Pork Chops with Salted Plums

2 bone-in pork chops (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch thick, about 1 1/2 pounds total)
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1 pound medium plums, pitted and sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar or fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Olive oil, for drizzling

Season pork with salt and pepper; set aside.

Combine the plums and onion in a medium bowl along with vinegar and fish sauce, if using. Season with salt and pepper and try a plum; they should be relatively tangy and salty. Add more vinegar or salt, if needed, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook, without moving, until well browned on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip chops and cook until well browned on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer pork chops to a cutting board to rest. Add plum and onion mixture to the skillet and remove from heat. Give everything a toss, just to deglaze the skillet and scrape up any of those browned bits, slightly wilting the onion and letting some of those plum juices run free.

Slice pork chops to your desired thickness and transfer to a large serving platter. Scatter with plum mixture, top with mint and give everything a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Shrimp Creole

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
4 teaspoons Creole Seafood Seasoning or more to taste, divided
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 fresh bay leaves
2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Crystal)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock, 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in scallions, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt; cook, stirring often, until thick but still a little saucy, about 10 minutes. Set aside Creole sauce.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (or to taste), and cook, stirring often, until slightly pink, about 1 minute.

Add Creole sauce to shrimp; cook, stirring, until shrimp are pink, cooked through, and coated in sauce, 3 to 4 minutes.

Sicilian Swordfish

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds swordfish steaks, cut 1/2 inch thick

Light a grill or preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice with the salt until the salt dissolves. Stir in the oregano. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season generously with pepper.

Grill the swordfish steaks over high heat (as close to the heat as possible), turning once, until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter. Prick each fish steak in several places with a fork to allow the sauce to penetrate. Using a spoon, beat the sauce, then drizzle it over the fish. Serve at once.

Grilled Zucchini with Fresh Mozzarella

3 zucchini (about 1 pound), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound salted fresh mozzarella, cut into thick slices

Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill or broil the zucchini, turning once, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes per side. Put the zucchini back in the bowl.

Toss the zucchini with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, the vinegar, garlic, and parsley. Let cool.

Put the mozzarella slices on a serving plate, fanning them out to form a circle. Drizzle them with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and sprinkle them with a pinch of pepper. Fold the zucchini slices in half and tuck them between the pieces of cheese.

Grilled Apricots (or Plums, Peaches, or Pears) with Burrata, Country Ham, and Arugula

1 1/4 pounds apricots, halved and pitted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound burrata cheese, shredded
4 ounces shaved country ham 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the apricots with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, cut sides down, just until lightly charred, 5 minutes. Let cool.

In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the apricots, radicchio and arugula. Transfer to a platter and top with the burrata, ham and vinegar. Serve.

Pizza with Soppressata and Sweet Potato

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1 oregano sprig, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup prepared mashed sweet potatoes
One 12-inch prebaked pizza crust
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (7 ounces)
4 ounces thinly sliced soppressata, cut into thin ribbons

Preheat the oven to 450°. Set a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven (alternatively, the pizza can be baked directly on the oven rack).

In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and oregano sprig, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes; add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet if necessary.

Add the balsamic vinegar and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Discard the oregano sprig and season the onion with salt and pepper.

Spread the sweet potatoes over the pizza crust. Top with the mozzarella, onion and soppressata.

Scatter the oregano leaves on top. Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake for about 10 minutes, until bubbling and golden in spots. Cut into wedges and serve.

Melon-and-Peach Salad with Prosciutto and Mozzarella

One 1 1/2-pound honeydew melon—seeded, peeled and thinly sliced
1 peach, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vin cotto or balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped marjoram
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, chopped
8 thin slices of prosciutto (2 ounces)

In a bowl, toss the melon and peach with the oil and vin cotto; season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs and cheese. Transfer the salad to a platter, top with the prosciutto and serve.

