NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Irma Butler Firefighter/EMT, East Farmington Volunteer Fire Department joins us to prepare a favorite firehouse recipe and talk about her experience as a volunteer as well as the statewide need for more volunteer fire personnel.

Irma will be cooking pesto pasta and roast pork, walking through and demonstrating the process, as well as showing the finished dish. He can also talk about the following:

Connecticut has more than 300 fire departments staffed by over 26,000 firefighters.

Eighty-three percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are professionally trained volunteers, and most fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage. Local fire departments need volunteers of all skill levels and abilities, people willing and able to respond to emergencies whenever called upon, as well as support personnel such as fire police, administrative assistants, and more.

Volunteer firefighters can be called upon 24 hours per day, seven days per week to abandon the warmth and comfort of their homes in the middle of the night or during a holiday celebration, leave the fun of family gatherings on sunny summer afternoons, enter burning buildings, rescue stranded hikers and struggling swimmers, extricate victims from automobiles, and more.

Volunteer firefighters save their communities millions of dollars every year.

The majority of fire departments throughout Connecticut are experiencing a volunteer shortage.

Since 2014, Everyday Hero CT Has been working with fire departments throughout Connecticut. To date, the program has received nearly 600 volunteer applications, brought in more than 400 new members, and held 960 recruitment/retention events.

The skills and experience gained as a volunteer firefighter are invaluable and have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others. Those who join their local fire departments sign up for one of the most rewarding opportunities they’ll ever have.

Interested volunteers should visit or call 1-800-Fire-Line.

Mary Ellen Pesto Pasta and Roast Pork Recipe: 

Yield: 12-15 servings 

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cooking time: 5 hours

marinate time: 24hrs 

This Crispy, juicy Pork shoulder is slow roasted until fall-apart and tender. Seasoned with fresh garlic, Cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt and thyme and paprika 

After is cook your house will smell as incredible as it tastes!


8-10 lbs bone-in pork shoulder (picnic cut or Boston butt)

1 head of garlic, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

3 tablespoons cumin 

2 tablespoons thyme 

3 tablespoons salt


Rinse pork in cold water and pat dry. With a paring knife, stab 1-inch slits all over the pork, top and bottom.

In a food processor (or by hand if you have a pilón!), blend all the garlic, olive oil, black pepper and oregano until smooth. Fill each slit in the pork with about a teaspoon of the garlic paste. Sprinkle all sides of the roast and rub pork with the spices. Place in a roasting pan that has sides at least 2 inches deep, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Leave the roast covered with foil and bake for 4-5 hours, approximately 30-45 minutes per pound. Pork should read 180°F on an internal thermometer and shred easily with a fork.

Uncover roast and bake for 15-20 minutes to crisp up the fat, or broil at 500°F for 10 minutes, watching carefully not to burn.

1 pound or a box of linguine 

2 tsp salt

3/4 cup pasta cooking water

Fresh Parmesan cheese for serving


Bring a large pot of water to the boil with the salt.

Add pasta and cook for the length of time per the packet.

Just before draining, scoop out 1 cup of of the pasta cooking water.

Drain pasta in a colander. 

Transfer pasta to the pot of pesto sauce that is on the stove cooking for at list 3 to 5 minutes at high heat. Toss to coat pasta in pesto, adding more water if required to make pasta silky and saucy, rather than dry and sticky.

Taste, add more salt if desired.

Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parmesan.

How to make the Pesto Sauce

2 cups basil 

Bag of spinach =3cups

8oz of Regular cream cheese 

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil – (a really good quality makes all the difference)

2garlic cloves

Salt to your taste Chunky or smooth?

Pesto can be a bit on the chunky side, or almost like a uniform green paste. It really comes down to personal preferences or what you’re using it for, but smoother pesto yields a better flavor and greener color throughout whatever you toss it through.