Local flavor, a la East Lyme

Pizza Cucina's Sicilian Pasta

At first reading, the line-up for Niantic Main Street's first-ever Restaurant Week conjured heaping plates of deliciousness.

Check out the line-up of participating eateries: Best of Everything Country Gourmet, The Black Sheep, Burke's Tavern, Café Sol, Carlo & Son Quality Meats, Charlie's Place Restaurant, The Common Loon, Covino's Groceria Italiana, East Coast Taco, East Lyme Pizza Restaurant, The Eclectic Chef, Eleni's Restaurant Pizzeria, Family Pizza Restaurant, Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant, Giuliano's Bakery, Illiano's Italian Pizza, La Belle Aurore, Lyme Tavern Cafe, Main Street Grille, Pizza Cucina, Post Road Market, Skippers Seafood, Smarty's Restaurant & Pub, Smokey O'Grady's Barbecue & Pub, The Spice Club, Subway, Village Pizza & Grille, Yankee Clipper Restaurant and Yummy Yummy Pizzeria.

Is anyone out there not hungry yet?

Didn't think so. Restaurant Week takes place from Jan. 21 to 27; as it approaches, we thought we'd share two dishes foodies will find in town next week. Aside from the great eats, other East Lyme, Flanders and Niantic businesses will offer discounts, free gifts with purchase and other retail pleasantries.

For more information, visit www.DiscoverEastLyme.com/restaurantweek.

-Marisa Nadolny

Butternut Squash & Crab Bisque

Courtesy of The Eclectic Chef, Niantic; serves 6 to 8

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup onions, diced

4 tablespoons butter

8 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup maple syrup

Pinch of nutmeg

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup crab meat

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté celery, carrots and onions in butter. Add butternut squash, seven cups of chicken stock, bay leaves, nutmeg, maple syrup and bring to a boil. Simmer 45 to 60 minutes, until squash is tender. Add cream and crab meat and mix with wire whisk. Bring back to a boil. On the side, mix cornstarch and remaining chicken stock and add to boiling bisque. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sicilian Pasta

Courtesy of Pizza Cucina, East Lyme

2 handfuls of fresh spinach

2 artichokes hearts

4-6 Kalamata pitted black olives

1 sundried tomato sliced

2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped

4 tablespoons pure olive oil

1 handful crumbled feta cheese

4 tablespoons of vegetable stock or water

Cooked pasta of your choice

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat sauté pan and add olive oil, garlic and olives. Sauté over medium heat until garlic slightly changes color. Add spinach and sundried tomato. Deglaze pan with vegetable stock or water. Toss mixture with half the amount of feta cheese. Add cooked pasta of your choice. Toss with remaining feta cheese and a little salt and pepper to taste.

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