Twiins Family Favorite Sunday Pasta & Meat Sauce Dinner

As children, we knew it was Sunday just by waking to the aromas permeating throughout the house! The onions & garlic sauteing, the browning of the sausages, pork pieces, braciole, and meatballs. On the counter were the cans of tomatoes waiting to be added to bring together our family’s Sunday meat sauce…brings back the best childhood memories of our family’s ritual of making the Sunday sauce or gravy as our Neopolitan Mom and Grandma Florence called it.

It was a time for the whole family to sit down together, enjoy delicious food while catching up with everyone’s life, and we always laughed a lot. With some of us moving to different parts of the country we miss that weekly gathering. To this day, we still make our sauce the very same way. Like any family favorites, we think ours is the Best! So when family members come to visit we recreate those special Sunday dinners and we all just love being together again.

Twiins Family Favorite Sunday Meat Sauce & Pasta Dinner

Homemade Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausages, Pork Country Ribs & Meatballs with Pasta
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Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 4 hours
Servings: 8
Calories:

Equipment

  • 8-qt stockpot, or larger
  • 12" frying pan for meatballs, or larger
  • large bowl to mix meatball mixture
  • small bowl to soak bread for meatballs
  • Large platter to serve meat
  • Large Pasta Bowl

Ingredients 

  • 3 (28 oz cans) San Marzano Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 (24.5 oz jar) Mutti Tomato Puree
  • 2 (6 oz cans) Hunt's Tomato Paste with basil, garlic & oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • 12 large Garlic cloves, minced the more the better
  • 1 lb. Italian Hot Sausage links about 5 links
  • 1 lb. Italian Sweet Sausage links about 5 links
  • 4 Country Ribs
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 4-5 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 36 Meatballs see The Best Napoletana Meatballs recipe
  • 1 loaf Italian Bread warmed
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese optional
  • Whole Milk Ricotta optional
  • Fresh Basil Leaves chopped or ribbons for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Add a drizzle of EVOO to 8 qt stock pot and brown all sausages & ribs (it may take 2 batches to complete).
  • Once browned, remove meat and place in a deep bowl. Set aside.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons EVOO to the already hot remaining oil & fond in the stockpot (fond is all the wonderful browned pieces of meat that stick to the bottom of the pot). Once the EVOO is hot enough, add diced onion & saute on medium-low heat until they start to carmelize.
  • Add the minced garlic, fresh basil leaves, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, and stir. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the 2 cans of Hunt's tomato paste. Mix well and cook for about 1 minute. Add the San Marzano Whole Tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a fork. The tomatoes will cook down after 4 hours. Add the bottle of Mutti tomato puree then combine well.
  • Add the sausages and country ribs to the sauce and stir well. Continue cooking sauce on a low simmer for 3-4 hours until ribs and sausages are very tender or start to fall apart.
  • Prepare the meatball mixture (The Best Napoletana Meatballs recipe). Shape mixture into 1 ½-inch round meatballs (or whatever size you prefer). In a large frying pan pour in enough canola oil to a depth of 1/2-inch. Heat the oil until hot. Add the meatballs and brown on both sides on medium heat. Remove and place in a bowl until 20 minutes before the sauce is done. Don't worry if there are too many meatballs for one dinner. They can be cooked and frozen for another meal or make some delicious meatball parm heroes the next day.
  • 20 minutes before the sauce is done, add the meatballs and stir gently. Continue on a low simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Once you add the meatballs to the sauce, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a good amount of salt to the boiling water, then add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
  • In the meantime, remove all the meat from the saucepot once the meatballs have simmered for 20 minutes in the sauce. Place in a large bowl or platter. After cooking the sauce for 4 hours (or more) the whole tomatoes break down however you can use an immersion blender to smooth it out if you don't like tiny pieces of tomato in your sauce.
  • Drain the pasta and pour a ladle or two of the sauce on top. Place pasta in a large, deep bowl. Portion out the pasta on individual plates with a meatball, sausage, or piece of rib meat (or all three!)
  • In our family, we top each plate with a dollop of whole milk ricotta, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and some chopped fresh basil leaves.  Serve with warmed crusty sesame seed Italian bread & butter.

