Quick Tomato Sauce – Twiins Style 🍝

Quick Tomato Sauce - Twiins Style

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

Don’t have time to make a pot of tomato sauce? This quick and easy sauce can be made in no time at all with staple ingredients from your pantry.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 frozen Dorot garlic cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons Hunt’s Italian style tomato paste with garlic & basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning (more or less to taste)
  • Immersion blender

    Directions

    1. In a small saucepan on medium heat, heat the oil and add the garlic cubes. Sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
    2. Add tomato paste and stir well for a minute. Add the stewed tomatoes and stir well until the tomato paste is blended.
    3. Add 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender right in the saucepan,  purée the tomato mixture and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

    Note: Makes enough sauce for our Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines (4) plus a few spoonfuls to top spaghetti.

    Pantry & Freezer Staples:

    2 cans stewed tomatoes, plain or Italian style, preferably Hunt’s

    2 cans diced tomatoes, plain or Italian style, preferably Hunt’s

    2 cans tomato paste, preferably Hunt’s with garlic & basil

    1 tray Dorot’s frozen garlic cubes (you can get these at Target and most Harris Teeter grocery stores)

     


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    Orecchiette with Veal Chorizo

    Orecchiette with Veal Chorizo

    • Servings: 4
    • Difficulty: Easy

    This recipe was actually a wonderful accident. I defrosted a pound of ground veal only to realize when I started to cook it that it was ground veal chorizo (quite spicy) Well it turned out pretty good and my family enjoyed it so here it is. Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground veal chorizo (spicy and gives a nice reddish color to the sauce)
    • 2 tablespoons EVOO
    • 1 large onion, finely minced
    • 1 large clove garlic, minced
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 2 Tablespoons capers (optional)
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    • 1 tsp chopped thyme
    • 1/2 tsp rosemary, chopped
    •  1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
    • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
    • 2 Tablespoons butter

      Directions

      1. In a large deep skillet, heat EVOO. Add the onion and minced garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until soft, about 4-6  minutes.
      2. Raise heat to high. Add the ground veal then season with salt & pepper. Cook until veal is fully cooked and no longer pink, about 7-8 minutes. Any juices from the veal should be evaporated.
      3. Add the white wine. Bring to a boil. Boil until almost evaporated, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary, and optional capers then simmer over medium-low heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
      4. Cook the orecchiette according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta liquid before draining well. Add the pasta to the skillet. Add the Parmigiano=Reggiano cheese, chopped parsley, and butter.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the sauce is thick and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. If too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water until the consistency desired.
      5. Serve right away with some crusty bread and Enjoy!

      Note: You can add vegetables of your choice to make this a one-pan meal.

      Recipe adapted from Quentin Bacon.

       


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      Stretching Leftover Beef Stew

      Teresa made a delicious beef stew the other night and we all enjoyed it. There were about 2 cups of leftovers so we decided to stretch it into a second dinner by adding some mushrooms, red wine, Kalamata olives, leftover green beans, a cup of cherry tomatoes (halved) and 8 oz of uncooked ziti.

      No measurements are really needed. Just sauté the mushrooms in a little EVOO or butter, add the wine then leftover stew, simmer about 10-15 minutes. Add the olives & cherry tomatoes. We mixed the cooked & drained ziti with a ladle full of the stew mixture to coat the pasta then put the pasta on individual plates topped with stew mixture & garnished with fresh basil & Locatelli grated cheese.

      You could add feta cheese instead of Locatelli if you prefer. Any leftover vegetables will also work well.

       

       

      Fig Sauce

      • Servings: 6
      • Difficulty: Easy

      This year, 2020, we finally have an abundance of figs from one of Gary's fig trees. He has been growing 2 fig trees for 4 years here in North Carolina. The one we transplanted from our NY home is not as big as the one we purchased here in NC so the figs I used in this recipe are from the NC fig tree. The first couple of years the figs were so sparse that we were lucky to get a few to pop in our mouths for the whole season. In contrast, today we picked so many figs that now we can be creative with different ways to prepare and enjoy them. This fig sauce is so simple to make, does not require any tedious canning, and is delicious with Feta cheese or goat cheese on a cracker, meat & cheese board, or topping chicken or pork. It's naturally sweet without the addition of any sugar, and it's naturally gluten-free. We love it and so do the hubbies! 😋 😋

      Ingredients

      • 2 cups ripe figs, stems removed and cut-in-half
      • 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (ready-made is fine)
      • 6 Tablespoons quality Balsamic vinegar
      • 1/2 tsp salt

      Instructions

      1. In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients together. Bring to a boil.
      2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer at least 20-30 minutes until figs are soft enough to mash & liquid is 3/4 evaporated. (It may take longer)
      3. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture. It should look like a loose jam but not watery.
      4. Remove from the heat. Spoon onto your favorite protein or use as an appetizer with goat cheese & crackers.

      Note: This recipe can be served at room temperature as an appetizer or hot over your protein. It can be made ahead of time & stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Will keep for several days refrigerated.

