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.

 

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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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…

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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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.

    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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