Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County chefs share special recipes

In what has become a delicious tradition during Christmas week, we turn the Diversions page over to some of our chef friends in Hernando County, who, in the spirit of holiday giving, graciously share some of their exquisite recipes. Our thanks to chefs Tony Tomassi from Nina's Cucina in Spring Hill, independent chef Kevin Howe of Spring Hill, John Carlone of Farmer John's Key West Cafe in Brooksville and Bill Scarpo of Billy Blue Crabs in Brooksville for sharing their creative sides. You'll find that these recipes are fairly easy to make and use ingredients that can be found in the supermarket. Good luck, and have a great holiday.

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

From Nina's Cucina, 1427 Kass Circle, Spring Hill. (352) 556-5286.

4 cups tomato juice

1/3 cup heavy cream

½ stick of sliced unsalted butter

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup fresh chopped basil

Combine all of the above in one pot or pan and cook under medium heat to a consistent boil, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Once cooked and ready, portion out into bowls or cups and top with grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6.

Shrimp Scarpo

From Bill Scarpo at Billy Blue Crabs, 915 W Jefferson St., Brooksville. (352) 593-4185.

2 sticks of butter

2 small jars chopped garlic

4 tablespoons Italian seasoning

2 cups white cooking wine

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (cooked or uncooked)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Melt butter in a medium saucepan, add garlic and saute over medium heat two to three minutes. Add Italian seasoning and white wine. Place shrimp in a 3-quart glass baking dish and cover with garlic sauce. Top completely with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves four to six.

Key West Shrimp and Mango Pasta

From Farmer John's Key West Cafe, 966 E Jefferson St., Brooksville (352) 754-8787.

24-30 large raw Key West shrimp, peeled

3 ounces extra virgin olive oil

3 ounces butter

4 ounces shallots or sweet onion

1 ounce minced garlic

8 ounces of diced red and green bell peppers

1 medium-sized jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

2 cups fresh sliced Florida mangos

2 ounces coconut rum

5 ounces fresh orange juice (with pulp)

4 ounces cilantro

4 slices of fresh orange

1 pound angel hair pasta

In a 12-inch skillet, saute bell peppers and shallots in olive oil and butter for about 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and shrimp and saute on medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add mango slices and flambe with coconut rum. Add orange juice and cilantro and simmer. Serve over prepared angel hair pasta and garnish with orange slices and remaining cilantro. Serves four.

Chicken Brandy Walnut Gruyere

From the chef Kevin Howe of Spring Hill.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brandy

4 slices of Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1 bunch of scallions

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup chicken broth

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon each, basil, oregano, parsley

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 tablespoons water

Brown one side of the lightly floured chicken breasts. Flip and add compound butter (softened butter, garlic and herbs listed above). As it begins to melt, add the brandy, walnuts and scallions. Place one slice of cheese on top of each breast. Add the chicken broth. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is done. Remove chicken to a platter and finish sauce by combining water and cornstarch and stirring into the sauce until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serves four.


Recipe name



Source: Janet K. Keeler, Times food editor


Recipe name

Intro type goes here. Intro type goes here. Intro type goes here. Intro type goes here. Intro type goes here. Intro type goes here. Intro type goes here. Intro type goes here. Intro type goes here.



Source: Janet K. Keeler, Times food editor

Hernando County chefs share special recipes 12/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 22, 2011 4:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Pete qualifying ends. Seven for mayor. Eight for District 6 on primary ballot


    The smiles of the faces of the workers in the City Clerk’s office said it all. The qualifying period for city elections was almost over.

    City Clerk Chan Srinivasa (2nd left) and Senior Deputy City Clerk  Cathy Davis (1st left) celebrate the end of qualifying period with colleagues on Friday afternoon
  2. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  3. Registered sexual predator charged in assault of woman in Brooksville

    Public Safety

    Times Staff Writer

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County deputies arrested a registered sexual predator Thursday after they say he attempted to assault a woman and fled into a storm drain.

    Lee Roy Rettley has been charged with attempted homicide, attempted sexual battery and home invasion robbery.
  4. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags


    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]
  5. Former CEO of Winn-Dixie parent joining Hong Kong company


    The former CEO of the Jacksonville-based parent of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, Ian McLeod, has landed a new leadership role in Hong Kong. He is joining the pan-Asian based Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. as group chief executive.

    Ian McLeod, who is stepping down as the CEO of the parent company of Winn-Dixie, has been hired by Dairy Farm International Holdings. 
[Photo courtesy of Southeastern Grocers]