Broccoli Gratin

Broccoli Gratin

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy

When it comes to side vegetables, broccoli is probably our go too choice. It's delicious with oil and garlic, lemon juice or just butter. It can get boring so why not kick it up a notch or two? Since we love broccoli and cheese, making a broccoli gratin was the perfect way to combine both and get rid of the boring. This is a creamy, delicious side dish that's very satisfying. It's always a big hit with our family and friends and we think you'll love it too. Enjoy!❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. fresh broccoli, cut into small florets (about 4 heads or 8 cups)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to grease baking dish
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese, divided
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup flavored bread crumbs (for a gluten-free version, substitute bread crumbs with gluten-free bread crumbs)

Directions

  1. Place rack in the middle of your oven. Pre-heat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Butter an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish
  3. On medium heat, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan.
  4. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  5. Add the milk, salt, and nutmeg then bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  6. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the white sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes, maybe less.
  7. Season with pepper and remove from heat.
  8. Bring about 1-inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Set up with a collapsible steamer on top. Place the broccoli in the steamer and season with salt. Cover and steam until crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes, less if florets are very small.
  9. Place the broccoli in the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with half the shredded cheese.
  10. Pour the white sauce over broccoli & cheese then top with remaining shredded cheese.
  11. In a small skillet melt the remaining Tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the gratin then bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
  12. Serve immediately.

Notes: You may use all cheddar cheese if you prefer or mix cheddar with swiss. Experiment with your favorite soft cheeses.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchens.

 

 

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Pasta Fasùl (Pasta Fagioli)

Pasta Fasùl (Pasta Fagioli)

  • Servings: 6-8 as a main dish
  • Difficulty: Very Easy

Growing up in our Italian American household we could always count on one of our favorite meatless meals on a Friday night...Pasta Fasùl. Depending upon the region of Italy your family is from, you may know it as pasta fagioli or pasta fasùl (fazool). Our grandparents were from Naples and Sicily, which shared the same word for beans, fasùl. Technically this dish is a soup; however, we loved it best when most of the liquid dried up & was topped with lots of grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Our Mom always made this with small or medium-sized pasta shells; however, you can use any small pasta in your pantry as we did tonight. This is a very rustic meal but can be dressed up with the addition of any vegetable you have on hand, i.e. spinach, carrots, zucchini or escarole. To complete this meal, serve with a side salad. Give it a try on those nights you're pressed for time and let us know how you and your family like it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. medium or small pasta shells or elbow pasta (we used ditalini as that’s what we had on hand)
  • 10 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 cans cannellini beans, do not rinse or drain the liquid
  • 1 cup prepared tomato sauce (preferably homemade or your favorite jar sauce)
  • 1 small can tomato paste plus same can filled with water to dilute
  • salt to taste
  • reserve at least 1 cup cooked pasta water
  • Pecorino Romano grated cheese for topping

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a Tablespoon of salt then add pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta water then drain pasta & set aside in a large bowl.
  2. In a large, deep skillet on medium heat add EVOO. Add smashed garlic & sauté a minute or two but don’t burn.
  3. Add the 4 cans of cannellini beans and stir well until they begin to boil. Lower heat to medium-low and add 1 cup prepared sauce & small can of tomato paste with a small can of water. Add a little of the reserved pasta water if too thick. Combine well and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. If you prefer a soupier pasta fasùl just add more of the reserved pasta water until it’s the consistency you like.
  5. Let sit for 5-10 minutes in a covered pot before serving.
  6. Top with grated cheese & garnish with fresh basil or parsley (optional)

NOTE: To make this meal gluten-free, just substitute any small-sized gluten-free pasta in place of regular pasta.

This dish thickens as it sits so if you want a thinner sauce, add more liquid in step 3-4 while cooking.

 

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Cannoli Shells – Gluten-Free Twiins Style

Cannoli Shells - Gluten-Free Twiins Style

  • Servings: 40 small cannoli shells
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

It has taken 3 years of experimenting with countless cannoli shell recipes to get the cannoli shells to have the perfect texture, like the New York & Boston bakeries...not too crisp or too hard. We were persistent in trying to make a shell worthy of our cannoli cream. We were disappointed to learn that most of the Italian restaurants along with a lot of bakeries who serve/sell cannoli buy premade shells. It was a daunting journey and we were about to give up and buy the premade but we gave it one more try. Once we got the regular shell recipe to our liking we had to come up with a gluten-free recipe for Jack. We are thrilled to share our gluten-free recipe with you. They are delicious and so worth the effort!