Mozzarella with Summer Squash and Olive Puree

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into wedges
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Flaky sea salt, freshly ground white pepper and piment d’Espelette or hot paprika, for sprinkling

In a mini processor, puree the olives. Strain the puree through a fine sieve; you should have about 1/4 cup. Spread the olive puree on plates and arrange the mozzarella wedges and zucchini and squash slices on top. Drizzle olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle with salt, white pepper and piment d’Espelette.

Persimmon and Burrata Salad with Sesame Brittle

For sesame brittle:
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
Salt

For salad:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons minced shallot
Pepper
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound burrata cheese (2 small balls), drained and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 firm Fuyu persimmons, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over moderate heat, undisturbed, until melted and light golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame seeds and a pinch of salt and immediately scrape onto a parchment paper–lined plate. Let cool completely, then break the candy into small pieces.

In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, maple syrup and shallot; season with salt and pepper. Mound the arugula on a platter and scatter the burrata, persimmons, sesame candy and pomegranate seeds on top. Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Sauce

For the chicken:
5 chicken drumsticks (or 4 chicken thighs––organic, kosher, or free-range chicken preferred; see note below about using breasts)
3 slices ginger
1 scallion

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 scallions (white and green separated, with the green parts chopped)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water (the water you cooked the chicken in)
15 grams ginger (about 1 1/2 tablespoons, minced)

In a medium pot, bring about 4 cups water to a boil along with 3 slices ginger and 1 scallion. Lower the chicken into the pot, and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. The heat level should be just high enough so the water is moving, without any big bubbles or rolling water.
After 10 minutes, turn off the heat, leave the lid on and let the chicken continue cooking in the warm pot for another 15 minutes.

If you use boneless, skinless chicken breast, you can reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes, but still keep the chicken in the pot for 15 minutes after turning off the heat. To test if the chicken is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the chicken to make sure the juices run clear.

Remove the chicken from the pot and place in ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process and firm up the meat. Shred the meat onto a serving plate.
To make the sauce, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium/low heat, and cook the scallion whites until crisp and lightly brown. Remove and place the scallion whites on top of the shredded chicken. Add 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 cup of the water you used to cook the chicken to the remaining oil in the pan. Stir and bring it to boil. Add in the ginger and chopped scallion greens. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce or salt if desired. Bring to a boil again and pour it over the chicken.

Cantonese Steamed Fish with Ginger-Scallion Sauce

2 scallions
2 tablespoons ginger (julienned)
1 small bunch cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or seasoned soy sauce)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 medium tilapia, grey sole, flounder or fluke filet
2 tablespoons oil

Julienne the scallion and ginger and set aside. Give the cilantro a rough chop and set that aside as well. Combine the soy sauce, salt, sugar and water into a small bowl and mix well.

Prepare your setup. If you do not have a steamer, what also works is a wok or large saucepan or pot with a cover and small a round metal elevated rack you can put the plate on.

Fill your wok or saucepan with about an inch of water, cover and bring it to a boil. Carefully place your plate with the fish on the rack. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes. You can check it for doneness by using a butter knife. If it easily cuts through to the bottom of the plate, your fish is done!

Turn off the heat. Carefully remove the plate from the pot and drain any remaining water off. At this point, you can also transfer the fish to a nice serving plate. Spread the cilantro and about one third of the scallion (use the green portions), directly onto the steamed fish.

Heat a small saucepan to medium to high heat and add 2 tbsp of canola oil. Add the ginger and let it brown lightly, about a minute. Then add the rest of the scallions. The mixture should be giving a good sizzle right about now…

Next, add your soy mixture to the saucepan and keep the heat on high to keep everything sizzling. Cook until the scallions are wilted – about 30 seconds. Take it off the heat and spoon the entire mixture over the fish. Serve immediately!

