A retired building permits worker who has multiple sclerosis, she says she's "always in the kitchen." She and her husband, Barney, have two adult children and live in Hauppauge.
How does MS affect your life?
I walk with the aid of a walker, which I use as a food cart when I'm cooking because it has a bench on it.
Have you used cooking to help with your MS?
I've developed a healthier lifestyle. For example, instead of sour cream I'll use Greek yogurt. I try to use healthier oils. I pay attention to my portion size and limit red meat to once a week.
What inspires you to cook?
My husband's aunt, who didn't have much money, was always able to open the refrigerator and make a meal from whatever was in there. I was so impressed by that. She would say, "If you have good taste buds, you can put things together and make things that taste good."
Who would you like to have lunch with?
I'd love to fix a meal for ["The Chew" talk show chefs] Michael Symon and Mario Batali. My husband and I make a Manhattan clam chowder where I use 100 clams. That is something I'd want to make for them, along with a crusty Italian bread and a nice salad.
What do you have in your freezer and pantry for unexpected guests?
My freezer is stocked with every kind of meat and fish. The refrigerator always is stocked with heavy cream, baking ingredients, butter, fresh herbs and fresh garlic -- all ingredients you need for making wonderful dishes. I also always have homemade sauce and soup in the freezer. If 25 people came to my house and I had to feed them, I'd have enough.
SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI RABE WITH ORECCHIETTE PASTA
11/2 pounds of Italian sausage
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, about 4 cups chopped
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup white wine
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups of chicken stock
1 pound dry orecchiette pasta
1 stick, 8 tablespoons, butter
1 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
1. Remove casing from the sausage and heat a deep skillet coated with olive oil. Break up and completely brown the sausage (make sure it's dark). Remove from heat and drain, leaving a small amount of fat in the bottom of the skillet. Remove and reserve sausage.
2. Cut off and discard the ends of the broccoli rabe (about 1/2 inch). Wash the broccoli rabe and chop carefully, leaving the florets intact. Reserve for later.
3. Turn the skillet on high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, brown the garlic until golden, then remove from pan.
4. With heat on, add cup of white wine. Let it reduce to half. Add crushed red pepper, browned garlic, 2 cups of chicken stock. Let it come to a bubble and then add the broccoli rabe and browned sausage. Simmer 15-20 minutes.
5. Cook the orecchiette pasta following package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of salted pasta water.
6. Turn the heat up to high on the skillet and add the drained pasta and mix well. Add a stick of butter and a cup of grated cheese. If it is a little dry, add some of the pasta water. Makes 8 servings