Pastiera Napoletana (Easter Grain Pie)

  • Servings: 2 pies
  • Difficulty: Medium

We are so excited to share our all-time family favorite Easter dessert with you, Pastiera Napoletana or Easter Grain Pie, also known as Pizza Grano. During our trip to Italy last year, at a farmhouse dinner in Naples, we had a wonderful dessert at the end of our meal. As soon as we tasted it we thought it was just like Grandma Florence & Mom used to make! That unique flavor was such a wonderful memory for us. After Grandma and Mom passed away, the only time we could enjoy Pastiera Napoletana was to buy it at the Italian bakery during Easter time. We searched high & low throughout all of our recipe folders & boxes for their recipe but never found it. Then while gathering our recipes for this blog, we discovered that Teresa's daughter Tracy had it, or should I say had all 3 versions of the same recipe... Mom's handwriting and instructions made it somewhat challenging to decipher. Our first bite took us back in time...we nailed it! Don't be intimidated by the many steps to this recipe. We know it seems like a lot of work but if you break it down as we recommend, it's not difficult. If you're looking to add to your holiday traditions, this recipe is well worth it! Happy Easter 🐰 🐰

Ingredients

  • GRAIN
  • 1 jar 580 gr Grano Cotto (we use Fratelli D’Amico Cooked Wheat Grain– 20.5 oz)
  • 3 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 lbs. whole milk ricotta (wrap in cheesecloth then put in a large strainer inside a bowl in the refrigerator overnight to drain excess liquid)
  • FILLING
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Paradise Candied Citron (diced)
  • 1/4 cup Paradise Candied Orange Peel (diced)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (slightly heaping)
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 drops Fiori di Sicilia
  • DOUGH
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 Tablespoons salted butter – cold
  • 1/4 vegetable shortening – cold
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ice water (1 Tablespoon at a time as needed)

Directions

  1. DAY 1 – First Step grain filling.
  2. In a 6 qt pot, add the jar of Grano Cotto, milk and butter. Cook on the lowest heat setting of your stove for about 2 -4 hours. Stir frequently to avoid burning bottom. Do not let the milk curdle. The mixture should be thick & creamy and the grain extremely soft. (On the lowest burner setting it was still too hot so we put an additional stove grill on top of the cooking burner and it was just right to prevent the milk from curdling, see pictures below.)
  3. Add additional milk if it dries out before the grains are soft.
  4. Once the grain mixture is done, pour in a bowl and cool. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Day 2 – Make the Dough
  6. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, vanilla, salt, sugar and orange zest. Mix to combine well.
  7. Add the cold butter, shortening and mix until it looks combined. You should see little pieces of butter & shortening not mixed throughout.
  8. Add the eggs and mix until the dough starts to come together.
  9. While the mixer is still running, add 1 Tablespoon of ice water at a time until the dough starts to form a ball.
  10. Dump out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a round ball then cut into 2 equal portions.
  11. Roll each piece into a round ball until smooth. Cut 1/3 off each dough ball (use a scale to weigh each for accuracy). You should end up with 2 large dough balls and 2 small dough balls. Wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap then slightly flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for about an hour.
  12. Day 2 – Make Part 2 of the Grain Filling (Ricotta Filling)
  13. Using the whisk attachment, place the drained ricotta into the large bowl of your standing mixer. Add the sugar and eggs. Whisk until smooth, a few minutes on the low setting.
  14. Add the cooled grain mixture and continue to mix a few minutes until well incorporated.
  15. Lastly, add the citron, cinnamon, and Fiori di Sicilia. Mix on low until blended. Set aside until ready to fill pie pan.
  16. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter two 9-inch metal pie pans and set aside.
  17. Work with one of the larger dough balls at a time and roll out onto a floured surface to about 12 inches round. Place over one of the metal pie pans; make sure the dough is hanging over the pan edge.
  18. Fill the dough with half of the grain & ricotta filling but do not overfill. The filling should be about 1/2 inch below pan ridge. The filling rises quite a bit during baking.
  19. Lightly apply water around the rim of the pie dough. This will seal the dough to the strips in the next step.
  20. Using the small balls of dough, roll out onto a floured surface then cut strips about 1 inch wide. Lay them across diagonally to form a diamond pattern.
  21. Using the overhanging dough, pull up & over the strips & press to seal. Place completed pie on a large baking sheet and repeat the same process for the second pie.
  22. Bake approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or a little longer. The filling should be set, not jiggle. The crust should be golden brown. If the edges brown faster than the top, cover edges with foil.
  23. When done, remove from oven and let pies cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
  24. Day 3 – Remove pie from the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a great cup of coffee or espresso.

