Pistachio Pesto Sauce

 


  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy

We love pistachios! They are so versatile whether eating them from the shell, making an amazing gelato, encrusting fish filets or turning them into a wonderful pesto sauce for pasta! On my recent trip to Greece, I made sure to bring home an ample supply of Greek pistachios, determined to use them in cooking. So yesterday Barbara and I, while shopping for dinner, picked up 4 lbs of sea scallops, the large ones you most often find in restaurants, not the tiny bay ones. As you may remember from our recent pesto post we have an abundance of basil from our gardens so making more pesto was the best way to use it. This time instead of using traditional pignoli (pine nuts) we would use those wonderful pistachios from Greece (California pistachios are fine too). I also wanted to make the pesto using the old, traditional mortar and pestle to test if there really is a difference. Well, after 30 minutes of crushing pistachios into a paste by hand and pummeling only 1/4 of the basil our hands decided it was time to take out the food processor! I must admit, the pesto came out extremely creamy which I believe was the result of the mortar and pestle for half the process, but as far as taste goes the food processor did a fine job. Our pan-seared scallops topped with pistachio pesto were out of this world delicious! 😋😋

Ingredients

  • 4 cups loosely packed basil leaves that have been soaked in cold water then dried using a salad spinner to drain all the water without damage to the leaves.
  • 1 cup salted pistachios, shelled
  • 4 cloves garlic (frozen cubes work well as they are uniform in size)
  • 6-8 tablespoon EVOO (preferably Ligurian EVOO)
  • 4 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano grated cheese (do not add cheese if you plan to freeze the pesto for later use. Once defrosted the cheese can be mixed in)

Directions

  1. In a food processor add pistachios and garlic. Pulse into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the basil in small amounts then pulse after each addition until all the basil has been added and the mixture is creamy & smooth. Slowly (slow is key here) add the EVOO until emulsified.
  3. Add lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. If you are making to freeze,  🛑 ✋ stop here and put into freezable containers & place in the freezer.
  5.  Add cheese and pulse to incorporate.
  6. If too dry add additional EVOO slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Notes:  If you plan to freeze for future use, do not add the cheese. Cheese should be added after being thawed.  Great over pasta, fish, chicken, potatoes, sandwiches, etc…

 

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Pesto Sauce

 


  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy

This summer we have an abundance of basil from our hay bale gardens and have been making pesto for a variety of meals, including breakfast! Not only is pesto delicious on pasta but it's just as delicious on fish, vegetables, chicken or just about anything! Last year our friend, Jane Hall, grew tomatoes and basil in hay bales...we grew ours in traditional dirt. The difference was amazing...the hay bale crop far exceeded the traditional dirt crop and made us believers. Gary bought the bales at the local hardware store then quickly got to preparing them with fertilizer and water. After two weeks of daily watering, we planted our basil and tomatoes along with some other herbs and couldn't be happier with the results. If you never tried this method before, it's definitely worth the minimal effort.😋😋

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Pignoli Nuts (Italian pine nuts)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2  cups fresh sweet Italian basil leaves, packed tightly (approximately 2 very large bunches)
  • 8 Tablespoons EVOO, preferably Ligurian as it makes a big difference in taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Pecorino Romano, freshly grated

Directions

  1. In a food processor add pignoli nuts, salt, and garlic cloves. Pulse into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the basil in small amounts then pulse after each addition until all the basil has been added and the mixture is creamy & smooth. Slowly (slow is key here) add the EVOO until emulsified.
  3. If you are making to freeze,  🛑 ✋ stop here and put into freezable containers & place in the freezer.
  4. Add cheese and pulse to incorporate.
  5. If too dry add additional EVOO slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time.

 

Notes: If you plan to freeze for future use, do not add the cheese. Cheese should be added after being thawed. Great over pasta, fish, chicken, potatoes, sandwiches, etc…

 

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Penne Alla Vodka – Gluten Free

 

Barbara first made Penne Ala Vodka for her son’s engagement party using a recipe from a friend of a friend. It has undergone a few changes over the years before it became an all-time family favorite. As you may know, whenever possible we always make a gluten-free version of our recipes for Teresa’s husband Jack.  We don’t want him to ever feel left out. This recipe was very easy to convert since you just replace regular penne pasta with Gluten-Free penne pasta.  Thanks to great improvements in gluten-free products, having Celiac’s disease no longer means you have to miss out on delicious pasta meals.

