For great Italian pasta dishes that warm the heart and soul, check out these recipes from Rania Harris!

Pasta with Shrimp 

  • 1 pound penne pasta – cooked al dente
  • Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing the mushrooms
  • ½ pound Portobello mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (I like my sauce a bit spicy)
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • ½ cup seafood stock
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound IQF shrimp – 15 – 18 count
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup cream – warmed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil


Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Add mushrooms, shallots and garlic, red pepper flakes and sauté until the mushrooms begin to brown slightly. Deglaze the pan with sherry, stir in stock and tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Add the shrimp and season with lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high and cook until the shrimp begin to turn pink and are firm to the touch, a couple of minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp, as they will be tough.

Stir in the warm heavy cream and cook for just a minute or two long.   Toss in the hot pasta and coat well.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Add in chopped basil and serve immediately.

Serves:  4 – 6

Antipasto Salad

For vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For salad: 

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 hearts of romaine (12 oz total), torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 (8 oz) jar roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained, & cut  into 1/4 “ strips
  • 2 (6 oz) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup assorted brine-cured olives
  • 1 cup drained bottled pepperoncini (5 oz)
  • 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved


Make vinaigrette: Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl until combined well.

Make salad: Bring water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then add onion and simmer  until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain and cool.

Spread romaine on a large platter and scatter with parsley, peppers, artichokes, olives, pepperoncini, tomatoes, and onion.  Whisk vinaigrette again and drizzle over salad.

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