By Anthony J. Sepe
Each Sunday, I thank my readership for their loyalty and dedication to my blog, by providing a healthy recipe. For those that know, this is a healthy repeat, but for those that are unaware and are new to the blog, this is my way of “giving back.” It is also a way to “Pay it Forward.” Each Sunday, not only will you have a healthy recipe, but you will have an expert in the field of dietetics, food and nutrition, provide the healthy recipe to you. It is my pleasure to provide for you this week, my friend, Chef Nick Stellino, and his recipe: “Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Shrimp.”
Chef Nick Stellino
Nick Stellino grew up in Palermo, on the island of Sicily and came to the United States in 1975. In 1991, he decided to leave his lucrative career as a Wall Street stockbroker in order to follow his dream of becoming a chef. He started his culinary career as a dishwasher. Over time, he apprenticed with the best chefs in America. "I was in heaven working my way up the restaurant line," says Nick. "But I wanted to share my enthusiasm for Italian cooking with more people. I decided a cooking show was the answer." Employing the energy, dedication and entrepreneurial vision that had taken him from Palermo to Wall Street, Nick began calling television production companies. His efforts culminated in the highly successful series Nick Stellino Cooking with Friends, Cucina Amore I, II and III, Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen I, II, III, IV and V, and the PBS specials, Nick Stellino's Dinner Party and Nick Stellino: Food, Love & Family.
Nick has published many cookbooks and has partnered with major publishing companies including Putnam and Doubleday. In 2006, Nick celebrated the launch of his seventh cookbook, titled Dine In!, which is the companion to his public television series, Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen. His other titles, which can be purchased from major retailers such as the Barnes & Noble online store and Amazon.com, include:
- Nick Stellino Cooking with Friends
- Cucina Amore
- Nick Stellino's Glorious Italian Cooking
- Nick Stellino's Mediterranean Flavors
- Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen
- Nick Stellino's Passione; Pasta, Pizza, and Panini
- Mangiamo! Let's Eat!
- Nick Stellino's Dine In!
Nick makes numerous appearances at popular food festivals around the United States, including Boston Cooks, Philadelphia's The Book and The Cook, Seattle's Festa Italiana and the Aspen Food & Wine Festival. He was Grand Marshal of San Francisco's 1999 Columbus Day Parade, the first time in 130 years that a chef had been accorded that honor. In May 2000 and 2001, Nick appeared as a presenter at the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards held in New York. He is also one of the few chefs who have been selected to cook at the Grand Gala Dinner for the James Beard Awards for three years in a row.
Nick has been a featured guest on numerous national shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, CBS This Morning and Good Morning America. He has been featured in national publications including Robb Report, TV Guide, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Bon Appétit, InSync, Home, WatchTime and Primo and the international online lifestyle magazine, GourmetGirlMagazine.com.
Nick spends his time traveling in the United States and abroad, sharing his passion for food and life. "I believe that the family table is our last tribal meeting ground, where we all sit together and share our stories surrounded by great food, great wine, our family and friends. A family that eats together stays together!" Nick has been married for 25 years to his lovely wife, Nanci.
© Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Shrimp Recipe
Developed and reprinted with permission from Nick Stellino “Cooking with Friends”
Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Shrimp
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 6 tablespoons Pompeian® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or heirloom tomatoes, cut in quarters
- ¼ teaspoon C&H® or Domino® sugar (optional)
- 4 tablespoons chopped basil, divided
- 1 pound DaVinci® pasta—penne rigate or spaghetti
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
- Mix the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika together.
- Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of the shrimp and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan, cook the oil over high heat until it starts to sizzle, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift the shrimp out of the pan and place on a tray lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic to the pan, stirring well. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the tomatoes; add the optional sugar if they are not sweet enough. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
- Add half of the basil and increase the heat to high. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, continuing to stir well, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to simmer, cooking for 10 more minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the shrimp to the sauce. Stir well, cover again, and continue to cook on simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and cook it over medium heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining basil, toss well, and serve. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If you want a different look, cut the shrimp in ¼-inch dice before you add it to the tomato sauce.
- If the sauce is reducing too much and becoming dry, add ¼ cup of the pasta water.
- While many other Italians do not like Parmesan cheese on their seafood pasta, I love it, so I add plenty of grated Parmesan to this pasta.
Remember to stop by and see Nick at http://www.nickstellino.com