Notes

Tried this recipe? We would love to see!Mention @twiins_in_the_kitchen or tag #twiinsinthekitchen
@cookingwithtwiinsinthekitchenMention @cookingwithtwiinsinthekitchen

Gluten-Free Tuscan Bean Soup – Twiins Style 🌻 🌻

Gluten-Free Tuscan Bean Soup - Twiins Style

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

With the first spoonful of our savory Tuscan Bean Soup you will be swept away to Tuscany admiring the sunflowers. This is the same recipe as our regular Tuscan Bean Soup using gluten-free pasta & broth in place of regular. It’s chock full of vegetables, delicious flavor & of course love! Serve as a main meal for either lunch or dinner and don't forget the toasted crusty bread to soak up every last drop. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoes, crush with clean hands
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 3 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans with liquid (divided into 3/4 and 1/4)
  • 1 rounded tsp Hunt’s tomato paste with garlic & basil
  • 1 leek, chopped (both white & green parts)
  • 2 yellow onions, diced ( I was out of yellow onions so I substituted with red)
  • 2 cups large celery stalks, large dice (about 3-4 ribs)
  • 2 cups large carrots, large dice (about 5-6 peeled carrots)
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped (Add more or less to suit your taste.)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, torn by hand (escarole or kale may be substituted)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)
  • 4 cups beef broth (gluten-free)
  • 1 small piece of rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 ounces gluten-free Ditalini pasta (any small GF pasta may be substituted.)
  • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano-Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

    Directions

    1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the EVOO.  When EVOO is hot enough add the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes.
    2. Add garlic, spinach, cheese rind, and 3/4 of the canned beans. Cook for another 3 minutes on medium-low flame until fragrant. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining 1/4 beans then add to the pot and stir.
    3. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
    4. Add the hand crushed tomatoes, both broths & stir well. Add 3 oz of GF ditalini to the soup. (If you’re making more than 3 oz of GF pasta, we recommend you cook it separately & add right before serving.)
    5. Bring to a slow boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer about 40-45 minutes or until vegetable are done.
    6. While the soup is simmering, prepare the GF ditalini pasta following package directions.
    7. Ladle soup into bowls & add the pasta. Sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano). Enjoy!

    Note: Please make sure all your canned ingredients are gluten-free.

    You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta before freezing.

    , …

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    Tuscan Bean Soup – Twiins Style 🌻 🌻

    Tuscan Bean Soup - Twiins Style

    • Servings: 6-8
    • Difficulty: Easy

    With the first spoonful of our savory Tuscan Bean Soup you will be swept away to Tuscany admiring the sunflowers. It’s chock full of vegetables, delicious flavor & of course love! Serve as a main meal for either lunch or dinner and don't forget the toasted crusty bread to soak up every last drop. Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    • 1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoes San Marzano tomatoes, crush with clean hands
    • 1/4 cup EVOO
    • 3 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans with liquid (divided into 3/4 and 1/4)
    • 1 rounded tsp Hunt’s tomato paste with garlic & basil
    • 1 leek, chopped (both white & green parts)
    • 2 yellow onions, diced ( I was out of yellow onions so I substituted with red)
    • 2 cups large celery stalks, large dice (about 3-4 ribs)
    • 2 cups large carrots, large dice (about 5-6 peeled carrots)
    • 8-10 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped (Add more or less to suit your taste.)
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried rosemary
    • 2 large bay leaves
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tsp Kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • pinch red pepper flakes
    • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, torn by hand (escarole or kale may be substituted)
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 4 cups beef broth
    • 1 small piece of rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 3 ounces Ditalini pasta (any small pasta may be substituted.)
    • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano-Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

      Directions

      1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the EVOO.  When EVOO is hot enough add the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes.
      2. Add garlic, spinach, cheese rind, and 3/4 of the canned beans. Cook for another 3 minutes on medium-low flame until fragrant. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining 1/4 beans then add to the pot and stir.
      3. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
      4. Add the hand-crushed tomatoes, both broths & stir well. Add 3 oz of ditalini to the soup. (If you’re making more than 3 oz of pasta, we recommend you cook it separately & add it right before serving.)
      5. Bring to a slow boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are done.
      6. While the soup is simmering, prepare the ditalini pasta following package directions.
      7. Ladle soup into bowls & add the pasta. Sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano). Enjoy!

