Sourdough Gnocchetti Sardi with Basil Pesto Sauce

Like a lazy summer in a bowl, this creamy basil pesto sauce has extra creaminess and flavor from the addition of soft cultured dairy. Serve it with your favorite homemade pasta for a true summer treat! Everyone knows and loves pesto, and you probably already have a go-to recipe. But this one is putting up […]

The post Sourdough Gnocchetti Sardi with Basil Pesto Sauce first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

Like a lazy summer in a bowl, this creamy basil pesto sauce has extra creaminess and flavor from the addition of soft cultured dairy. Serve it with your favorite homemade pasta for a true summer treat!

Everyone knows and loves pesto, and you probably already have a go-to recipe. But this one is putting up stiff competition: with a perfect proportion of bright green basil, pine nuts, oil, and a mix of 3 kinds of cheese, it’s definitely a contender for your new favorite pesto.

Two black bowls with homemade gnochetti with pesto sauce, black utensils and basil leaves

Basil just tastes like summer.

Whether sliced into ribbons and sprinkled over a slice of juicy tomato, or blanched and blended into the perfect pesto, basil is undeniably one of summer’s best flavors.

By August, our patio basil plant is overflowing its pot, with lush, green leaves the size of my hand and the petite white flowers that I can hardly pinch back fast enough.

Which is why this is the perfect time of year for gloriously big batches of pesto.

In fact, when my basil starts to bolt I’ll often hack it down to the roots, using the entire plant in a triple batch of pesto that I’ll freeze for later, and replant a fresh young basil plant that will last easily last me through to the fall. This year I may even try to keep a fresh basil plant going through the winter in my kitchen window (it’s on the shady side of the house so I’ve never had much luck before, but I’m determined to persevere).

Overhead, shallow black pasta bowl with homemade gnochetti sardi in pesto sauce, with linen, grated cheese and basil leaves

This pesto sauce is slightly different from your typical pesto, in that it adds a little bit of Prescinsêua cheese, a soft cultured cheese from the Ligurian region of Italy. I haven’t been able to find it locally, but luckily Greek yogurt or ricotta, or a mix of the two, works just as well. I love the added creaminess it gives the sauce, and the barest hint of tang from the culture pairs beautifully with the subtle notes of sourdough in the pasta.

The recipe comes from the Pasta Grannies cookbook, one of my new favorites. It’s the next best thing to actually having an Italian grandmother.

In the book, this basil sauce is served with fresh steamed green beans and homemade trofie pasta (and if you want to make sourdough trofie, by all means go for it!) I opted for gnochetti sardi since I find it much easier to make.

I’ve scaled down the pesto sauce just a bit, and added the extra step of blanching the basil (because that older, end-of-summer basil can often have a harsh bite to it that isn’t ideal).

Closeup, homemade gnochetti sardi pasta with bright green pesto sauce and grated pecorino, in a black bowl with matte black fork Metal strainer pouring freshly cooked gnochetti sardi into a bowl spread with pesto sauce Stirring freshly cooked pasta in a bowl with pesto sauce

Rather than tossing the pesto with the cooked pasta in the big pot (that’s a total pain to clean up later), I spoon a bit of pesto sauce into each serving bowl, and put the freshly drained pasta right on top. The residual water on the pasta will help loosen the pesto, making for a smooth, even coating.

Italians are very intentional with their pasta shapes, choosing a shape that best serves the sauce. These gnochetti sardi, similar to the original trofie called for in this recipe, do a great job at holding on to the bits of pesto in the grooves and swirls of the pasta shape. Whereas something like fettuccine, with a smoother texture, would have a harder time sticking and you’d end up with less sauce per bite.

Gnochetti with bright green pesto sauce in black ceramic bowls and black forks on a gray background

Blanch your Basil

Blanching basil gives the pesto a brighter green color and a cleaner flavor, and makes the pesto less prone to oxidizing (meaning it won’t turn brown the second it touches the air).

Unless you have a bumper crop of young basil, I highly recommend taking the extra minute and blanching your basil first. You can even use the same pot of boiling water you’ll be using for your pasta! After about 20 seconds, fish out the basil using a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer and place it in a bath of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once it’s cool enough to handle, grab the blanched basil, squeeze out any excess water, and then place it in the blender or food processor to make your pesto.

I personally found the blender to work the best for this recipe, although the pesto can get a bit thick (in which case just add a splash of pasta water and it should ease it along). But you can also use a food processor here too.

Closeup, overhead bowl of gnochetti sardi with pesto sauce and fork

The pesto sauce recipe makes enough for about 4 servings of pasta. You can use the homemade sourdough pasta recipe I posted earlier this week (in the shape of your choice), or swap in your favorite fresh or dried pasta instead.