Notes: Don’t overfill the pie pan as depicted below. Teresa got a little carried away forgetting we had another pie pan to fill.🤦🏻‍♀️

Must be room temperature before refrigerating.

 

 

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Easter Egg Breakfast Baskets (Pupa Cu L’ova)

  • Servings: 12-20
  • Difficulty: Medium

Pupa Cu L'ova means Eggs in a basket in Italian and is a traditional Easter breakfast enjoyed by children & adults throughout Italy. One of our fondest memories of Easter morning (besides getting chocolate filled baskets from the Easter Bunny) is eating these delicious Eggs in a Basket for breakfast. Every Easter our mom and her sister (Aunt Sally) would bake these delicious treats while we all looked forward to eating them. Our parents enjoyed them over their morning coffee while we enjoyed them with a glass of milk. Traditionally this scone type muffin is made with anise flavoring but our children preferred vanilla flavoring with our secret ingredient, Fiori di Sicilia. Your family will love these for breakfast.

Happy Easter

Ingredients

  • DOUGH
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt, pink Himalayan
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup Crisco shortening or leaf lard
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1 tsp quality vanilla extract (not imitation vanilla)
  • 1/2 tsp Fiori di Sicilia
  • Muffin tin (12 muffins)
  • ICING
  • 1 cup confectioners powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
  • 3 drops Fiori di Sicilia
  • DECORATIONS
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened depending on your taste)
  • green food coloring
  • 12 colored eggs (raw for medium cooked eggs or partially cook 3 minutes in hot water  for hard-cooked egg )
  • colored sprinkles or nonpareils

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Cut butter & shortening into the flour mixture by hand until crumbly (a stand mixer can also be used).
  4. In a medium bowl mix eggs, 1/4 cup milk and flavorings.
  5. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture.
  6. Mix until dough is smooth and can form into a ball.
  7. Roll out on a very lightly floured silicone baking pad or board to about 1/2-inch thickness.
  8. Using a 4-inch cookie cutter, cut 12 rounds of dough.
  9. Cut 24   1/2-inch wide strips to form an X or criss-cross over each muffin cup.
  10. Press gently into a lightly buttered muffin tin. Carefully press dough to the inside of each muffin cup.
  11. With a small fork, pierce the bottom of each cup.
  12. Place 1 colored egg into each cup, wide side down.
  13. Take 2 strips for each muffin and criss-cross over the egg, pinching onto the edge of the basket. Make sure you get the egg as straight as possible as they may shift in baking.
  14. Bake at 375º F for 22 minutes until lightly browned.
  15. When lightly browned, remove from oven and place muffin tin on a cooling rack. Let cool about 1 hour then remove from tin and continue cooling on rack.
  16. Put shredded coconut and 20 drops of green food coloring into a large plastic storage bag. Shake well until the desired color is achieved.
  17. In a small saucepan whisk the confectioner’s powdered sugar with 2 Tablespoons milk and 2-3 drops of Fiori di Sicilia flavoring. Heat on very low stove setting until mixture just starts turning warm. The icing cannot be reheated if it turns hard so work quickly. Immediately use a  small pastry brush, paint the icing onto the basket strips then dip in colored sprinkles.
  18. Take a pastry brush and paint the basket perimeter with icing, then using a small spoon, add the green shredded coconut and pat lightly, making sure to cover well. Gently shake excess coconut off.
  19. Serve the day you make these, just after decorating.