      Note: You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta before freezing.

      To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth & GF pasta.

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      Grandma’s Chicken Soup 😋😋

      Grandma's Chicken Soup

      • Servings: 4
      • Difficulty: Easy

      One of our very fondest childhood memories was of our Mom & Grandma Florence bringing us a bowl of their homemade chicken soup. It was the most comforting, get-well soup that we looked forward to whenever we caught a cold or were feeling a little under the weather. Today, there is still a nostalgic sense of well being whenever we make this soup. With every spoonful, we still feel the love and caring that went into every batch of this delicious soup from Mom and Grandma. You don't need to feel under the weather to enjoy this hearty flavorful soup. It's perfect on cold winter days to take away the chill.

      Ingredients

      • 4 chicken thighs with bone & skin
      • 2 Tablespoons butter
      • 1  large yellow onion, diced
      • 3 large celery stalks, large dice
      • 4 large carrots, large dice
      •  3  large garlic cloves, minced (approximately 2 Tablespoons. Add more or less to suit your taste.
      • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
      • 1 tsp dried thyme
      • 1 large bay leaf
      • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh & chopped)
      • salt & pepper to taste
      • 8 ounces Ditalini (small round hollow tubes)  or Orzo (cook separately) or rice
      • 4 cups chicken broth
      • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

        Directions

        1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the butter. When melted & hot add the bay leaf & chicken thighs, skin-side down first until browned. Flip and brown the other side.  When fully cooked, remove to plate & set aside, discard bay leaf.
        2. In the same pot, add the EVOO, onion, celery, & carrots making sure to scrape all browned bits (fond) from the cooked chicken. Saute for about 5-7 minutes until softened.
        3. Add garlic, thyme & parsley & cook for another minute.
        4. Add the broth & combine.
        5. Remove the chicken skin then shred the chicken. Add to broth and low simmer for 20 minutes.
        6. While simmering, prepare the pasta of your choice while the broth is simmering.
        7. Ladle the chicken soup into bowls, add some cooked pasta or rice and garnish with Locatelli cheese and some fresh parsley if desired. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!

         

        Note: You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta or rice before freezing.

        To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth & GF pasta.

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        Shrimp Scampi Light – Twiins Style 🍤🍤

        Servings: 4-6                  Prep: 10-15 minutes                 Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

        Adapting our family favorite recipes into healthier versions has been a goal of ours this year. We never thought our beloved shrimp scampi could ever be healthy and still taste great. It was a challenge however, we succeeded to reduce the fat by 75% and keep all the flavor!  This lighter version tastes just as good as the original with a few minor tweaks. Our family enjoyed it and didn’t miss the fat. If you’re looking for a healthier, quick weeknight dinner, give this a try.😋 😋

        Ingredients

        • 2 lbs large raw shrimp (*to make your own homemade shrimp broth buy fresh large shrimp with the heads still attached – see recipe link below)
        • 4  Tablespoons salted butter
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
        • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped (divided)
        • 3/4 cup homemade shrimp broth (clam juice or chicken broth can be substituted)
        • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
        • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
        • lemon slices for garnish (may be omitted)
        • 1 lb Barilla Linguine
        • reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water after cooking to add to the garlic lemon juice before serving.

        Instructions

        1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
        2. Bring pasta water to a boil then add salt to the boiling water. Cover and lower flame to keep hot while prepping shrimp.
        3. Remove shells from shrimp, leaving the shell on the tail section only if preferred.
        4. Devein & wash under cold running water, then drain well on paper towels.
        5. Melt butter in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan in the oven.
        6. Once melted, add the salt, garlic, 1/2 the shrimp broth, and 1/2 the chopped parsley; mix well.
        7. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in the baking pan.
        8. Bake uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. (keep your eye on them)
        9. Turn the shrimp over, sprinkle with lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining shrimp broth, and remaining parsley.
        10. Bake 2-3 minutes, or just until tender & opaque. Do Not overcook shrimp or they will be tough.  (If using smaller shrimp, cut down on the cooking time)
        11. Remove the shrimp, toss some linguine in the pan with the garlic lemon juice. Place a portion of pasta on a plate. Pour a little additional sauce on pasta and top with shrimp.
        12. Sprinkle your desired amount of Pecorino Romano cheese and garnish with lemon slices if desired.

