Looking for a terrific Italian dinner and dessert? Check out these tried and true recipes: a great shrimp entree and ricotta cheesecake.

Jumbo Shrimp Marsala Housewife Style (Gamberoni Casalinga Siciliana)

gamberi shrimp

Source: Chef Mario Batali

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 rib celery with leaves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 medium plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon currants
  • 2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup dry marsala
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
  • 2 pounds jumbo (U-12) shrimp, pealed and de veined
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes, pine nuts, currants, capers, marsala, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

2. Remove the pan from heat and lay the shrimp in one layer in the tomato mixture. Cover, set over low heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and allow to stand for 5 minutes, covered.

3. Serve warm, or allow to cool to room temperature. This is a great dish that you can serve on top of pasta or rice.

Italian Cheesecake

ricotta cheesecake

Source: a dear family friend


  • 2 lbs. ricotta (1 lb for smaller cake)
  • 1 lb. cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 6 eggs (4 for smaller cake)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 lb. melted butter
  • 1 pint sour cream


Cream two cheeses in large bowl. Add sugar slowly until well blended. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each egg is added. While beating slowly, add lemon juice, vanilla, corn starch, and flour. Add butter slowly. Mix until smooth. Very carefully add sour cream, mixing very slowly. Pour into greased 10 inch spring form pan and bake at 325 for one hour. Turn off heat and leave in oven for 2 hours. (Important: do not open oven door for 3 hours). Chill. Serves 10-12.