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A Sunday Lunch With Friends

June 19, 2002|ABBY MANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Seafood Marinara

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 40 minutes

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Sunday lunch is an ideal time for entertaining friends. Consider this Italian-inspired menu.

A lively garden salad of mixed herbs and lettuce leaves starts the meal. Follow it with a festive version of seafood marinara, most appropriate for a luxurious lunch since it has as much seafood as pasta. Make the dish ahead and reheat it at serving time. When first assembling it, you cook the linguine and seafood just part way; reheating will complete the cooking.

For dessert, serve a refreshing strawberry-rhubarb sorbet with an assortment of bakery cookies.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped parsley

4 teaspoons minced garlic

Zest of 2 large lemons

1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

1 to 2 cups bottled clam juice

1 pound small mussels soaked in salted cold water for 1/2 hour, drained, rinsed

3/4 pound bay scallops, rinsed

12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 to 3 cups marinara sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 pound linguine or spaghetti, cooked half-recommended time, drained

1/3 cup thinly sliced basil leaves, divided

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Heat the oil in a large shallow non-aluminum paella pan or skillet. Add the leeks, parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Cook, stirring often, until the leeks are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and 1 cup of clam juice; bring to a boil. Add the mussels; cook, covered, until the shells just open, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a bowl. Set aside.

Add the scallops and shrimp to the pan. Cook halfway, just before they turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in 2 cups of the marinara sauce, the sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, pepper and butter until melted. Stir in the linguine, juices from the mussels and all but 1 tablespoon of basil leaves. Taste; adjust the marinara and seasonings (especially the red pepper flakes). Scatter mussels over the surface. (This can be made 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, covered. To serve, reheat, covered, over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until hot, about 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture is thick, add the remaining clam broth as needed. If still thick, moisten with more broth or water.) Garnish with reserved basil. Serve immediately, family-style, in a casserole or pan.

4 servings. Each serving: 540 calories; 1,362 mg sodium; 198 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 45 grams carbohydrates; 42 grams protein; 4.78 grams fiber. *

Italian Garden Salad

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 10 minutes * Vegetarian

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9 cups chilled mixed greens, such as basil, mint and oregano leaves; baby arugula; stemmed watercress leaves; radicchio; and romaine hearts

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan shavings

Place the greens and the onion in a large bowl. Cover with a dampened paper towel.

Mix the oil, cheese, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in a mini-processor or shake in a jar.

Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the salad. Gently toss until coated, adding more dressing only if needed. Do not soak the greens. Taste; adjust the salt and pepper. Serve immediately, family-style, garnished with the shavings.

4 servings. Each serving: 282 calories; 235 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 28 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.84 grams fiber.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes plus 4 hours chilling

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1 pint strawberries, stemmed, halved

2 cups (1/2-inch dice) rhubarb

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/2 pint raspberries, for serving, optional

Place the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, water, juice and zest in a non-aluminum pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool, then chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Puree the mixture in a blender. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. (This can be packed into plastic containers and frozen up to 1 week for best results.)

To serve, soften the sorbet slightly at room temperature, then scoop into dishes. Garnish with raspberries, if using.

4 to 6 servings. Each of 6 servings: 163 calories; 3 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 0 saturated fat; 41 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 2.01 grams fiber.

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