        Shrimp Broth

        Ingredients

        • 2 ¼  lbs fresh large shrimp with heads attached.
        • Add 2 carrots, cut in half
        • Add 2 stalks of celery, cut in half
        • Add 1 large onion, quartered (red or yellow)
        • 3 large bay leaves
        • 12 peppercorns
        • Enough water to just cover all ingredients

         

        Directions

        1. Remove the heads by twisting downward and off. Place in an 8-quart stockpot.
        2. Remove all the legs and shells from the shrimp and place them in the stockpot.
        3. Set shrimp aside for scampi
        4. Add the vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaves, and enough water just to cover the shells and vegetables.
        5. Bring to a slow simmer and simmer for about 2 hours. The liquid should reduce by 1/3 and turn a beautiful shrimp color.
        6. Never let the heat get to a boil. Keep on a slow simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.
        7. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.
        8. Strain all ingredients and discard everything but the broth.
        9. Using cheesecloth, strain again to remove all sediment.
        10. You are now ready to use for scampi or freeze for later use. It’s worth making…

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        Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

         

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        Gluten-Free Apple Crisp 🍎

        Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

        • Servings: 6
        • Difficulty: Easy

        We're keeping things simple for Thanksgiving this year so we will forgo the traditional apple pie & pumpkin cheesecake for our (OH so simple & delicious) gluten-free apple crisp. Not having to make pie crust saves a lot of time in the kitchen with better than pie results! We use Gala apples for this recipe as they are juicy, sweet, and hold their shape well. It’s a big hit with our family by itself or topped with a little vanilla ice cream or a Klondike Heath Bar divided (pictured below).

        Ingredients

          • cast-iron skillet (10-inch preferred but  12-inch will do)
          • 5-7 large Gala apples (approximately 1200 g), peeled, cored & cut into wedges
          • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
          • 1/3 cup white sugar
          • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
          • 1½ tsp cinnamon
          • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
          • 3 Tablespoons salted butter
          • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
          • 1/4 water
          • Crispy Topping
          • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (we use Bob’s Redmill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour)
          • 2½ Tablespoons brown sugar
          • 2½ Tablespoons white sugar
          • 3/4 tsp baking powder
          • 1/2 tsp table salt
          • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
          • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) salted melted butter
          • 3/4 oats (regular old fashioned or Quaker 1 minute)
          • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

        Directions

        1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
        2. In a large bowl place the apples, lemon juice, white sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Toss until all apples are well coated and combined. Set aside.
        3. Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a heated cast-iron skillet.
        4. Add the 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Stir to combine well.
        5. Add the apple mixture to the skillet, mix well. On medium-low heat keep a simmer while preparing the topping.
        6. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, 2½ Tablespoons of brown sugar, 2½ Tablespoons of white sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
        7. Once combined, add the 8 Tablespoons of melted butter. Stir well to combine.
        8. Add the oats and chopped pecans.
        9. Stir the apples in the skillet, liquid should start to thicken. Add 1/4 cup of water over the apples and combine. It will create a syrupy mixture when done.
        10. Remove skillet from the heat and sprinkle the crispy topping mixture evenly over the top.
        11. Place the entire cast-iron skillet in a pre-heated 375º F over and bake for 35 minutes until the crispy top is golden brown edges are bubbling.
        12. Best served while hot but delicious cold or at room temperature too. Top with vanilla ice cream for an added treat!

        Note: To cut your total prep time in half, peel, core & slice your apples ahead of time.  Sprinkle some lemon juice on them to prevent apples from turning brown then cover & refrigerate until you start the mixing portion of ingredients.