If you have leftover pesto, it keeps well in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days (the top may discolor just a little bit but not nearly as much as if the basil weren’t blanched).

Pesto is also easily frozen, so if you find yourself swimming in basil, feel free to double or even triple this recipe. Whatever you don’t use right away, just spoon into a zip-top bag and seal. Label, and freeze the bag flat to make for neat storage. Then you’ll have a stash of summery pesto to help brighten even the dreariest winter day.

Sourdough Gnocchetti Sardi with Basil Pesto Sauce

Sourdough Gnocchetti Sardi with Basil Pesto Sauce

Your new favorite pesto recipe is here: with a perfect proportion of bright green basil, pine nuts, oil, cheese, and a bit of extra creaminess and flavor from the addition of soft cultured dairy.

Ingredients:

  • 75g fresh basil leaves
  • 40g grated parmesan
  • 20g grated pecorino, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 plump garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (can also use ricotta cheese)
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) good extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 400g fresh homemade pasta (or 12oz of dried pasta of your choice), cooked as instructed

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with cold water and ice.
  2. Blanch basil in boiling water for 20 seconds, then quickly transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. This extra step of blanching the basil will result in a brighter green color, a cleaner flavor, and help prevent the pesto from oxidizing. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water.
  3. If using whole blocks of cheese, cut into pieces and place them right in the blender or food processor, then pulse until finely grated. If you are grating extra cheese for topping, do this first, then spoon out the extra cheese and set aside.
  4. Add pine nuts, garlic and yogurt to blender along with blanched and drained basil. Pulse until coarsely chopped, then add olive oil and blend until smooth. If pesto is too thick, add a splash or two of pasta water to help thin it out. Taste, then season with salt and pepper as desired (the cheeses are salty enough you may not need to add extra).
  5. Smear a generous spoonful of pesto in the bottom of each serving bowl. Using a large slotted spoon or mesh skimmer, remove pasta from water and place directly into bowls on top of pesto (it’s ok if they are not drained dry, the extra bit of water will help the loosen the pesto and coat the pasta easier). Toss to coat. Top with a bit of grated cheese, if desired, and serve warm.

Adapted from Pasta Grannies.

All images and text © Lindsay Landis /

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Spicy Mushroom Lasagna

When the very first Ottolenghi book came out, I had no idea what this mysterious restaurant, or person, was. But I was immediately captivated by the spectacular salads, cakes, vegetables, flatbreads, and more piled up on tables at Ottolenghi. The pictures in the book had a vibrancy that I’d not seen in any other cookbook before; mounds of vibrant-green fresh herbs piled atop salads, charred…

When the very first Ottolenghi book came out, I had no idea what this mysterious restaurant, or person, was. But I was immediately captivated by the spectacular salads, cakes, vegetables, flatbreads, and more piled up on tables at Ottolenghi. The pictures in the book had a vibrancy that I’d not seen in any other cookbook before; mounds of vibrant-green fresh herbs piled atop salads, charred vegetables and lavish use of tahini (which I narrowly once thought was only used to make hummus), and plum-marzipan cakes with the rosy, glistening fruit juices sliding off the top and pooling at the bottom. Wow.

We’ve since seen that style in plenty of other books, but the Ottolenghi books continue to evolve and each one marks another evolution in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking. And even when you don’t think he could come up with another great idea, he does.

Flavor is Yotam Ottlenghi’s latest book which he’s written with Ixta Belfrage. The title refers to the concept of the book, which is about how (and which) ingredients can be used to amplify flavors when cooking and baking. Ixta had a multicultural upbringing and she’s brought references and flavors from around the world in this book, which includes this Spicy Mushroom Lasagna. The recipe features dried and fresh mushrooms, as well as dried chiles, likely influenced by Mexico where she spent time with her grandfather, who lived there. The photo of it in the book made me want to make it. So I did!

Continue Reading Spicy Mushroom Lasagna...

Orecchiette with Bacon and Wilted Frisée

This easy weeknight pasta recipe will satisfy all your senses: with chunky bits of bacon and delicate wilted frisée and a mountain of freshly shredded Pecorino cheese. Quick and easy is the name of the game with this orecchiette pasta dish. It’s satisfying and flavorful, and even manages to get some greens in there in […]

This easy weeknight pasta recipe will satisfy all your senses: with chunky bits of bacon and delicate wilted frisée and a mountain of freshly shredded Pecorino cheese.

Quick and easy is the name of the game with this orecchiette pasta dish. It’s satisfying and flavorful, and even manages to get some greens in there in a surprisingly delicious way.

Bowl of orecchiette on a vintage wood board with a silver fork

Much like escarole, frisée is a unique, sturdy green that’s a bit too bitter to really enjoy as part of a salad. For me at least!

