Tuscan Bean Soup - Twiins Style
With the first spoonful of our savory Tuscan Bean Soup you will be swept away to Tuscany admiring the sunflowers. 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 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
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 small piece of rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 3 ounces Ditalini pasta (any small 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 ditalini to the soup. (If you’re making more than 3 oz of pasta, we recommend you cook it separately & add it right before serving.)
- Bring to a slow boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are done.
- While the soup is simmering, prepare the ditalini pasta following package directions.
- Ladle soup into bowls & add the pasta. Sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano). Enjoy!
Note: You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta before freezing.
To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth & GF pasta.
Valerie's Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Pignolis
Today my dear friend Valerie Kachura served this delicious cauliflower side dish while hosting our weekly social bridge group. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of cauliflower but I know it has many health benefits so when I saw our good friend Roz's face light up with delight, I knew I had to try it! It was delicious! I think this will be my new favorite side-dish. Thank you, Valerie, for feeding our group so well, and graciously letting me share your recipe. 😋❤
- 1 large head of cauliflower, rinsed and separated by large florets
- 1/4 cup pignolis
- 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground curry powder
- 1/4 -1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 1/4 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a large bowl combine, cauliflower, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and curry powder. Mix well.
- Place in a casserole dish and bake 20 minutes until almost done.
- Sprinkle pignolis and grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top of cauliflower.
- Place casserole back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes until starting to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven and serve.
Notes: This is a naturally gluten-free side dish
Empanadas are little hand-held pies that can be served as an appetizer, lunch or dessert depending on the size and filling. Traditional empanadas are shaped like half moons. We were inspired by the upcoming celebration of Valentine’s Day so we shaped ours into hearts that you can enjoy with your special someone. ❤
These empanadas smelled so good while they were baking, for a moment we thought we were walking down a street in Argentina! We could hardly wait to eat them. They are filled with a delicious combination of meat, vegetable & cheese.
Servings: 6-8 (depending on the size of your cookie cutter. We used a 5″ x 4″ heart-shaped)
- 1 Easy Empanada Flaky Dough Recipe
- 3 Tablespoons EVOO
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (or frozen cubes)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese (cheddar or any cheese of your choice)
- 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan Reggiano
- 2 lbs bulk hot country sausage, no casings (we use Neese’s)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- salt & pepper to taste
- Prepare the Easy Empanada Flaky Dough
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Sauté onion & garlic in EVOO on medium-low until soft & lightly golden, 5-10 minutes. Add oregano & cumin. Stir another minute.
- Turn heat up to medium and add spinach, cook, stirring until spinach is wilted & soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat & let cool. Season with salt & pepper.
- Put bulk sausage in skillet, Cook and brown while breaking up into smaller pieces until done.
- Remove from heat and spoon sausage meat onto paper towels removing as much fat/grease as possible. Do not clean skillet at this time, keep sausage fat in skillet.
- Add flour to the skillet and whisk the milk gradually until mixture is smooth.
- Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs. Return to heat and cook, stirring until mixture comes to another boil and thickens, the sauce will be a paste consistency.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Chop the cooled spinach, onion & garlic mixture. Add into the cheese sauce along with well-drained sausage.
- Roll out the empanada dough to 1/8″ thickness. Cut 2 hearts with a 5″ x 4″ heart-shaped cookie cutter. Brush the edges of 1 heart lightly with egg wash.
- Place 2 Tablespoons of filling in center of the heart, cover with another heart-shaped cutout. Press edges together firmly all around with thumb or forefinger forming a sort of scalloped edge. Brush with egg wash then bake about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm.
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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