This recipe is delicious and not your typical restaurant flavor. If you’re not a fan of a little heat, omit the cayenne but it’s really not a strong kick. 

Ingredients

Servings: 8-10

  • Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe link below)
  • 2 lbs. Barilla Gluten-Free Penne pasta with the lines (sauce sticks to it better)
  • 6 Tablespoons of salted butter
  • 8-10 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for a bigger kick)
  • 6-8 shakes red pepper flakes (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1/2 lb. very thin sliced Prosciutto, shred into pieces with your fingers
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 1 qt heavy cream (light cream can also be used)
  • 4 cups of already prepared Basic Tomato Sauce, (or your favorite red sauce)
  • 4 heaping handfuls of Pecorino Romano grated cheese (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese,  shredded or diced

Instructions

  • Saute garlic and prosciutto in melted butter in a deep skillet.
  • Add salt, cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes.
  • Add vodka to deglaze and stir well.
  • Add cream, red sauce, and Pecorino Romano cheese. 
  • Simmer & stir until it comes to a boil, don’t overcook.
  • Add mozzarella just after it comes to a boil to avoid mozzarella from balling up.
  • Pour 2 ladles of vodka sauce over cooked penne to coat.
  • Use remaining sauce to top individual servings and pour the additional sauce in a gravy boat for the table.
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves. 


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Penne Alla Vodka

 

Barbara first made Penne Ala Vodka for her son’s engagement party using a recipe from a friend of a friend. It has undergone a few changes over the years before it became an all-time family favorite…her granddaughter Stefani could live on this alone! Stefani recently requested that Barbara make it for her baby shower, and she was disappointed when there weren’t any leftovers to take home to Virginia! It’s always a big crowd pleaser and a must have for every holiday dinner.

This recipe is delicious and not your typical restaurant flavor. If you’re not a fan of a little heat, omit the cayenne but it’s really not a strong kick. 

Ingredients

Servings: 8-10

  • Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe link below)
  • 2 lbs. Penne pasta with the lines (sauce sticks to it better)
  • 6 Tablespoons of salted butter
  • 8-10 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for a bigger kick)
  • 6-8 shakes red pepper flakes (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1/2 lb. very thin sliced Prosciutto, shred into pieces with your fingers
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 1 qt heavy cream (light cream can also be used)
  • 4 cups of already prepared Basic Tomato Sauce, (or your favorite red sauce)
  • 4 heaping handfuls of Pecorino Romano grated cheese (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese,  shredded or diced

Instructions

  • Saute garlic and prosciutto in melted butter in a deep skillet.
  • Add salt, cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes.
  • Add vodka to deglaze and stir well.
  • Add cream, red sauce, and Pecorino Romano cheese. 
  • Simmer & stir until it comes to a boil, don’t overcook.
  • Add mozzarella just after it comes to a boil to avoid mozzarella from balling up.
  • Pour 2 ladles of vodka sauce over cooked penne to coat.
  • Use remaining sauce to top individual servings and pour the additional sauce in a gravy boat for the table.
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves. 


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Creamy Garlic Shrimp & Scallops with Fettuccine – Twiins Style

 

Creamy Garlic Shrimp & Scallops with Fettuccine - Twiins Style

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup EVOO, plus 2-3 Tablespoons
  • 10 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallot heads (4 big cloves)
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 2 cups white wine (we use Chardonnay)
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh thyme (or 3 tsp dried)
  • 3 cups heavy cream or Half-and-Half cream
  • 2 lbs sea scallops (20-30 count)
  • 1½ – 2 lbs extra-large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • sprinkle of garlic powder on scallops before sautéing
  • 2 tsp lemon zest for garnish (optional)
  • 3 sprigs fresh basil for garnish (optional)
  • 1½- 2 lbs cooked fettuccine or angel hair pasta (use Gluten-Free pasta if gluten is an issue)