And other than soup, pastas are our favorite way to handle these slightly-bitter greens; in this case, slightly wilted and coated in bacon-y goodness which really does wonders to allay the bitterness.

Overhead, bowl of pasta with bacon and wilted frisee on a wooden board with pepper flakes and pecorino cheese

We first made this pasta months ago; I even shot it and wrote up a draft, but never published it because something just wasn’t quite right. Turns out, it was the pasta shape that was the problem. We originally used bucatini, which is one of our all-time favorite pasta shapes, but when used in this recipe it makes it really hard to get a nice ‘bite’ that includes all the goods in a single forkful. All the bits and toppings tend to settle in the bottom of your bowl.

That’s where orecchiette is so perfect: the little pasta ‘ears’ basically serve as scoops for the good stuff.

Anyone else reminded of those little rubber poppers you’d get from the quarter machines? You know, the ones you’d flip inside out, set on the table then hold your breath until they went flying? Just me?

Also: I will never spell orecchiette right on the first try. Heck, I can barely spell it right on the second, I usually end up having to google it and copy the spelling from there. It’s even worse than mozzarella or prosciutto!

Orecchiette: impossible to spell, effortless to eat.

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Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpea Stew)

Falling somewhere between a brothy stew and a saucy tomato pasta dish, Pasta e Ceci (pasta and chickpeas) is Italian comfort food at its finest. With a tomato based broth, chickpeas, ditalini pasta, and wilted escarole, this one-pot vegetarian stew is a hearty and satisfying meal in and of itself. Don’t forget to top it […]

Falling somewhere between a brothy stew and a saucy tomato pasta dish, Pasta e Ceci (pasta and chickpeas) is Italian comfort food at its finest.

With a tomato based broth, chickpeas, ditalini pasta, and wilted escarole, this one-pot vegetarian stew is a hearty and satisfying meal in and of itself. Don’t forget to top it with a pile of shaved pecorino cheese!

Ceramic bowl with pasta and chickpea stew on a ceramic plate with two spoons and a napkin.

Look, I know it’s officially summer and here I am posting a hearty stew recipe. We’ve been making this pasta e ceci stew or variations of it since March to use up all those canned beans in our pantry, and have finally perfected it to a point where it’s too good not to share. And who says you can’t eat stew in the summer? I mean, I certainly enjoy a nice scoop of ice cream no matter how cold it is, so why should hot stew be any different?

This classic Roman recipe falls somewhere in between a stew and a saucy tomato pasta, with a thick, saucy broth and satisfying bites of ditalini pasta and protein-rich chickpeas.

Overhead view of ceramic bowl with pasta e ceci stew and two spoons

While the roots of this recipe can be traced to a Roman peasant dish, there are myriad variations out there, the only thing they have in common is that they all have pasta and chickpeas (obviously). Some versions are more soup-like, some more tomato-heavy than others, and some feature heartier additions like greens or meat.

We loosely based our version on this recipe from Colu Henry (her book, Back Pocket Pasta, is one of our all-time favorite cookbooks).

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Pici Cacio e Pepe

After having the Pici Cacio e Pepe at Padella (a pasta restaurant in Borough Market, London), I became kind of obsessed with it. It was like nothing else I’d had before with wobbly, worm-like noodles and a rich yet light sauce packed with a salty, tangy punch. Black pepper wasn’t something I’d ever had as a main seasoning in a dish but it worked so well here. My brother and I discovered that there was a video on Jamie Oliver’s youtube channel of Tim Siadatan, the head chef of Padella, making said cacio e pepe. He only gives actual quantities for the pasta dough part and has the sauce ingredients in rough quantities. We made it like this, following his directions, and it worked so wonderfully. Since then, I’d made the dish quite a few times but since I was never measuring ingredients, the results were varied! I decided to finally measure everything out as I went and tested it a couple of times with my proper written recipe so I could type it up for here. Traditional cacio e pepe uses Pecorino cheese (and no lemon! and also I think no butter?) in the sauce. I use Parmesan cheese […]

The post Pici Cacio e Pepe appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Pici cacio e pepe from padella recipe at home

After having the Pici Cacio e Pepe at Padella (a pasta restaurant in Borough Market, London), I became kind of obsessed with it. It was like nothing else I’d had before with wobbly, worm-like noodles and a rich yet light sauce packed with a salty, tangy punch. Black pepper wasn’t something I’d ever had as a main seasoning in a dish but it worked so well here.

nests of pici dough on a tray with ingredients for cacio e pepe

My brother and I discovered that there was a video on Jamie Oliver’s youtube channel of Tim Siadatan, the head chef of Padella, making said cacio e pepe. He only gives actual quantities for the pasta dough part and has the sauce ingredients in rough quantities. We made it like this, following his directions, and it worked so wonderfully. Since then, I’d made the dish quite a few times but since I was never measuring ingredients, the results were varied! I decided to finally measure everything out as I went and tested it a couple of times with my proper written recipe so I could type it up for here.