Seared Skirt Steak With Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Polenta

1 1/2 pounds skirt or flank steak
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons), divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup coarse-ground polenta (corn meal)
1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 quart cherry tomatoes
2 small red chilies such as Fresno or Thai bird, thinly sliced
3 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Chopped chives, scallion greens, or parsley, for garnish

Season steak generously with salt and pepper. Rub with 2 minced cloves garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside at room temperature.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat until butter is foaming. Add 2 minced cloves garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisking constantly, slowly add polenta in a thin stream. Reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until polenta is completely tender and creamy, about 40 minutes, adding water as necessary to keep it loose.

When polenta is fully cooked, stir in heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat until lightly smoking. Add steak in a single layer and cook, turning frequently, until well browned on both sides and center of steak registers 110°F for medium-rare or 115°F for medium, 6 to 8 minutes total. 1 minute before steak is done, add tomatoes to pan. Remove steaks and set aside. Add chilies, scallions, and remaining 2 minced cloves garlic to pan. Add 1/4 cup water and scrape up browned bits. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until tomatoes burst and release their juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce off heat, adding water as necessary to reach a creamy sauce-like consistency.

To serve, transfer polenta to a pre-heated plate. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Transfer to polenta, top with blistered tomatoes and pan sauce, sprinkle with herbs, and serve.

Pica Pau (Portuguese Steak with Olives and Pickled Onions)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 12- to 14-ounce beef strip steaks, each about 1 inch thick, trimmed of fat and gristle, patted dry
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
3/4 cup dry white wine
5 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 2 pieces and chilled
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Piri-piri oil, to serve (optional)

In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Season both sides of each steak with the mixture, rubbing it into the meat. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, olives, vinegar and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Let the steaks and onion mixture stand for 30 minutes, stirring the onion mixture once halfway through.

In a nonstick 10-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Add the steaks and cook without disturbing until well browned on the bottoms, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until well browned on the second sides and the centers reach 120°F (for medium-rare), another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

Pour off and discard the fat from the skillet, then wipe out the pan. Set over medium-high and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic and chili. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and bay, then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 2 to 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in the butter until melted.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Cut each steak lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Add the parsley and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Drain off and discard the liquid from the onion mixture and transfer to a platter. Pour the steak mixture over the onions, then drizzle with piri-piri oil, if using.

Note: The dish, eaten with toothpicks, is served as as appetizer or small plate with crusty bread and cold beer as accompaniments. Pickled cauliflower and carrots are often, but not always, included. The bed of vinegar-marinated red onions and olives balance the beef’s richness.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Red Onion

1 small or 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium tomatoes)
1/4 cup packed fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, or a combination, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the onion in small bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, about 10 minutes.

Core the tomatoes and slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Place in a large bowl. Add the herbs, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Drain the onions and add to the bowl. Toss to combine and let stand for at least 10 or up to 30 minutes before serving. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, vinegar, or oil as needed.

Beef Fried Rice

2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 lb (225 g) ground beef
2 tablespoons soy sauce , separated
3 eggs , beaten
4 green onions , chopped
3 cups cooked rice , chilled
1 cup frozen veggies (broccoli, carrot, corn, and/or peas)
1 bell pepper , diced
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (or powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick (or carbon steel paover medium-high heat until hot. Add the ground beef and quickly spread it across the pan with your spatula to form a thin layer. Let the bottom cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle with soy sauce. Flip the beef and chop it into smaller pieces with your spatula. When the beef is almost cooked through, move it to one side of the pan.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil and green onions onto the empty side of the pan. Stir a few times.

Add the rice and pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce over the rice. Stir and cook for 30 seconds until evenly mixed. Stir everything together.

Add the frozen veggies, bell pepper, cumin powder, chili flakes, and sprinkle with the salt. Stir and cook for a minute. Move everything to one side of the pan.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil onto the other side of the pan. Add the beaten eggs onto the oil. Let them cook for a few seconds until the bottom sets. Scramble the eggs using your spatula, cut them into smaller pieces, and mix them with everything else.

Transfer everything to a plate and serve hot as a main or side dish. Enjoy!