Notes: The baked texture should be similar to scones. The colored raw egg will have a cooked, soft yoke but not runny when baked for 22 minutes. Easter Egg Baskets are best served right after decorating while the egg is still warm.

If you won’t be serving the same day, refrigerate and allow to reach room temperature before serving.

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St. Joseph’s Spaghetti (Pasta con Sarde)

st joseph spaghettiMarch 19th has always been a special day of celebration for our family for that’s the day we celebrate the Feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph). This feast honors Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and earthly father to Jesus.  Considered by Sicilians as the Patron Saint of their region, St. Joseph is said to have saved Sicily’s residents during one of their many devastating droughts. It is believed that the residents prayed to St. Joseph for rain. Their prayers were answered when the rain came. Their spring crops were spared from being destroyed, which prevented a widespread famine for Sicily. It is believed that this is the reason the celebration is held in March.

We celebrate every year because Joseph is the namesake of several of our family members, starting with our grandfather, father, son/nephew and 2  grandsons (Joseph as their middle name).

The menu for a St. Joseph celebration is rooted in the Sicilian tradition and because the holiday falls during Lent, meat is not eaten during the celebration, hence the sardine sauce. We can remember Grandma Tessie cooking spaghetti with a combination of sardines, onions, fennels, & raisins for the sauce topped with toasted breadcrumbs, known as the “poor man’s Parmigiano”, representing the sawdust left behind after a day’s work in his carpenter’s shop. She cooked this meal (which we grew to love) every March 19 until she was 97. At that last celebration, she asked who would carry on this tradition when she was gone. I told her not to worry, that I would. For the past 16 years, I have been making the Pasta con Sarde just as Grandma did, which is especially enjoyed by our Dad. The focus of the meal is on the Pasta con Sarde but we also enjoy the St. Joseph’s pastries. I always get them from Patsy’s & Son Italian Bakery in Lindenhurst, New York. They are the best I ever tasted and I’m a bit of a cannoli cream snob! If you find yourself on Long Island, do stop in to try their cannolis & cassata cake.

patsy store front

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups prepared Basic Tomato Sauce
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tablespoons EVOO
  • Pecorino Romano grated cheese for garnish
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
  • 1 lb thin spaghetti (slightly thicker than angel hair/capellini)

Instructions

  1. Sauté crushed garlic in EVOO in a large pot until golden. (Do not burn)
  2. Add the can of Cuoco Condimento per Pasta con Sarde.
  3. Stir well and simmer about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour 4 cups of prepared Basic Tomato Sauce to the sardine mixture breaking up the large pieces of sardines. Simmer about 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, toast the breadcrumbs in oven or stovetop,  but do not burn. Set aside in a serving dish.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt & a drop of EVOO.
  7. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  8. Warm a large serving bowl or platter then put the cooked pasta in it.
  9. Take some of the sauce mixture to coat the pasta & toss well.
  10. Add pasta to individual dishes and top with extra sauce, breadcrumbs & grated cheese.

Note: Our family likes to add a spoonful of ricotta cheese on top (optional).

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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Zucchini Lasagna/Ravioli

Gluten-Free, Low Carb

If you love ravioli or lasagna and want to cut down on carbs this is the recipe you’ve been waiting for! Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s so easy to make. Zucchini makes a great substitute for the traditional lasagna noodle or ravioli while delivering that classic Italian flavor. It can be layered like lasagna or folded into a ravioli style. Trust us…you will not be disappointed.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ricotta, whole milk
  • 4 medium zucchini ( if making lasagna, add more zucchini for more than 2 layers)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Basil, thinly sliced & divided
  • EVOO for greasing casserole or baking dish
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1½ cups Basic Tomato Sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. Lightly drizzle EVOO into a large casserole or baking dish.
  3. Add a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce and spread evenly.
  4. Wash zucchini and cut off ends.
  5. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise then, use a vegetable peeler to thinly slice each zucchini into flat strips. (stop peeling when you reach the center or slices will get too narrow).
  6. In a medium bowl mix the ricotta, egg, Pecorino Romano, garlic, 2 Tablespoons basil, and season with salt & pepper to taste. Mix well.

