With the first spoonful of our savory Tuscan Bean Soup you will be swept away to Tuscany admiring the sunflowers. This is the same recipe as our regular Tuscan Bean Soup using gluten-free pasta & broth in place of regular. It’s chock full of vegetables, delicious flavor & of course love! Serve as a main meal for either lunch or dinner and don't forget the toasted crusty bread to soak up every last drop. Enjoy!
1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoes, crush with clean hands
1/4 cup EVOO
3 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans with liquid (divided into 3/4 and 1/4)
1 rounded tsp Hunt’s tomato paste with garlic & basil
1 leek, chopped (both white & green parts)
2 yellow onions, diced ( I was out of yellow onions so I substituted with red)
2 cups large celery stalks, large dice (about 3-4 ribs)
2 cups large carrots, large dice (about 5-6 peeled carrots)
8-10 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped (Add more or less to suit your taste.)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 large bay leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
3-4 handfuls baby spinach, torn by hand (escarole or kale may be substituted)
4 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)
4 cups beef broth (gluten-free)
1 small piece of rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 ounces gluten-free Ditalini pasta (any small GF pasta may be substituted.)
Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano-Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the EVOO. When EVOO is hot enough add the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, spinach, cheese rind, and 3/4 of the canned beans. Cook for another 3 minutes on medium-low flame until fragrant. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining 1/4 beans then add to the pot and stir.
Add the tomato paste and stir well.
Add the hand crushed tomatoes, both broths & stir well. Add 3 oz of GF ditalini to the soup. (If you’re making more than 3 oz of GF pasta, we recommend you cook it separately & add right before serving.)
Bring to a slow boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer about 40-45 minutes or until vegetable are done.
While the soup is simmering, prepare the GF ditalini pasta following package directions.
Ladle soup into bowls & add the pasta. Sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano). Enjoy!
Note: Please make sure all your canned ingredients are gluten-free.
You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta before freezing.
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!
Sift the gluten-free flour, sugar, cinnamon, cacao powder, and salt into a large bowl.
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.
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.
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.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
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.
After an hour, remove dough from the refrigerator. Then divide the dough into 4 quarters.
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.
Use a small pastry brush to lightly wipe some vegetable oil around each cannoli tube to prevent dough from sticking to the tube.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The other night we were so engrossed with updating this blog that we completely forgot about dinner! We realized it at 5:00 pm! After searching in the refrigerator we found country sausage, zucchini, and some leftover tomato sauce so we whipped up a really quick & tasty dinner. On nights when you are pressed for time, this recipe is not only quick & easy but also delicious, healthy & satisfying. There's a bonus too... it's low carb, keto-friendly, and gluten-free. You won't miss the pasta at all. Our family loves it with ricotta cheese on top...it's delicious! Give it a try and let us hear from you. 😋😋
2 cloves garlic (we use Dorot frozen cubes for consistency)
1 lb bulk Neese’s Sausage, hot or regular
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup pre-made tomato sauce (more or less depending on your preference)
salt & pepper to taste
ricotta (for topping)
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Wash unpeeled zucchini then dry well. Cut the end stem from one end of the zucchini then using the spiralizer thick ribbon blade, spiralize all the zucchini. Set aside.
In a large hot skillet place the bulk sausage and brown completely on all sides, crumbling the sausage as it cooks.
Add the garlic and continue cooking another minute. Stir well then add the butter combining well.
Add the zucchini spirals and mix with the sausage.
Cook until zucchini is soft or al dente then add a cup of pre-made tomato sauce and mix well. Heat until sauce is hot. Remove from heat.
Serve in a pasta dish and sprinkle with grated Pecorino Ramano cheese then top with a dollop of creamy ricotta cheese and enjoy.
Add Zucchini noodles after browning sausage meat
Add tomato sauce
Notes: Additional tomato sauce may be added depending on your preference. For those of you who must have pasta, just cook up a little gluten-free pasta (or regular pasta if gluten is not a health issue) and add the cooked pasta at the end to combine with the zoodles.
Move over Chicken Marsala...we're here to introduce you to our juicy Chicken Maderia that will elevate your dinner to a whole new level that's sure to please! Tender chicken breasts combined with mushrooms and asparagus in a wonderful creamy Madeira sauce topped with melted gooey mozzarella (or as our old family from Brooklyn would say, Mootzadell, dropping the last vowel of a word was very common because they were always in a hurry! In carrying on that tradition, we think we'll start to call it Mootz) 😂😂 Whichever way you pronounce it, this dish is delicious. Our family loves this chicken dish and we hope it will become a new favorite of yours. We're sure your family and friends will be asking for more just like ours do so you might want to make a double batch! 😋 😋
12 -15 thinly sliced chicken breasts, season with salt & pepper
2 bundles of asparagus, blanched
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
4 Tablespoons EVOO, divided
32 oz small button mushrooms, washed and dried thoroughly
4 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped plus extra for garnish
3 cups Madeira wine
3 cups beef stock or broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
salt & pepper to taste
Trim asparagus by snapping the ends off. Wash well and set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil, enough to cover asparagus and boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove to a large bowl filled with ice water to stop color turning. Drain well then set aside.
In a large oven-proof skillet on medium-high heat melt half the butter & half the EVOO until hot. Add the whole mushrooms and cook 5 minutes until golden brown. Add the onion and cook 3-4 minutes then add the garlic & parsley. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove the mushroom mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet on medium-high heat, add the remaining butter and EVOO. Once hot, place seasoned chicken breasts in a single layer and sear quickly about 2 minutes on each side, just to get golden brown. Do not overcook as the chicken will finish cooking when everything is combined. Remove chicken and drain in layers on paper towels. Set aside.