Asian Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber, about 8 oz
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Korean chili powder or regular chili powder
1 teaspoon chili oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
sesame seeds for garnishing

Rinse the cucumber thoroughly and slice it into pieces. Add the salt to the cucumber, stir gently to combine well. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Combine the garlic, vinegar, sugar, chili powder, chili oil, and sesame oil together, stir to mix well. Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.

Drain the salt water from the cucumber. Add the dressing to the cucumber, toss well. Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade

3 tablespoons green-olive tapenade from a jar
1/4 cup peperoncini—stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups bocconcini (mozzarella balls) (about 9 ounces)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small head of iceberg lettuce, halved, cored and finely shredded (4 cups)
6 ounces thinly sliced Genoa salami, cut into thin strips (1 1/2 cups)
6 small basil leaves
1/2 cup green olives, such as Picholine

In a medium bowl, mix the green-olive tapenade with the peperoncini and 1/4 cup of the oil. Add the bocconcini and toss.

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the vinegar, garlic and oregano. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and season the dressing with salt and pepper.

n a bowl, combine the shredded lettuce and salami. Add the marinated bocconcini and half of the dressing and toss well. Transfer the antipasto salad to a large platter. Top with the basil and olives. Drizzle the remaining dressing around the salad and serve.

The recipe can be prepared through step 2 and refrigerated overnight.

Summer Tomato Salad with Feta and Pita Crisps

1 1/2 pound heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium)
12 oz. mixed cherry tomatoes
1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided plus more
1 lemon
1/2 garlic clove
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. za’atar
2 cups pita chips
1 1/2 tsp. (or more) honey
3 1/2 oz. Greek feta
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves

Cut tomatoes to taste, then toss with salt.

Zest 1/4 lemon—-you want about 1/2 tsp. zest (it’s easiest to measure if you hold the Microplane upside down so that the zest collects on top and you can scoop it into the measuring spoon). Grate 1/2 garlic clove. Set aside.

Heat 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium until just starting to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. za’atar and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and darker in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved lemon zest and garlic. Wait 10 seconds, then remove from heat. (You’re looking to cook off the raw flavor of the garlic without losing the brightness of the lemon.) Transfer za’atar oil to a heatproof measuring cup.

Place 2 cups pita chips in a medium bowl. Pour 2 Tbsp. za’atar oil over; season with salt. Mix well with a rubber spatula, aiming to coat chips without breaking them into too many pieces.

You should have about 1/4 cup za’atar oil remaining. Squeeze 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon) into a small bowl. Add 1 1/2 tsp. honey and ½ tsp. salt. Add za’atar oil, stirring constantly, until emulsified (meaning that you don’t see any beads of separated oil). Taste dressing and add more lemon, honey, or salt if needed.

Break feta into chunks and toss with tomatoes. Add basil and mint. Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. dressing over and toss to gently combine.

Add pita chips to bowl (don’t leave leftover oil behind—scrape that in too) and fold gently to combine. Spoon salad onto platter, making sure to leave no juices behind. Drizzle with remaining za’atar oil.

Eat fast for crunchy chips or let sit for a crispy-gone-soggy experience.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard

1 pound penne, rigatoni or medium shells
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta and basil and toss to coat. Serve at once.

Penne with Smoked Chicken, Zucchini, and Green Beans

1 pound penne rigate
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound young green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths and blanched until al dente
1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1 1/2 -by-1/3-inch sticks
2 shallots, thinly sliced 1 pound boneless smoked chicken breast—skinned, trimmed of fat and shredded
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the mascarpone and sherry vinegar. Cook over low heat until melted; keep warm.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-reactive skillet. Add the green beans and zucchini and sauté until tender and lightly browned. Stir in the shallots and cook until softened. Add the smoked chicken and crushed red pepper, season with salt and cook just until warmed through.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the vegetables and the mascarpone sauce; add some of the reserved cooking liquid if the pasta seems dry. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.