 Lasagna Option: Spoon a few tablespoons of tomato sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish or lasagna pan.

  1. Lay strips of zucchini noodles in bottom of the baking dish so that they overlap lengthwise.
  2. Spoon about half the ricotta mixture over zucchini and gently spread over noodles.
  3. Spoon a little tomato sauce over the filling and spread evenly.
  4. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  5. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella on top and repeat layers, ending with mozzarella on top.
  6. Bake on middle rack until cheese is melted and starting to brown lightly about 25-30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and top with remaining basil and grated cheese. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.  If too much liquid from the zucchini is present use a turkey baster to remove excess.

Ravioli Option: Spoon a few tablespoons of tomato sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish or lasagna pan.

  1. Using 4 strips of zucchini,  place 2 slightly overlapping on a flat surface in a vertical position. Place the other 2 strips horizontally to form an even cross.
  2. Spoon approximately 1 Tablespoon of ricotta mixture in the center of the zucchini cross.
  3. Starting from the top fold down strips to cover the mixture. Repeat with the 3 remaining sides. Place seam side down into baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle with grated cheese, basil, and top with mozzarella.
  5. Bake at  375º F oven on middle rack for approximately 15-20 minutes until cheese melts and starts to brown lightly.
  6. Remove from oven and top with remaining basil and grated cheese. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. If too much liquid from the zucchini is present use a turkey baster to remove excess.

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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Barbara’s Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli

When Barbara was raising her family this was one of their favorite pasta dishes. Her youngest son always requests this delicious meal every time he visits from California and even asks her to cook this dish while visiting him. It’s a quick and easy meal.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken tenders, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth to cook broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth,
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Oregano, dried
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, divided into thirds
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO + additional as needed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or frozen cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box Pasta ( we used Farfalle, use any pasta of your choice)
  • reserve 1/2 cup cooked pasta water
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated for topping

Instructions

  1. In a large pot bring salted water to a boil to cook pasta.
  2. When water boils lower heat just to keep water hot until ready to add the pasta.
  3. Cook broccoli in chicken broth in a covered microwave-safe dish 6-7 minutes in a microwave. (make sure covering is vented).
  4. In a large skillet or flat-bottomed wok add 1/3 the butter & EVOO until heated. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and softened, Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  5. Remove onion mixture and set aside.
  6. Add additional 1/3 butter and EVOO to skillet. On med-high heat add chicken pieces & lightly brown quickly on both sides, being careful not to overcook.
  7. Bring pasta water back to a boil and cook according to package directions.
  8. Reduce skillet heat and add onion mixture back to the skillet, sprinkle the dried oregano onto the chicken and onions, continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Add the cooked broccoli and chicken broth to skillet and stir well.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste,  simmer another 3 minutes add the remaining  2 Tablespoons of butter to melt into the mixture.
  11. Add cooked pasta to chicken mixture and toss well. If needed add reserved pasta water a little at a time until the desired consistency.
  12. Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese and serve.

Note: Sauté mushrooms in butter for a variation as shown in the last photo below.

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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Teresa’s Chicken Caccitore

If you’re looking for a real crowd pleaser with a little kick, look no further! This chicken dish is full of flavor and can be served with your favorite pasta or rice.

