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Eats and Drinks

I Can Make That!

Pane Rotundo

When I was pregnant with twins, brave and stupid was the person who got between me and my Oreos. My instinct was to protect those cookies like our Ravens defense keeps watch over the end zone. I liken this culinary possessiveness to how Ray Lewis must feel defending our turf. “Protect this food!!!” I would throw my body in harm’s way to keep invading fingers off those tasty morsels. The irony is that I’m the queen of sharing! Something has to be so special, so amazing, that I can’t fathom sharing the taste of whatever I’m eating. Few dishes evoke this feeling: my mom’s rosemary-shortbread cookies, my husband’s mashed potatoes, cheese, and foie gras—that’s about it.

After a recent lunch at Little Italy’s fortress of big plates, Amicci’s, I felt my foodie Spidey sense tingling again over the famous pane rotundo, a hollowed-out round loaf filled with shrimp in a garlic-cream sauce. It’s a shining example of how superb the marriage between cream and seafood can be. The bread bowl is the perfect pillowy vehicle for a sauce that hugs every nook and cranny of it, like you would your mommy on your first day of school. At that moment, I began to view my old friend across the table as an opponent, one I would take out with a swift kick to the shin if he scooped up another piece of that silken white sauce with the perfectly buttered hunk of bread! Instead, in the spirit of the holiday season, I squelched my vicious urges and decided to figure out how to remake it at home. It makes sharing so much easier, knowing I can whip up another serving for the hungry masses.

The Almost-Famous Fanya Rotundo


1 stick unsalted butter

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/2 package (4 oz.) full-fat cream cheese, softened and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 cup milk

3 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped

red pepper flakes, to taste

kosher salt, to taste

1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 20-oz. rustic boule (bread bowl) from Nino’s Fresh Pizza Dough Cash and Carry at 1710 N. Ellwood Ave.


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat.

Add garlic, shrimp, red pepper flakes, and salt, and cook until shrimp are pink, about four minutes.

Remove shrimp from the butter sauce and take 1/4 cup of the sauce out.

Cut top off of boule, pour reserved garlic sauce over it, toss in oven.

Add cream cheese to the butter sauce, stirring with whisk until smooth.

Add milk, a little at a time, whisking until smooth.

Stir in Parmesan and black pepper and season with kosher salt.

Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency and add shrimp back in.

Sauce will thicken quickly, pour over top of boule.


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