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        Italian Wedding Soup 🇮🇹 😋

        Italian Wedding Soup

        • Servings: 6
        • Difficulty: Easy

        There was a time when our favorite go-to soup came in a can, Progresso Italian Wedding Soup. Something about the little meatballs and tiny pasta is so comforting on cold, dreary days. In our quest for healthier eating, we offer you this recipe which is so easy & quick to make using all fresh ingredients. You'll never buy canned anymore! It can be made on the stove, crockpot, or even an Instapot and can be frozen so you might want to double the batch! Meatballs can be made ahead of time using leftover meatball mixture and made into small 1/2 to 3/4 inch rounds. Store-bought meatballs can also be used, just cut to mini size. The featured picture in this post was using leftover frozen, cooked meatballs that were cut into quarters. Last week we were making meatballs so we kept some of the mixture and made mini's that we froze in the picture below. With just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, you can whip up this delicious, hearty soup for any weeknight meal served with crusty bread.

        Ingredients

        • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
        • 1  large onion, diced
        • 2 large celery stalks, diced
        • 2 large carrots, diced
        •  4 garlic cloves, minced (approximately 2 Tablespoons. Add more or less to suit your taste.
        • 1 tsp dried oregano
        • 1 tsp dried basil
        • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh & chopped)
        • salt & pepper to taste
        • 8 ounces Ditalini (small round hollow tubes) or Acini de Pepe Pasta (tiny round pasta) or Orzo (cook separately)
        • 8-10 ounces fresh baby spinach, torn into pieces (escarole or endive can be substituted)
        • 8 cups chicken broth (We used a combination of chicken, beef, and vegetable broth but anyone broth is fine.)
        • 1/2 to 3/4-inch pre-made meatballs (use leftover meatball mixture or meatloaf mixture to make ahead or you can substitute with store-bought meatballs i.e. Costco)
        • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli) or Parmigiano Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

          Directions

          1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the EVOO.
          2. Once the pot is hot enough, add the onion, celery, & carrots & saute for about 5-7 minutes to soften.
          3. Add garlic, oregano, and basil. Saute another minute longer.
          4. Add torn spinach. Season with salt & pepper.
          5. Add the broth/broths.
          6. Bring to a boil.
          7. Add the cooked or raw meatballs.
          8. Lower heat and simmer an additional 8-10 minutes, until meatballs are heated thoroughly if pre-cooked or a little longer if cooking raw in the soup.
          9. Ladle hot soup into your favorite bowl, add the pasta and top with grated cheese.

           

          Note: To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth, GF pasta, and & GF bread or breadcrumbs in your meatball mixture.

          Meatballs can be fried in oil or baked in the oven, whichever you prefer.

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          Italian Rainbow Cookies – Twiins Style

          Italian Rainbow Cookies - Twiins Style

          • Servings: 8 doz
          • Difficulty: Medium

          It's our favorite time of year again as we start our holiday baking together. It doesn't matter if the holiday is Thanksgiving or Christmas, we have been baking together for over 40 years, a holiday tradition we love. Christmas music is playing in the background while we reminisce about our childhood & Christmas's of long ago. One of our family's favorite holiday cookie is the Italian Rainbow cookie that you see in every Italian bakery all year round. We also make this recipe Gluten-Free by substituting Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour for the all-purpose flour! They are the first to disappear from the holiday cookie tray...you, your family & friends will love them. ❤️❤️

          Ingredients

          • 1 jar apricot preserves (12-16 ounces)
          • 1  12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
          • 1  12-ounce can of Solo almond paste
          • 1 tsp almond extract
          • 2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (for a gluten-free substitute use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
          • 1 cup sugar
          • Food Coloring, red & green (if you want a more yellow layer, add yellow coloring to the 3rd bowl)
          • 3 sticks unsalted butter
          • 1/4 tsp salt
          • 4 large eggs, separate yolks and whites
          • chocolate sprinkles (optional)
          • 3  9×12 baking pans