This is a gluten-free recipe; however, you can substitute regular flour and chicken broth if gluten isn’t a worry.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs, skin on (with or without the bone)
  • Basic Tomato Sauce (use the full recipe)
  • 1½ lbs. Barilla pasta of your choice
  • Bob’s Red Mills® Gluten Free all-purpose flour (regular all purpose flour may be substituted)
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning (we use Morton & Bassett)
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 4-6 frozen Dorot® garlic cubes (regular garlic cloves, minced, may be substituted)
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 3/4 – 1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup low sodium Progresso ® chicken broth (gluten-free)
  • 3 Tablespoons drained capers
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. Season chicken with Italian seasoning, salt & pepper.
  2. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour.
  3. In a large skillet, add EVOO over medium-high heat.
  4. Add chicken and cook until golden brown on each side.
  5. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.
  6. Add peppers, onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the skillet (add EVOO to skillet if necessary). Saute until sweated and tender.
  7. Add wine & chicken broth. Simmer until reduced by half.
  8. Add capers and tomato sauce, stir well. Cook about 5 minutes on low.
  9. Add the chicken back to the skillet. Cook on medium low for 15-20 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  10. Place cooked pasta on a large serving platter & top with chicken and sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and grated Pecorino Romano cheese (we use Cello from Costco).

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.

Picture coming soon!

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Shrimp Scampi 🍤🍤

Servings: 4-6                  Prep: 10-15 minutes                 Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

When our families were young, Barbara used to host Christmas Eve dinners in her tiny cape cod house. We never had a sit-down dinner back then so we would be scattered all over the kitchen and living room with 25 adults and children, give or take, but who’s counting? Her shrimp scampi became a favorite part of Christmas Eve dinner but you don’t need to wait for a holiday to enjoy it.  In our families, we usually serve this over pasta topped with Pecorino Romano grated cheese. 😋 😋

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs large raw shrimp
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • lemon slices for garnish (may be omitted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Remove shells from shrimp, leaving the shell on the tail section only.
  3. Devein then wash under running cold water, and drain on paper towels.
  4. Melt butter in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish in the oven.
  5. Add the salt, garlic, and 2 Tablespoon parsley; mix well.
  6. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in baking dish.
  7. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes.
  8. Turn the shrimp. Sprinkle with lemon peel, lemon juice, and remaining parsley.
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes, or just until tender. Do Not overcook shrimp or they will be tough.  (If using smaller shrimp, cut down on the cooking time)
  10. Arrange shrimp on a heated serving platter. Pour garlic butter over all. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.

Serve over linguini pasta†, rice or a nice crusty Italian bread to soak up the butter.

†If serving over pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water after cooking to add to the butter sauce before serving.

Variation: Try adding some bay scallops to the shrimp!

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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Barbara’s 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!

Ingredients

Servings: 8-10

  • Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe 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
  • 4 heaping handfuls of Pecorino Romano grated cheese (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, diced Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe below)

Instructions

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

Basic Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 28-ounce cans San Marzano whole tomatoes (break up with your hands or a ricer)
  • 1 lb. Italian sweet or hot sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2 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 1 hour (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.

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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Rigatoni with Sausage, Eggplant & Fennel

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (we use Cento or 28-ounces prepared Basic Tomato Sauce )
  • 2 medium eggplants, cubed
  • coarse salt to sprinkle over cubed eggplant to drain excess water
  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (we use Dorot frozen crushed cubes)
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta (we use Barilla)
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (we use Cello from Costco)
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta (we use Galbani Classic)
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 pinches of Italian seasoning (we use Morton & Bassett)
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish

Instructions

  • Add cubed eggplant to a colander along with a generous amount of course salt & drain for 30 minutes.
  • Heat EVOO in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add pancetta and cook 4-5 minutes until browned & crispy, stirring occasionally. Add sausage to skillet & cook 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Remove the sausage & pancetta with a slotted spoon. Set aside in large bowl.
  • Set aside 3 Tablespoons of the oil & fat from the skillet and discard the rest.
  • Add fennel & onions to skillet along with a pinch of salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Add eggplant to fennel & onions and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the sausage & pancetta mixture back to the skillet.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Simmer for 40 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • While mixture is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain pasta in a colander.
  • Add the pasta and the 1/2 cup pasta water to the skillet then cook 1 additional minute to incorporate. Stir in the 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese.
  • Add the pasta to a large serving bowl and top with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and basil leaves.

This is a fabulous dish for a gathering of good friends accompanied by a simple salad, crusty Italian bread and a glass of dry red wine.

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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