrimp and Rabe.  She cooked all three ingredients separately, and in typical style of someone over 40, she overcooked the rabe so when the dish came together, it was nice and mushy and delicious, almost like a soup.  I decided to make it and cook the rabe a little less, but I honestly liked her version better.

Liz’s Linguine with Shrimp and Brocolli Rabe


  • 1 bunch rabe
  • 4 tablespoons EVOO
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 dozen shrimp
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

Wash and chop the rabe into one inch pieces.  Steam them in 2 inches of boiling water in a medium-sized pot until just tender, about 5 minutes.  This helps to remove the bitterness of the rabe. Drain when done and saute in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of the EVOO, the garlic and red pepper flakes.

Clean the shrimp and remove the tails, unless your fish monger has already done so (lucky you).  Heat the rest of the EVOO in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat and add the shrimp.  Cook until the shrimp is cooked through and pink, about 3 minutes a side, turning them over after the first 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the linguine until al dente, about a minute less than the package says.  Once cooked, drain, but save 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

When the above three ingredients are ready, add the linguine and rabe to the shrimp over medium heat, along with the chicken stock.  Stir together and cover for a minute to blend the flavors together and finish cooking the pasta.  If this is too dry, you can add the extra pasta cooking water as well.

Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.  This goes well served with a nice tomato bruschetta first or alongside.

4 Responses to “A delicious meal from a home cook”

  1. [...] Rachael Ray Blogs: A delicious meal from a home cook – view page – cached A delicious meal from a home cook Posted by How to cook like an Italian on February 1, 2011 | No Comments [...]

  2. Lily Hanning says:

    i know how you love hamburgers. Here is what i did for my kids.
    Take hot spicy sausage and remove the outer skin and mix into the hamburg. makes a zesty italian hamburger you can add choped peppers and onions if
    You can use hot sausage, or sweet sausage.,it will
    give a new flavor to old hamburgs.

  3. Kenneth Clarke says:

    Quick and Easy Meat Sauce

    1 bag (28 oz) frozen Italian meatballs
    1 jar (25 oz) spaghetti, or marinara, sauce
    1 pinch (1/8 tsp) red pepper flakes

    Place everything in a pot, covered, and heat for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and mash with a potato masher. Serve over pasta of choice or any number of other ways.

  4. Doreen says:

    Wow, great recipe! I surely will make it, looks lip smacking!

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