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ c Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Flour 
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine (do not use cooking Marsala)
  • Vegetable oil for frying  to a depth of 3-inches
  • candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer
  • 3-4 qt. saucepan
  •  small/mini cannoli forms
  •  prepared Italian Cannoli Cream, Twiins Style

Directions

  1. Sift the gluten-free flour, sugar, cinnamon, cacao powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center and add the cold butter. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse cornmeal.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, wine & vanilla paste. Add to the flour, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough begins to cling together. It should be lumpy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and satiny and tiny blisters appear on the surface. The blisters mean that the wine is beginning its fermentation in the dough, which will produce a crisp, light shell. Under kneading will result in large, irregular air pockets in the dough that will puff up and explode when they hit the oil.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  6. In a deep heavy-bottomed 3-4 qt saucepan, add enough oil to come to a depth of 3 inches; heat to 375ºF on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. You will need to adjust the heat from time to time to maintain 375º.
  7. After an hour, remove dough from the refrigerator.  Then divide the dough into 4 quarters.
  8. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 1/16 inch thick and cut it into 3-inch circles with a cookie cutter.
  9. Use a small pastry brush to lightly wipe some vegetable oil around each cannoli tube to prevent dough from sticking to the tube.
  10. Wrap each cutout of dough around the aluminum cannoli tube and seal the edges with a little water. The edges should overlap. Press down to seal well.
  11. Once the oil reaches 372º-375º, use a chopstick to slide through the cannoli tube and gently place it in the hot oil. Fry 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan, just be careful as they cook quickly. If the shells are browning too quickly lower temperature to 370º. Temperatures may vary depending on a gas stove or electric so keep an eye on the candy thermometer as it changes quickly.  Use the chopstick to roll the tubes around until golden brown. They will dry a darker color once cooled. Using the chopsticks again, insert into tube and quickly remove to paper towel draped cooking rack to drain excess oil. Don’t worry if the tubes slide off the dough while frying. Just carefully remove the tube with your chopstick.
  12. Use oven mitts or triple folded paper towels to grab the hot tube and gently shake to slide the shell off. Completely cool and store in an airtight container or plastic baggies with a paper towel inside to absorb any excess oil. They will keep several weeks.
  13. To Fill: Do not fill cannoli until ready to serve or your shells will be soggy. Use a large pastry bag with or without a fancy tip. Fill the bag with cannoli cream and squeeze into the shells, filling half of each shell at a time; working from the center out to the ends.
  14. Decorate the ends with chopped pistachios, mini chocolate chips, candied orange peel or candied cherries. Shell ends can also be dipped in chocolate before filling.

Notes: Cannolo (plural: cannoli) The word cannoli means ‘pipes’ – pipes of crispy pastry filled with ricotta cream (the most common), pastry cream, chocolate cream, or pistachio cream.

Recipe adapted from Victoria Granof, Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries.

 

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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Cannoli Shells – Twiins Style

Cannoli Shells - Twiins Style

  • Servings: 40 small cannoli shells
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

It has taken 3 years of experimenting with countless cannoli shell recipes to get the cannoli shells to have the perfect texture, like the New York & Boston bakeries...not too crisp or too hard. We were persistent in trying to make a shell worthy of our Italian Cannoli Cream, Twiins Style. We were disappointed to learn that most of the Italian restaurants along with a lot of bakeries who serve/sell cannoli buy premade shells. It was a daunting journey and we were about to give up and buy the premade but we gave it one more try. We are thrilled to share our recipe with you. They are delicious and so worth the effort! ❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine (do not use cooking Marsala)
  • Vegetable oil for frying  to a depth of 3-inches
  • candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer
  • 3-4 qt. saucepan
  •  small/mini cannoli forms
  •  prepared Italian Cannoli Cream, Twiins Style

