About 3 pounds tomatoes, halved if large, left whole if cherry or grape, enough to fill a sheet tray
1 onion, peeled and chopped into big chunks
1 shallot, peeled and chopped into big chunks
1 head garlic, cloves separated but left peeled, lightly smashed
1 large carrot, unpeeled, roughly chopped
About 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
Fresh cracked pepper
4 to 5 ounces (a couple slices) bakery style bread or peasant bread
2 to 3 cups water
1 bunch fresh basil
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Shaved Parmesan and more bread for serving, optional
Olive oil for drizzling, optional
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed sheet tray with all of the vegetables. The vegetables should cover the tray in a single layer. (Note: the total weight of vegetables is about 4 pounds or 1.812 kilograms.) Drizzle olive oil over top. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about three hours, but start checking after 2 hours — sometimes they are done in 2 1/2 hours. The vegetables should be soft and slightly caramelized.
Meanwhile, toast the bread. If you haven’t already, slice the bread into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Place on the counter to dry or toast briefly in the toaster. You can also stick the bread in the oven for about 20 minutes or so while the tomatoes are roasting. You just want to dry out the bread; you’re not trying to brown it.
When the vegetables are done, place them in a pot with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Note: It’s best to bring this soup to a simmer slowly — it spits violently if you heat it too quickly. Also, reheat with the lid on over low heat for the same reason.
Season with a pinch of salt and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Add the bunch of basil. Break one slice of bread into medium-sized cubes and add to the pot. Using an immersion blender or food processor or traditional blender, puree the soup roughly. Add the other slice of bread if necessary. The soup should be slightly chunky. Taste and add more salt or bread if necessary. Thin with more water until soup reaches desired consistency.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano.
2 (3- to 3½-pound) spaghetti squashes
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1½ pounds peeled and deveined large fresh shrimp
2 large shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Prick squashes all over with a fork. Place on prepared baking sheet, and roast until tender, about 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes, then slice in half lengthwise. Use a fork to shred squash and place flesh in a large bowl, discarding seeds and skins.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook, turning occasionally, until pink and firm, about 5 minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 6 minutes. Add wine and broth, increase heat to high, and reduce liquid by two-thirds. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in remaining 6 tablespoons butter, cream, capers, Creole seasoning, and red pepper. Cook until butter has melted and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in squash, shrimp, and parsley. Serve immediately.
5 ounces pimento-stuffed olives (1 cup), sliced, plus 2 tablespoons of liquid from the jar
6 ounces chopped giardiniera (pickled Italian vegetables) (1 cup), plus 1 tablespoon of liquid from the jar
2 tablespoons drained capers, plus 2 teaspoons of liquid from the jar
3 ounces pitted Calamata olives (1/2 cup), sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large loaf seeded Italian bread (about 1 1/4 pounds), split
1/4 pound sliced fresh mozzarella
6 ounces sliced capocollo or prosciutto
1/4 pound sliced Genoa salami
1/4 pound sliced mortadella
1/4 pound sliced mild provolone cheese
Peperocini, for serving
In a medium bowl, stir the pimento-stuffed olives with the giardiniera, capers and their respective liquids. Add the Calamata olives, garlic, shallot, oregano, parsley, thyme and crushed red pepper. Stir in the olive oil and let the mixture stand for 1 hour.
Open the Italian bread on a work surface. Spoon the olive salad on both sides of the bread and spread evenly. Arrange the mozzarella slices on the bottom half of the bread, then top with the capocollo, Genoa salami and mortadella. Arrange the provolone cheese on the top half of the bread, covering the olive salad completely. Carefully close the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic and let stand for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Cut the sandwich into 8 pieces and serve peperoncini on the side.