          Directions

          1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
          2. Grease all three baking pans heavily with butter then line each pan with parchment paper or wax paper, leaving enough overhang to lift and slide out of the pan after baking.  Grease heavily again.
          3. In a large mixing bowl, break up the almond paste, butter, sugar, almond extract, sugar, and egg yolks. Beat until light & fluffy, about 10 minutes on a medium speed stand mixer.
          4. Beat in flour & salt.
          5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. With a wooden spoon, fold in egg whites to the almond mixture until you no longer see the whites.
          6. Divide the mixture equally into 3 bowls. (To be accurate, weigh each mixture on a digital scale)
          7. Add food coloring to each bowl, leaving the 3rd bowl plain, or add yellow coloring if you prefer a more yellow layer. Mix color in well.
          8. Spoon each color into separate prepared baking sheets. Spread evenly then bake at 350º pre-heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not let the edges brown.
          9. Layers are done when you can gently touch the center and it bounces back. Remove from oven and place on cake racks for 5 minutes to cool.
          10. Holding the overhang ends of the parchment paper, carefully lift and slide the layer, supporting underneath, onto a flat surface (countertop).
          11. Cool completely.
          12. Use a large cookie sheet and invert the first layer (red) onto the cookie sheet. Carefully remove parchment paper.
          13. Heat the preserves until it bubbles. Using a fork mix well to loosen some of the chunks. Remove from heat and using a spatula, spread enough preserve to evenly cover the entire layer. Don’t worry if it drips down the sides.
          14. Repeat for the middle layer (plain or yellow).
          15. After inverting the last layer (green, do not spread with preserves). Cover with parchment paper and place a baking sheet on top. Weigh it down with some heavy books or cans for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator or overnight.
          16. Remove from the refrigerator when ready to add the chocolate layer.
          17. Trim all edges to be uniformed with a very sharp knife. (Don’t throw out the trimming…they are great to taste).
          18. Melt chocolate in the microwave* a little at a time until melted through.
          19. Spread melted chocolate over the top layer and down the sides. Add optional chocolate sprinkles while chocolate is still warm.  Refrigerate uncovered for at least one hour then cut into 6 or 7 even rows & bite-size pieces of your choice when ready to serve.
          20. Line an airtight container with parchment or wax paper and store layers in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Should last about 10 days if kept in the refrigerator.

          Note:  It has been our experience that Nestlé’s chocolate chips will seize if melted using the double boiler method.  Nestlé’s appears to have changed their formula as we used to use the double boiler method up until last year. We recommend using the microwave for best results.

          Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

           

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          Healthier Italian Cannoli Cream – Twiins Style

          Healthier Italian Cannoli Cream - Twiins Style

          • Servings: 8 Small Cannoli
          • Difficulty: Easy

          Today marks a very special milestone birthday for us. To add to our celebration we're making a healthier version of our favorite birthday dessert...Cannoli. We weren't sure how the texture would be effected using part-skim ricotta instead of whole milk ricotta, but as it turned out we were very happy with the results, The texture isn't quite the same but hardly noticeable. Since we didn't want to give up our favorite dessert using part-skim ricotta was a huge success for us. If eating healthier means you think you have to give up your favorites, we proved you don't have to. ❤️❤️

          Ingredients

          • 12.5 ounces part-skim milk ricotta (drained for 2 days in the refrigerator to remove all excess liquid)
          • 4 ounces granulated sugar
          • 0.083 ounces vanilla extract
          • 1 tiny drop of cinnamon oil
          • 1 drop Fiori di Sicilia
          • 1/2 Tablespoon candied citron, diced (optional)
          • 1/2 Tablespoon candied orange peel, diced (optional)
          • 1-2 Tablespoons semi-sweet Mini chocolate chips (may substitute with bittersweet chips, depending on your preference.)
          • chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips, your preference, for garnish
          • powdered sugar

          Directions

          1. In a medium bowl place the drained ricotta cheese into the bowl, mix to combine with a spatula until smooth. (You can use a stand mixer if you prefer but this is a small batch so it’s not needed)
          2. Add granulated sugar and fold in until dissolved completely. The texture should be smooth, not grainy.
          3. Fold in the vanilla & cinnamon oil.
          4. Blend until incorporated.
          5. Gently fold in the citron, and/or candied orange, and mini chocolate chips.
          6. Place in a pastry bag and refrigerate until ready to pipe into cannoli & serve.
          7. Before piping, cut the tip of the pastry bag large enough to allow the chips to pass through.
          8. Garnish the ends to your liking and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar.
          9. Enjoy!