Directions

  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cacao powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center and add the cold butter. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse cornmeal.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, wine & vanilla paste. Add to the flour, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough begins to cling together. It should be lumpy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and satiny and tiny blisters appear on the surface. The blisters mean that the wine is beginning its fermentation in the dough, which will produce a crisp, light shell. Under kneading will result in large, irregular air pockets in the dough that will puff up and explode when they hit the oil.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  6. In a deep heavy-bottomed 3-4 qt saucepan, add enough oil to come to a depth of 3 inches; heat to 375ºF on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. You will need to adjust the heat from time to time to maintain 375º.
  7. After an hour, remove dough from the refrigerator. If using a pasta machine, make sure to flour the machine first. Then divide the dough into 4. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a small square or rectangular shape and pass through the pasta machine on “0”. Continue to pass through making sure to go up a number on the machine with each pass until you get through 5. The dough is now thin enough to cut out the circles using a 3-inch round cookie cutter on a floured surface.  Proceed to step 9.
  8. If you don’t have a pasta machine, on a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 1/16 inch thick and cut it into 3-inch circles with a cookie cutter.
  9. Use a small pastry brush to lightly wipe some vegetable oil around each cannoli tube to prevent dough from sticking to the tube.
  10. Wrap each cutout of dough around the aluminum cannoli tube and seal the edges with a little water. The edges should overlap. Press down to seal well.
  11. Once the oil reaches 372º-375º, use a chopstick to slide through the cannoli tube and gently place it in the hot oil. Fry 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan, just be careful as they cook quickly. If the shells are browning too quickly lower temperature to 370º. Temperatures may vary depending on a gas stove or electric so keep an eye on the candy thermometer as it changes quickly.  Use the chopstick to roll the tubes around until golden brown. They will dry a darker color once cooled. Using the chopsticks again, insert into tube and quickly remove to paper towel draped cooking rack to drain excess oil. Don’t worry if the tubes slide off the dough while frying. Just carefully remove the tube with your chopstick.
  12. Use oven mitts or triple folded paper towels to grab the hot tube and gently shake to slide the shell off. Completely cool and store in an airtight container or plastic baggies with a paper towel inside to absorb any excess oil. They will keep several weeks.
  13. To Fill: Do not fill cannoli until ready to serve or your shells will be soggy. Use a large pastry bag with or without a fancy tip. Fill the bag with cannoli cream and squeeze into the shells, filling half of each shell at a time; working from the center out to the ends.
  14. Decorate the ends with chopped pistachios, mini chocolate chips, candied orange peel or candied cherries. Shell ends can also be dipped in chocolate before filling.

Notes: Click on the link for our gluten-free version: Cannoli Shells – Gluten-Free Twiins Style

Cannolo (plural: cannoli) The word cannoli means ‘pipes’ – pipes of crispy pastry filled with ricotta cream (the most common), pastry cream, chocolate cream, or pistachio cream.

Recipe adapted from Victoria Granof, Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries.

 

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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Mussels Fra Diavolo

Mussels Fra Diavolo

  • Servings: Serves 6-12
  • Difficulty: Easy

About ten years ago Gary requested Mussels Fra Diavolo to be included in our Christmas Eve dinner. Our father & husbands love the hot & spicy sauce the mussels are cooked in. We serve it over linguine or angel hair pasta. It's an easy & quick recipe that you can make as hot as you like (read Note below before step 2) . The lovers of HEAT in your family will definitely enjoy this sauce. 😋 😋

Ingredients

  • 1½ heads of garlic
  • 1/3 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 shakes cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 3 (28 oz) cans San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted & chopped (optional)
  • 3-4 lbs mussels, cleaned & debearded
  • 1 can sliced Scungilli (optional)
  • 2 shakes of black pepper

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the EVOO on medium-low.
  2. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stir well.
  3. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, capers, olives & wine.
  4. Break up the tomatoes and simmer about 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  5. In the meantime, cook your linguine or angel hair pasta.
  6. Raise sauce heat to medium and add the mussels. Cover & continue cooking another 3-6 minutes more or until mussels are open.
  7. Add the can of sliced scungilli if using. (These are already cooked so they don’t need more than 1 minute in the sauce)
  8. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  9. Serve over pasta & enjoy.

Note: If your not a lover of heat,  sprinkle half the hot red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper first then give it a good stir. Taste it & proceed from there.  You can always add heat but you can’t take it away!

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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Christmas Eve 7 Fishes Seafood Salad

Christmas Eve 7 Fishes Seafood Salad

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Moderate

All of our favorite fish in one platter, it doesn't get any better than that! We could always count on Aunt Rosemarie to make the best traditional Christmas Eve seafood salad for a tasty appetizer to start. Our husbands look forward to it and request it throughout the year. We recommend you have plenty of crusty Italian bread on hand to soak up the delicious marinade. ❤️

Ingredients

Broth 

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 3 bay leaves (large size) fresh or dried
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 3  lemon slices, 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Mussels

  • 1/2 cup white wine

Salad

  • 1 pound tenderized octopus (see directions below)
  • 1 pound calamari, cut into 1/2-inch rings
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1  29-oz can of sliced scungilli (we use LaMonica canned sliced scungilli as fresh is not available in our area)
  • 1 pound bay scallops (the small ones)
  • 3 lbs mussels, beards removed (if any of the uncooked mussels are open run under cold water to close. If they don’t close throw them out. After cooking throw out any mussels that do no open.
  • 1 baccala (salted dried cod, reconstitute in a large bowl with cold water 48 hours prior to cooking. Change the water several times throughout the process to remove excess salt.)
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup green olives with pimento (any olive you like can be used, black or green or both)

