Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and SausageBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterOrecchiette shaped pasta (Little Ears) is typical of Apulia in the Southern region of Italy. Many of the traditional recipes include bitter type greens, like this recipe with Broccoli Rabe, but Arugula works well too. The greens are often combined with red pepper flakes, spicy sausage or Anchovy fillets. The thin little shells cradle all the flavors added to any sauce. DeCecco is my favorite brand followed closely by Montebello, and both are generally available in better stores.Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Butternut SquashBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis Risotto is a perfect Fall/Winter dish with it's creamy butternut squash and earthy mushrooms. It can be a first course, or become a satisfying main course with the addition of a simple salad and a glass of wine. Risotto was a major part of our food groups growing up, and I'm still in love with it and its many variations. My father comes from the Northern part of Italy where the carbs came from rice and polenta, and thus became prominent in our household. When I started cooking on my own, I realized that there were endless ways to fix rice using the "risotto" technique. There seems to be something for every season. In the Spring there are asparagus, peas and prosciutto, artichoke hearts in early Summer, seafood and lobster stock, saffron, and the list goes on and on. What is critical is the process, using the correct short grained high starch rice, using an excellent stock, and taking your time. Remember, it's a bit like a soufflé, in that it's meant to be served as soon as it's finished cooking. It waits for no one.Ginger Cilantro Asian NoodlesBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis simple Asian Noodle dish is delightful. The combination of the flavors of the ginger root, cilantro, green onions, paired with the soy, sesame and oyster sauce gives as much to our sense of aroma as to our taste. It's very good hot, but you can also serve at room temperature. It's an easy, quick meal, or side dish and great served at room temperature for a light lunch.Asian Spicy Pasta SaladBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterA tasty Asian salad dressing, with the heat of the chili oil, the sweetness of the hoisin, and the nuttiness of the sesame oil all combine to make this a favorite cold dish. Add the crispy vegetables and crunchy nuts to the pasta and you have a delightful salad that can stand alone as a lunch, or part of a larger meal. For a more complete meal, add stir fried chicken or diced tenderloin of pork. Red Wine Risotto with Sausage, Porcini and GibletsBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterMy grandmother was born in a small town in the Lombardia region of Italy, that bordered the Piemonte region. I don’t know for certain, but through research I believe this is the reason that growing up, the risotto in my house was made using red wine as was common in Piemonte. I actually wasn't aware that there were other ways of making it until I moved to San Francisco in 1964 and tasted Risotto Milanese. It was also a great introduction to saffron. Since then I've made my favorite rice dish many different ways, but this version from my childhood still feeds my soul. I realize that the giblets are something that most people discard, but I urge you to try them. They add a special flavor and texture that blends well with the spiciness of the sausage, the earthy quality of the dried Porcini and the "toothyness" of the rice. Spinach & Ricotta Filled Pasta RollsBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis dish was described by a friend as "The most ethereal taste of paradise I've ever put in my mouth". The filling, which has been in my family for generations, is full of flavor without being heavy, and and can be made with the sausage or without if you choose. The fresh pasta strips are tender and light. It takes a bit of time to bring it all together, but some of the parts can be made a day or two before assembly. You can use dry pasta, but I would recommend that you make your own, as fresh is so much lighter.