In the same skillet on high, add the Maderia wine and boil until reduced by half, approximately 6-8 minutes. Add the beef broth and boil for about 10 -12 minutes until reduced to half.
Reduce heat to medium. Stir in heavy cream and simmer until sauce thickens. Season with salt & pepper to taste. (Sauce will not be real thick; however, you may add a small amount of flour to thicken)
Add chicken back to skillet coating both sides with sauce. Add the mushroom mixture and asparagus on top then sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella.
Broil on top rack in the oven just until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, garnish with parsley and serve.
Notes: For a large crowd, simply triple the recipe. This recipe is Gluten-Free & Keto-Friendly as long as you don’t add flour. Chicken Madeira is a delicious meal on its own but if you’re looking to stretch it, serve with pasta or rice to soak up the amazing Madeira sauce.
Casseroles are a great way to combine your family's favorite vegetables into a one-dish meal that is sure to please. Our family loves eggplant, zucchini, ricotta cheese & mozzarella (among many other foods) so we combined all those ingredients into a delicious casserole? They loved this dish so much that they requested it 3 nights in a row! You can make this casserole with or without sausage because it's just as hardy without it plus you get the added bonus of it being Gluten-Free and Keto friendly if you follow a keto diet. You and your family will love it! 😋😋
2 medium eggplants, firm to touch
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (or 1 of each, personal preference )
1 lb bulk Italian Sweet or Hot Sausage, optional (bulk country sausage can be substituted)
2 pints cherry tomatoes
8-10 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
enough EVOO to lightly coat all the sliced eggplant & zucchini before roasting, plus extra for lightly coating the baking sheet
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to season eggplant & zucchini before roasting
1 cup ricotta (we used whole milk but you can use skim or fat-free if desired)
1/2 beaten egg
2 shakes crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, grated plus extra for between layers
8 oz. mozzarella, grated & divided in half
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped & divided plus a few whole leaves for garnish
Cut the end stems from each end of the eggplant, zucchini or summer squash.
Slice into 1/2-inch thick round pieces.
With a small pastry brush, lightly brush EVOO over both sides of the eggplant and zucchini.
Position your oven racks to upper and lower thirds of your oven.
Preheat oven to 500ºF. Once it reaches 500ºF lower to 425ºF.
On a small rimmed baking sheet (no parchment paper) place tomatoes and unpeeled garlic cloves.
Drizzle 1 Tablespoon EVOO over the tomatoes & unpeeled garlic. Toss with your hands to coat, roast on the top oven rack for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes blister & garlic is soft & caramelized. Remove from oven when done and set aside to cool.
Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and drizzle a very small amount of EVOO in each pan.
Arrange the eggplant slices in a singer layer in one of the pans then arrange the zucchini in the second pan.
Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder over the tops of eggplant & zucchini only.
Using a pastry brush, use 2 Tablespoons or more of EVOO to lightly brush over the eggplant and zucchini slices in both pans (both sides).
Place pan with eggplant on top oven rack and zucchini on middle rack and roast at 425ºF for 15-25 minutes until nicely browned but not burnt. Zucchini might brown before the eggplant so check often as individual oven temperatures vary.
Once browned, use a spatula to flip eggplant & zucchini over. Continue roasting the eggplant & zucchini until brown, about 10 minutes, checking often.
Once done, remove from oven & let cool.
In a medium skillet brown the bulk sausage meat until fully cooked. Drain & set aside in a bowl until ready to begin layering process.
In a medium bowl combine 1 cup ricotta, red pepper flakes, 1/2 beaten egg, 2 Tablespoons chopped basil, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and 6 oz mozzarella. Drizzle a tsp of EVOO and mix with a fork to combine. Add salt to taste.
Remove the cooked garlic cloves from the cooled tomato pan & move to a cutting board. Using a fork, press on the skins to remove the soft, caramelized garlic. The skins can be discarded. Mash the cloves into a paste then add to the ricotta mixture and combine well.
In a shallow 2-qt baking dish drizzle some EVOO on the bottom. Arrange 1/3 of the eggplant & zucchini in a single layer. Add 1/3 the blistered tomatoes and scatter them around. Add a dollop of ricotta evenly over each vegetable section (do not spread, leave dollop as is). Add half the drained cooked sausage and sprinkle on top of ricotta dollops. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Tear some of the basil leaves and generously scatter around the first layer.
Repeat step 18 & 19 for the second layer.
Add remaining ricotta mixture on top of the second layer, top with remaining slices of eggplant & zucchini then add the remaining tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Roman cheese and top with remaining shredded mozzarella.
Bake approximately 20 – 25 minutes at 425 ºF or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbling.
Remove from oven. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve.
Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting & serving
Slice the eggplant & zucchini into 1/2″ thick rounds
Place Combination of Eggplant & Zucchini on bottom of 2-qt casserole dish
Add 1/3 of the roasted tomatoes
Add 1/3 ricotta in dollops then sprinkle with chopped basil & top with cooked sausage
Add the second layer
top with remaining ricotta mixture & top with Mozzarella
Notes: 2 large and 1 small rimmed baking sheets are needed for this recipe. We used Neese’s Country Sausage (bulk) in this recipe; however, the meat is optional. Add some sauteed mushrooms if you’re a mushroom lover like Teresa is. Can be served as a main dish (4-5 servings) or a side dish (6-8 servings).
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.
Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe link below)