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 10 cloves garlic (medium size)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • reserved mussel broth that has been strained through cheesecloth

Directions

  1. 48 hours before cooking, soak the baccala in fresh clean water, changing the water about every 8 hours, to remove excess salt.
  2. Clean and wash all the seven fishes.
  3. In a deep pan, add 1/2 cup white wine and the mussels. Cover and cook until the mussels are all opened and the meat separates easily from the shell.
  4. Remove the meat and set aside in bowl.
  5. Filter the broth of the mussels through cheesecloth and set aside.
  6. In a large double boiler pot that has a colander, fill halfway with water.
  7. Add to the water all the ingredients for the broth, 1/2 cup white wine, 4 large cloves garlic, 3 bay leaves, 12 black peppercorns, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, 3 lemon slices, and 1 Tablespoon salt.
  8. Bring to a boil then add the reconstituted baccala. Cook about 7 minutes then remove from water and set aside.
  9. Add to the pot the calamari, cook them for about 5 minutes then remove from water and set aside.
  10. Add to the pot the scallops, cook them for about 3-4 minutes then remove from water and set aside.
  11. Add to the pot the shrimp, cook about 2-3 minutes more or less (depending on their size) then remove from water and set aside. Shrimp are done when they are pink & opaque.
  12. Lastly, add the octopus to the pot then dip the colander in and out 3 times. Let the octopus cook for about 10-20 minutes (depending on size)then remove from the pot and set aside. Octopus is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  13. In a large bowl, add the mussels, calamari, shrimp, sliced scungilli, and scallops.
  14. Cut the baccala into bite size pieces, then add to the bowl.
  15. Cut the octopus into bite-size pieces with a knife or scissors, then add to the bowl.
  16. Mix all the fish together.
  17. To the bowl add the parsley, celery, carrots, and olives. Mix well.
  18. In a small bowl add the marinade ingredients and mix well.
  19. Pour over the fishes and mix well.
  20. In a covered bowl, marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  21. Serve at room temperature as the appetizer course of your Christmas Eve dinner.

Notes: Baccala must be reconstituted in fresh colder water for 48 hours prior to making this recipe. 

Once the salad is made and the marinade has been added, refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving to meld the flavors.

Refrigerate unused salad and use within 2 days.

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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Zeppole

Zeppole

  • Servings: Makes 45-50
  • Difficulty: Easy

Christmas wouldn't be the same without Mom's zeppole (Italian donuts). Fifty years ago, our Mom got this recipe from her neighbor Lucille and that was the start of our love affair with zeppole! From her first batch, they became a holiday favorite in our home. During the holiday season you would always find a pot filled with vegetable oil, just waiting for Mom to whip up a batch. Our home was always filled with friends and neighbors and Mom always had them available. Everyone loved them and they were quickly devoured. Our zeppole are heavenly with their light, spongy texture, and sprinkling of powdered sugar. Even Santa loves them & keeps coming back for more! ❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Presto* cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1½ lbs. of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Vegetable oil, 2 to 3 inches deep for frying

Directions

  1. Slowly heat the vegetable oil in a 1 – 2 qt stainless steel saucepan, to a temperature of 375º. (use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature)
  2. In a large bowl, place the cake flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and ricotta cheese and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  3. When the oil temperature reaches 375º, take a flatware tablespoon of batter and using your index finger or another spoon,  carefully slide the batter off the spoon into the hot oil, being careful not to splash yourself. Set the timer for 3 minutes once they are in the pot.  Depending on the size pot you use, fry 2-4 at a time. They turn on their own so no need to turn them.
  4. After 3 minutes, remove to paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  5. Continue frying 2-4 zeppole at a time until batter is used up.
  6. Put the cooked zeppole in a serving dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve while warm.

Notes:  *Presto cake flour is self-rising and contains baking powder & salt. If not available in your local grocery store, order from Amazon. Swan Cake flour is not self-rising and will require the addition of baking powder and salt; however, we don’t know you’ll get the same results.

Zeppole need room to turn over on their own so don’t crowd them. We used a small 1 qt saucepan and fried 2 at a time. If you want to fry 4 or 5 at a time make sure you use at least a 6 qt saucepan.

The powdered sugar will melt if they sit awhile before serving so sprinkle with additional powdered sugar as needed.