           

          Notes: If making cannoli you can save time by purchasing the pre-made shells from Amazon or Costco.

          Do not fill cannoli until ready to serve or your shells will be soggy.

          Cannoli Cream Filling can also be used for cakes, cupcakes, and as a pastry filling.

           

           

          Fold in and blend all ingredients. Refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 2-3 hours before serving.

           

           

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          Homemade Wild Finocchietto Liqueur (Fennel)

          We remember our Grandmother Florence always having homemade liqueurs on hand for an after-dinner drink with coffee & dessert, especially around the holidays. Our favorite was Finocchietto (fennel) which she touted as a good digestif drink. We were only allowed a sip for taste…but liked it even then.

          On our trip to Italy back in 2018, we had dinner at a farm in Naples. After dinner, we had a choice of Limoncello or Finocchietto. Of course, we chose the Finocchietto and it sure did bring back good memories of Grandma.

          After having great success with making our own Limoncello, I decided to send away for the Italian Wild Fennel seeds and make my own.  Teresa and I along with my good friend, Jane Hall, planted the fennel seeds. We watched the seedlings grow big & strong then planted them outside in a side garden my husband Gary prepared for us. They were doing beautifully and even survived Hurricane Florence but low and behold they didn’t seem to survive the deer!!!!!!!  We were pleasantly surprised the following season and proceeded to make our own liqueur. You wouldn’t believe how many umbrella flowers we had with just 2 plants that survived. This year it’s even more! Fennel has a wonderful anise-like/licorice taste and you can use the green fronds to garnish a salad or even infuse with some olive oil. I don’t remove the fennel bulb because it will cause the demise of the plant, although I may this year!

          Note:  Harvesting starts towards the end of June through August here in North Carolina. Fennel plants create umbrella-like flower buds similar to Queen Anne’s Lace. I pick the yellow flower umbrellas once the yellow flowers begin to open.

          Ingredients for about 2 liters

          • 2-3 large handfuls of wild fennel flower umbrellas. ( I fill a 32-oz mason jar 1/2 to 3/4 high with the flowers)
          • 1 liter of Everclear (151 proof – grain alcohol) Please do not use rubbing alcohol!
          • 800 grams of sugar (about 3 1/3 to 3 1/2 cups)
          • 2-liter jar that closes hermetically (We used hermetically sealed lemonade bottles from Aldi)
          • Funnel- wide mouth
          • cheesecloth

          Instructions

          1. Immediately after picking the flowers, wash and let dry thoroughly on a clean dish towel.
          2. Place all the flowers in the jar and pour the grain alcohol into the jar, making sure all flowers are covered. Close the jar and place it in a dark place for at least 30 days. ( I use my closet)
          3. Keep the bottle out of direct sunlight. All the color will leach out into the alcohol turning the alcohol a green color. No problem if you leave it longer than 30 days.
          4. After the 30 days or longer are up, prepare the sugar syrup.
          5. Make a simple syrup by boiling 1 liter of water with 800 grams of sugar for 15 minutes. Let it cool before the next step. (about an hour)
          6. While the syrup is cooling down, filter the alcohol. Using a wide-mouth funnel, place into another mason jar and place the cheesecloth in the funnel.
          7. Pour the alcohol through the funnel making sure none of the fennel plants get through.
          8. Mix the cooled sugar syrup into the filtered alcohol. Pour into a clean 2-liter hermetically sealing jar (the one you used before is fine, just make sure it’s clean & dry first.
          9. Let it sit another 4-5 days in a cool, dark place.
          10. Now we filter again and bottle.
          11. Put a regular funnel in the bottle with another piece of cheesecloth and pour the mixture into the bottle or use a small ladle so it doesn’t spill everywhere.
          12. There might be some organic matter caught in the cheesecloth. Wash the cloth for re-use.
          13. In a cool dark place, store the bottled fennel for at least another 3 months. The longer it sits the clearer it gets.

           

          Note: Wild Fennel Liqueur makes a great Wild Fenneltini!

          Recipe adapted from cucicucicoo.com

           

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