Tag Archives: garlic

Aglio E Olio With Broccoli Rabe & Roasted Tomatoes

Aglio e Olio with Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Tomatoes
Aglio e Olio with Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Tomatoes


There are literally a thousand ways to make pasta, and I love to create dishes using different pasta shapes.  Sometimes, I plan ahead, but there are other times, I try to use whatever I have in the fridge and in the pantry. It’s a bit challenging but it can be fun.  I also get inspired while I am shopping, and I see the different ingredients. I start  visualizing how I can combine them together in a dish.  Today’s recipe is a perfect example of that. I grabbed the ingredients at the grocery store and put them together very quickly.  I fed my family, and everyone was smiling while savoring the pasta.  Aglio e Olio in Italian means garlic and oil, and traditionally used with spaghetti. I developed this dish, and take full credit for the recipe and the method of cooking.

Serves: 6-8  Level of difficulty: Easy – Medium 

Time: from start to finish 35 minutes (fast-paced) allow yourself 45 minutes in total. You will be juggling but you can do it, I promise you. You will have the oven and two burners going at one point. Just pay attention, and  do not use your cell phone. (LOL) 


  • 1 – 16 oz  pasta Gigi Flowers, (Flora’s Brand) *
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb of pancetta, chopped *
  • 1/3 cup of garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (pepper is optional)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 head of broccoli rabe, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup pasta water (reserve)
  • 1/2 -3/4 Grana Padano cheese for grating *Preparation:

    1) Place tomatoes on a tray, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree F. oven for 30 -35 minutes.  Give them one good stir, at the half-way point.

    2) In the meanwhile, bring the salted pasta water to a boil.

    3) On another burner, in a very large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil, sautee the pancetta for 2 minutes, add the garlic. Once you smell the aroma, set this pan aside. (away from the burner)

    4) The pasta should be in the boiling water by now. 5-7 minutes prior to pasta being done, drop the broccoli rabe in there to avoid using another pot.  Check for doneness, and drain the pasta and broccoli rabe. Be sure to reserve some pasta water.

    5) Place the large skillet with pancetta and garlic back on the burner on very low flame, drop the rest of the olive oil, the pasta, 1/4 cup pasta water, broccoli rabe, roasted tomatoes, grated cheese. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper. Season with more salt if necessary. Mix well, and serve at once.

    Cook’s Tips:

    1) Use any short pasta you have in your pantry
    2) you can substitute pancetta with bacon
    3) Use as much or as little cheese as you want. You can also use a different cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano, (parmesan)
    4) Always cook pasta according to package directions, unless you like it al dente. In that case, deduct 2 minutes from the cooking time.  The best way to know if the pasta is cooked to your liking is simply taste it.

    As you can see from my notes, pasta is very versatile and can be prepared according to your taste. You can use any meats, pasta shapes or veggies of your choice, and stamp your name on it!

    Wine suggestions: Any white wine of your choice. Make sure it’s nicely chilled but not overly so you can taste the aromas of the wine.

Recipe developed by Gina over at Foodiewinelover
Photos: By Gina for Foodiewinelover

Buon Appetito From My Kitchen to Yours!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles



Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Bell Peppers

Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Bell Peppers
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Bell Peppers
Prepping for Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Bell Peppers
Prepping for Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Bell Peppers
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Bell Peppers
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Bell Peppers

We occasionally eat at a classic, go-to Cuban restaurant called Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine . They make a delicious Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Bell Peppers.  I love it so much that I decided to recreate it, and the result is amazing. I am excited to share my version with all of you.

Serves: 4-6 Degree of difficulty: Easy
Prepping time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 13-15 minutes


  • 1/2 cup olive oil + more to drizzle
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, green, red and yellow, cut in julienne
  • 3/4 cup garlic, chopped
  • Sprinkles of smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • pepper flakes, optional
  • 1.1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1.1/2 lb. extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined


1) In an extra-large pan, over medium-high heat, heat up olive oil, saute’ onions and peppers for about 7-9 minutes. Add garlic, paprika,  salt, pepper flakes. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze with wine. Let it reduce, 1 minute.

2)  Add shrimp,  let is simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until  shrimp is no longer translucent. Do not overcook them, as they will get chewy.

Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, using yellow peppers


I usually serve the shrimp over white rice like they do it at the restaurant. You certainly can use brown rice, or another grain of your choice. Drizzle with olive oil.