 

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Mom’s Christmas Eve Flounder

Mom's Christmas Eve Flounder

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy

Our Christmas Eve dinner always included our Mom's delicious flounder dish which she made every Christmas Eve as long as we can remember. In keeping with our Italian heritage, of course it's made with mozzarella, Pecorino Romano cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs, butter, white wine, herbs, and garlic... lots of garlic! Christmas Eve just wouldn't be the same without it. Mom's handwritten recipe listed ingredients only... no measurements so our first attempt was a disaster!!! We knew it was missing something but we weren't quite sure what it was because we followed her ingredient list to the letter.  We finally realized the missing ingredient was garlic... she obviously thought it was a given & not necessary to write it down! We're happy to share this family favorite with you and hope your family enjoys it as much as our family does.  ❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 2-2½ lbs flounder fillets (all skin & bones removed)
  • salted butter
  • 5 Tablespoons Italian seasoned bread crumbs (about 1½ Tablespoons for each layer; more or less to taste)
  • 3 tsp dried oregano (1 tsp for each layer)
  • 3 tsp dried thyme (1 tsp for each layer)
  • 6 Tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 2 Tablespoons per layer; more or less to taste)
  • 8 oz whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced
  • 6 large cloves garlic, smashed then minced
  • salt & pepper to taste, optional
  • 3 Tablespoons Chardonnay wine

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Grease a 24-ounce oval au gratin dish (or an 8 x 8-inch glass pyrex) baking dish with butter. (We used Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware 24-Ounce Oval Au Gratin Dish)
  3. Place fish fillets to cover the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. Place a few small pats of butter on fish fillets.
  5. Spread 1/3 of the garlic over the fish fillets.
  6. Sprinkle with dried thyme and oregano.
  7. Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese to cover fish.
  8. Sprinkle with seasoned bread crumbs then top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  9. Repeat steps 3 – 8 for two more layers. (There should be 3 layers in total)
  10. Top with small pats of butter and sprinkle 3 Tablespoons of Chardonnay on top.
  11. Bake at 400ºF until fish flakes, approximately 25-30 minutes.

Notes: For a gluten-free version use Gluten-Free Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs.

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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Pignoli Cookies – Twiins Style

Pignoli Cookies - Twiins Style

  • Difficulty: Easy

Every year we start our holiday baking about 2 weeks before 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. Our all-time favorite holiday cookie is the fragrant, chewy almond Pignoli cookie. Pignolias (aka pine nuts) are from the Italian Stone Pine trees of the Meditteranean regions of Spain, Portugal & Italy. The Asian pignolias from China are not as flavorful as the Meditteranean pignolias so we avoid using them. You can tell they are from China by their much cheaper price tag. Our pignoli cookies taste just like the ones from the best Italian bakeries in New York. Really they do, and our recipe is naturally Gluten-Free! They fly off the holiday cookie tray...you and your family will love them. ❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 1 (8oz) box or can of Solo Almond Paste (do not use almond filling)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup  Mediterranean Pignolias
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar for light dusting

Directions

  1. Using a Convection oven, preheat oven to 275ºF. (If using a regular oven increase temperature to 300ºF.)
  2. Line 2 large cookies sheets with parchment paper or a silicone pad or grease 2 large cookie sheets if parchment paper or silicone pad isn’t an option.
  3. Sift granulated sugar and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with almond flour and salt. Set aside.
  4. Using a fork, break up the almond paste into small pieces in a medium bowl. Add egg whites and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed, until well blended and smooth.
  5. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until well blended.
  6. Place dough into a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. (You can also use a rounded teaspoon full of dough 1½-inches in diameter. Place 2-inches apart on large cookie sheet.
  7. Generously press the pignoli nuts all around & on top of the dough making sure to keep the dough rounded, do not flatten.
  8. Bake slowly for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven, until the bottoms are golden. The edges of the cookies should be golden but the tops will be lighter.
  9. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the baking sheet.
  10. When cooled, lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar or leave plain. Either way, they are delicious.
  11. Store several days in a tightly covered container to mellow. These will keep for up to 2 weeks if stored properly.

Notes: Variations

1. Press half a candied cherry or maraschino cherry in the center of each cookie.

2. Using your thumb or index finger coated in confectioner’s sugar,  make a thumbprint in the center and fill it with a small amount of raspberry preserves.

3. Roasted, salted pistachios can be used in place of pignolias.   Bake as above.

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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Our Family Christmas Eve Menu

 

We wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy, Healthy New Year from our family to yours.

 

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Shrimp Scampi

Pignoli Cookies

Cannoli Cream

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Zeppole

Mussels Fra Diavolo