    Directions

    1. Heat pasta water to boiling then lower to simmer before preparing the meal.
    2. Pat dry the scallops and shrimp on paper towels. Cover with paper towels and set aside.
    3. In a large skillet, heat 1/3 cup EVOO on medium then sauté shallots and garlic until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes.
    4. Pour the white wine into the skillet to deglaze.
    5. Add the parsley, basil, and thyme and cook until liquid is reduced by half.
    6. Transfer mixture into a medium saucepan.
    7. Add the cream & half the Pecorino Romano cheese into the medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until reduced by half (about 15 minutes).
    8. In the large skillet add 2-3 Tablespoons of EVOO. Using medium-high heat, allow the oil to get hot enough then add the scallops and sprinkle garlic powder on top. Sauté on both sides just until they turn opaque & feel springy with a pair of tongs. Don’t overcook. Remove to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
    9. Bring pasta water up to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Cover and set aside until remaining seafood (shrimp) is cooked.
    10. Now sauté the shrimp in the same skillet until the shrimp just turn pink. Remove and place the shrimp in the platter with the scallops, continue to cover with foil.
    11. Add 1/2 the cream sauce to the large skillet and quickly toss with the cooked pasta. Mix well and plate the pasta in individual pasta dishes. Pour remaining cream sauce in a small gravy boat to add extra sauce if desired.
    12. Top with asparagus & arrange the seafood on top, garnish with extra sauce, grated cheese, lemon zest, and sprigs of basil, if desired.
    13. Enjoy!

    Notes: Substitute with Gluten-Free pasta for a delicious Gluten-Free meal.

     

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    Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

     

    Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

    • Servings: 12-16
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Our homemade tartar sauce is a great topping for our Maryland Style Crab Cakes or any seafood dish.🦀🦀

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
    • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 2 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped red onion
    • salt & pepper to taste

    Directions

    1. In a small bowl mix all ingredients then refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or overnight to meld all flavors.

    Notes: Our homemade Tartar Sauce goes well with our Maryland Style Crab Cakes or any seafood dish. To serve as an appetizer, make the crab cakes smaller and serve on a platter with some homemade tartar sauce.

     

     

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    Braised Pork Ragu

     

    Braised Pork Ragu

    • Servings: 6-8
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Braised Pork Ragu brings your basic tomato sauce to a whole new level! We simmer our pork ragu for hours to bring out the most delicious, sophisticated flavors that will impress your family & friends. This is a hearty meat sauce and any leftovers can be frozen for a quick, last-minute weeknight dinner with pasta, risotto, mashed potatoes, or polenta, just use your imagination. It's the epitome of Italian comfort food and sure to please. Can you tell we love it?? ❤😋

    Ingredients

    • 2½-3 lbs. pork shoulder, bone-in (use boneless if bone-in is not available)
    • Kosher salt to season pork shoulder
    • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
    • 2 large onions, finely chopped
    • 2 carrots, grated
    • 8 cloves Dorot frozen  garlic, minced ( you can get Dorot’s at Target & Trader Joe’s)
    • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 pinch Chili de Arbol flakes
    • 1 tsp Kosher salt (omit if salt sensitive)
    • dash of pepper to taste
    • 1 cup dry red wine
    • 1  28-ounce can Cento San Marzano Tomatoes
    • 1  6-ounce can tomato paste
    • 1  28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (we use Cento)
    • 1½ cups water
    • fresh basil for pasta garnish

    Directions

    1. Trim & remove any excess fat from the pork shoulder.
    2. Pat the surface of the pork shoulder with paper towels until dry.
    3. Season on all sides with Kosher salt & black pepper.
    4. Heat the EVOO in a large dutch over medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, sear the pork on all sides, about 3 minutes on each side., until golden brown crust on all sides.
    5. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.
    6. Add onions and carrots. Cook until softened but not brown, about 4-6 minutes.
    7. Add Kosher salt, garlic, dried thyme, dried oregano & dried basil, chili flakes and bay leaves.
    8. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
    9. Add red wine,  stir and cook until wine has slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
    10. Add whole tomatoes & their liquid, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.
    11. Stir to combine then add the pork shoulder back into the dutch oven. The liquid should be at least halfway up the meat, but more is good.
    12. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover but leave the lid slightly open to allow slight reduction of sauce as it cooks.
    13. Stir occasionally, turning the pork to ensure all sides come in contact with the sauce.
    14. Cook the pork for 5-5½ hours until the meat is so tender that it is easily shredded with a fork.
    15. When pork is done, remove meat into a bowl and shred into pieces with 2 forks.
    16. Remove the bay leaves from sauce and discard. Return the shredded pork to the dutch oven. Cook an additional 30 minutes to marry the flavors.
    17. Continue cooking on low while preparing your favorite pasta.
    18. Garnish finished dish with some fresh basil, whole or torn.


    Note: We serve this hearty pork ragu over Pappardelle with a side of stuffed artichokes.

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