       

      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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      Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken – Twiins Style

      Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken - Twiins Style

      • Servings: 4
      • Difficulty: Easy

      Lately all my friends and neighbors are wondering what to cook since we are all observing the Stay at Home restrictions going on across the country. They are bored and tired of cooking 3 times a day. While checking my text messages I saw one from 'Nextdoor' with the title  'What's for Dinner'. This recipe caught my eye so I decided to give it a try. Wow! I'm so happy I did.  Not only is it full of flavor but it's so easy to make. Both Gary & I loved it. I hope Teresa makes this for my niece while she's helping her recuperate. I know they will love it too! 😋❤️

      Ingredients

      • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
      • 2 – 4 Tablespoons EVOO
      • 2 cups heavy cream
      • 1 cup chicken broth
      • 2¼ tsp garlic powder
      • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
      • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
      • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated) (please don’t use the fake stuff in the green container…)
      • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
      • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)

      Directions

      1. In a large skillet add 2-4 Tablespoons EVOO. When oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side. Don’t crowd the skillet or you’ll get steam instead of browning. Cook until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
      2. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Whisk over medium-high heat until it starts to thicken.
      3. Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes. Let simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.
      4. Add the chicken back to the skillet and serve over your favorite pasta.

      Notes: 

      1. Use genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that you freshly grate. The pre-grated cheese has additives and makes it ball up instead of melting into the sauce. You may also substitute with Locatelli Pecorino Romano cheese, also freshly grated.

      2. Large chicken bone-in chicken thighs can also be used in place of chicken breasts. Just make sure you cook a little longer so they are fully cooked.

      Recipe adapted from  Alyssa Rivers (The Recipe Critic).

       

      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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      Basic Tomato Sauce – Twiins Style 🍅 🍅

      As every Italian American cook knows, the basis of a great Sunday dinner in Italian homes is the tomato sauce or gravy as it is lovingly referred to. Our grandmothers from Naples & Sicily both called it gravy. When we were teenagers we questioned why was tomato sauce called gravy as we thought it should be called sauce. I guess it depended on where you grew up and what the custom was for each family. We chose to call it “sauce”. Whether you are making lasagna or spaghetti, a good sauce makes all the difference in the world. 

      Ingredients

      • 2 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano whole tomatoes (break up with your hands or an immersion blender)
      • 1 lb Italian sweet or hot sausage
      • 1 medium onion, chopped
      • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
      • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
      • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
      • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
      • fresh basil leaves (cook in sauce plus some for garnish)

      Instructions

      1. Pour 2 tablespoons EVOO in heavy-duty 8-quart pot
      2. When the oil is hot, add sausage links and brown both sides
      3. Remove browned sausage links and set aside.
      4. Add onion and cook until lightly browned and translucent
      5. Add garlic and stir well for 1 minute
      6. Add tomatoes, butter, oregano, and a few basil leaves, and the browned sausages.
      7. Stir well and often to prevent burning on the bottom while simmering for at least 3 hours in order for the sausages to be nice & tender (the longer it cooks the better).
      8. When done, remove the sausage links that can be saved for a different meal or serve with your favorite pasta dish.

      Note: Whenever we have leftover pieces of pork we add them to the pot. If you are making meatballs, add them to the pot during the last 20 minutes of cook time.

              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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      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 -12 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) I also use Hunt’s Tomato Sauce with basil, garlic, and oregano if I don’t have homemade sauce.
      • 1 small can tomato paste plus same can filled with water to dilute (Omit if using Hunt’s Tomato Sauce with basil, garlic, & oregano)
      • 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 4 cans of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce with basil, garlic & oregano OR 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 or add extra sauce.

      Use 2 small cans for every 2 cans of cannellini beans for a nice thick texture. If you like it more like a soup, use 3 to4 cans.

      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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      Meatless Mediterranean Pasta with Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Tomatoes & Pignoli, Gluten-Free

      Meatless Mediterranean Pasta with Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Tomatoes & Pignoli, Gluten-Free

      • Servings: 6
      • Difficulty: Very Easy

      After our holiday baking was over, we had pignoli left over so we came up with this delicious, healthy recipe to kickstart 2020. Our first recipe for the new year is a meatless Mediterranean dish. In spite of our husbands' carnivore appetites, this meatless dish satisfied them both...we were in heaven! This recipe delivers an exciting depth of flavor with a wonderful blending of ingredients. We think you and your family will love it.

      Ingredients

      • 3 pounds zucchini and yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise & sliced 1/2 inch thick
      • Kosher salt & pepper
      • 1/3 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
      • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
      • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
      • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
      • 5 Tablespoons EVOO
      • 1 pound gluten-free pasta (we used Le Veneziane gluten-Free Farfalle)
      • 12 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half
      • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
      • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
      • Grated Pecorino Romano

      Directions

      1. After cutting the zucchini and summer squash, sprinkle with approximately 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels & wipe away residual salt. Set aside.
      2. While squash is draining, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, lower flame to simmer until ready to cook pasta.
      3. In a 12-inch non=stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO over high heat. Once it starts to smoke, add half the squash and cook until slightly charred, turning occasionally, approximately 5-6 minutes. Reduce heat if the skillet starts to overheat. Transfer to a large plate then repeat step 3 with the remaining half of squash and another tablespoon of EVOO. Transfer 2nd batch to plate and set aside.
      4. Bring water to full boil and add salt then the pasta. Cook according to package directions, reserving 1 cup of cooked pasta water.
      5. In the same skillet, heat another tablespoon of EVOO. Add pignoli and toast lightly, then add red onion, garlic, and pepper flakes. Cook approximately 1 minute until fragrant.
      6. Drain pasta (reserve 1 cup of pasta water) then return pasta to the pot. Add the squash, tomatoes, pignoli mixture, vinegar, basil, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of EVOO. Mix well to combine.
      7. Add enough reserved pasta water to keep moist consistency but not soupy. You may not need the whole cup. Lightly drizzle with EVOO and top with grated cheese.

       

      Note:  If gluten is not an issue, use your favorite brand of pasta. If your family must have meat, feel free to add whatever they like. 

      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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      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…

      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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