Island Cooking: It’s Time for a Little Italian

Ever since I joined Facebook, it’s been really amazing the people who have contacted me or I have reconnected with in a relatively short period of time.

Every time I hear from someone who was and still is a great friend or co-worker, roommate or whatnot, the past really comes back to me and it’s fun to sit around and think about the great times and memories we had together.


I find interesting that most of my memories usually include food or drink. Which reminds me of when I was living in southern Italy: I used to eat at my landlords’ home a lot and there is nothing like a Sunday dinner that I swear starts at noon (not counting the hour before that of greeting everyone) and ending around 4 p.m. with lots of fun Italian friends, homemade wine and many courses of great food.

So in their honor, this week we have a couple of easy Italian recipes.

But first … this week I wanted to do a homemade Limoncello drink recipe I had, but when I was refreshing my memory looking at the recipe I changed my mind when I realized how long it took to blend and mix the right way. That recipe went into the trash. I say just grab a bottle of your favorite wine, I did!


Easy Antipasti-on-a-Stick

  • Italian Dressing
  • Tortellini (tri-colored if possible)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Salami
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Green olives
  • Artichoke hearts

Cook tortellini per instructions on the package, drain & cool.

Dice cheese, salami and all veggies into bite-sized pieces. Place all ingredients on skewers in random order or more uniformly – I’m way too lazy for uniform myself

Lightly drizzle with Italian dressing and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.


Penne Arrabbiata (Simple and one of my favorites)

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes with their juice, chopped; or 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 dried hot red chilies, broken into pieces; or 1 tsp. hot red pepper flakes to taste. (I use the red pepper flakes a lot because I always have them on hand.)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pound penne or other short, thick, round pasta
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley for garnish (Don’t make a special trip to the store – who needs garnish at home?)
  • 6 quarts water

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic, stirring constantly, until it is just beginning to turn golden (about 6 minutes.)

Add the tomatoes and chilies, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until the tomatoes are soft and the sauce is dense but not pureed (about 20 minutes with canned tomatoes). Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. While sauce is cooking fill your pasta pan with the water and cook the penne. When done, drain and add pasta to finished sauce. Mix well together serve in pasta bowls with fresh parmesan. You can’t beat this meal with your favorite bread.

E-mail me your favorite recipes at [email protected].


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