Wine pairing suggestions: Either use the same wine you used to cook, (make sure it’s drinkable) or a nice chilled white Rioja.

Buen Provecho!  (Bon Appetit!)

Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours,



Gambas al Ajillo, Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp

Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp

Gambas al  Ajillo, Spanish-Style Shrimp are very common in Spain. They are packed with flavors and easy to prepare.  If you love to entertain, your guests will love these delicious tapas. (appetizers)

Serves: 4
Level of difficulty: Super easy

There are many recipe variations on the internet, but this is my method and style of cooking.


  •  1 lb. extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (yield 16-20)
  •  3/4 cup olive oil
  •  1 head of garlic, chopped
  •  2 -3 dried chiles
  •  Flat-leave parsley for garnish, optional
  • Sea salt, optional


1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the chiles, let them release their flavor in the oil for about  for 1-2 minutes. (Keep them in the pan)

2) Add the shrimp in a single layer. Sautee for about 3 minutes, then add garlic.

3) Flip the shrimp, cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp are no longer translucent.

Voila, it’s that simple! I usually garnish with parsley but I was entertaining at the last-minute, and didn’t have the time to do it.

Spanish Style Garlic Shrimp

Wine pairing suggestions:  Albariño, a wonderful spanish white wine. It is also produced in Portugal.

Tip)  If you are cooking for a crowd, I suggest that you make them in batches.

Buen Provecho!
Bon Appetit and Cheers from My Kitchen!


Trinidad Stewed Chicken


The main reason I wanted to start this blog, is to share with you my passion for cooking and savoring  ethnic foods during my travels around the world. I have visited many places, including various islands in the Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands, Mexico, Costa Rica, many countries in Europe, Turkey and the USA where I now live with my beautiful family. I’ve been inspired by a variety of cuisines, and fascinated the way food plays a major role in the different cultures. I haven’t had the chance to visit beautiful Trinidad,  a nation consisting primarily of two Caribbean islands just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. However, I’m very fortunate to have some wonderful friends from that country. It is known for its rich cuisine and famous for its colorful and festive Carnival.  My dear friend Shamin is from there and she loves entertaining. She occasionally serves this delicious Stewed Chicken, which is always a big hit at her gatherings. I’ ve asked her for the recipe for this traditional dish, and she was gracious to provide me with the list of  ingredients and the method of cooking.  I’ve made it on several occasions for my family and everyone loves it. This dish may take a little practice but once you get the hang of it, it can become part of your meal rotations. I took the time to measure all the ingredients and kitchen-test them. I would love to share this very special recipe with you today.

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Serves 4

Degree of difficulty: Easy – Medium
This recipe will take a minimum of an hour not counting the time for marinating.


  • 3 lbs chicken thighs, skinless, bone-in
  • 1 and 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped *
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 + 2 tbsp. olive oil (5 total)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


1) In a large bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. In a food processor, add the cilantro, garlic,  thyme, soy sauce, 3 tbsp olive oil, vinegar ( salt and pepper, optional)  Pulse but do not liquefy, you should see bits and pieces of the ingredients.  Pour over the chicken and add chopped onions. Give it a good stir and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. If you have the time, I recommend marinating it overnight to infuse all the flavors.

2) On medium heat, In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, add the sugar and spread it around. As soon as it starts to bubble, lower the heat and stir in the ketchup, be careful, it will splatter a little.  (This will be a quick process, if you wait too long, the sugar will get dark and the results will be unpleasant.

3) Drain the chicken well and place them in a single layer on the pan, raise the heat to medium high and let them brown for about 3 minutes on one side, until they have a nice golden color. Turn them and brown other side for another 2-3 minutes.

4) Pour the marinade over the chicken, bring to a quick boil, reduce the heat to LOW,  cover and simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can check it halfway through, the sauce should be simmering nicely.  When the time is up, check and make sure chicken is thoroughly COOKED, if not, allow an extra 5- 10 minutes. Serve over white or brown rice.  

My grown son Peter-John is usually my taste tester, and his reaction was, “Oh my goodness! screaming from the top of his lungs,” this sauce is so good!” This happened to be the best one I ever made because I marinated it overnight.

*Traditionally, Culantro is used in this dish, but since Cilantro is more readily available, it makes for a nice substitution. It is fun to have a variety of dishes in your repertoire, and interesting to savor  international cuisines from all parts of the world.  I hope you will get creative and try this exotic and delicious dish.  Wishing you Bon Appetit from Gina’s Kitchen.