Traditional cacio e pepe uses Pecorino cheese (and no lemon! and also I think no butter?) in the sauce. I use Parmesan cheese because (1) Pecorino isn’t readily available/ I always have Parmesan in the fridge (2) I prefer the flavour of Parmesan as I find Pecorino too salty/sheep-y (3) At Padella they use Parmesan in the sauce and that is what this recipe is based off of. PLEASE do not come at me telling me this isn’t traditional – I know it’s not!! But it’s still delicious! ?

stretching pici dough into rectangle for cacio e pepe
cutting pici dough into strips for cacio e pepe
cutting pici dough into strips for cacio e pepe
rolling strips of pici dough into worms for cacio e pepe

This is my idea of the ultimate dinner date meal. It’s kinda fancy and needs a little more attention than your average dried pasta dish BUT you don’t need a pasta machine and it’s made with ingredients you probably already have in the fridge. It feels indulgent and restaurant-y yet rustic. I have found that it’s kind of tough to make for a crowd, with 2 servings being the ideal amount so, again, it’s perfect for date night (or Valentine’s day!).

pici cacio e pepe in two bowls with a glass of wine

I made a video of the process when I was in Mallorca last summer (which you can watch below!) and have also done a little .GIF of the pici rolling process so you can easily see how to make them. A quick note that the dough does need to be rested in the fridge so that the gluten can relax, allowing you to roll out the dough more easily. I rest it for 1 hour usually but you can rest it for up to 24 hours. Also, make sure you have all your saucy ingredients at the ready before you start boiling the pasta as it all happens v fast and you need to give it your undivided attention as you bring it all together at the end.

Hope you enjoy this one and that it becomes part of your recipe repertoire to cook again and again!

Pici Cacio e Pepe

Pici Cacio e Pepe

Yield: serves 2
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

Pici dough:

  • 200g (1 2/3 cup) strong white (bread) flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp (15g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 90g warm water
  • plain white flour or semolina, for dusting

Cacio e pepe sauce:

  • 60g (1 cup) finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 40g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 160ml (2/3 cup) pasta water

Instructions

For the pici dough:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the oil and water and mix to form a shaggy dough. Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a clean work surface and knead for 6 to 10 minutes until smooth and soft but not sticky or dry.
  2. Place into a resealable sandwich bag and chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).


When you're ready to cook, shape the pici:

  1. Once the dough has rested, remove from the bag and place onto a completely clean, dry work surface. It's super important that there is no flour on the work surface or else it will be really hard to roll out the pici!
  2. Pat the dough out into a rectangle about 12 x 20 cm (5 x 8 inches). Use a bench scraper or a butter knife to cut strips of dough which are roughly 6mm (~1/4-inch) wide x 12cm long.
  3. Use your hands, pressing lightly on a strip of dough to roll out into a long worm shape. I like to start with both my hands at the centre of the strip and work outwards whilst rolling back and forth and applying light pressure. Roll until the worm is about 3 to 4mm (~1/8-inch) thick.
  4. Dust a rimmed baking tray with semolina or a light coating of plain white flour. Pick up the dough worm and place onto the sheet.
  5. Ensure there is no flour/semolina residue on your hands and continue to roll out the remaining strips of dough, placing the worms on the baking sheet.
  6. Once your tray has been filled with worms of dough, dust these with some more semolina/plain flour and then gently gather them, lift them up and wrap them around the fingertips of one hand, forming a little bundle. Place this bundle onto the tray.
  7. Continue making worms (and forming nests, as needed) until you've shaped all the dough.
  8. Set aside for up to 20 minutes. If you let these sit for longer you risk them drying out and starting to clump together.

Bring it all together:

  1. Grate your Pecorino or Parmesan cheese and set that aside. Bash the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar (or use a pepper grinder to grind them up) and set those aside too. Have all your other ingredients measured and to hand (except the pasta water as that isn't ready yet).
  2. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil on the stove.
  3. Grab a large frying pan and add the lemon juice, butter and black pepper. Place over a medium heat on the stove.
  4. Gently drop the pici nests into the boiling pot of water - keep the heat here on max until the water comes back to a simmer and set a timer for 5 minutes. Stir gently occasionally to make sure they don't stick together.
  5. Once the pici have been cooking for about 3 minutes, scoop out 160ml (2/3 cup) of that starchy pasta water from the pot they're cooking in. Pour this into the frying pan of butter and turn the heat on the pan down to medium low.
  6. Once the 5 minutes of cooking time is up, use tongs to lift the pici into the frying pan of the pasta water-butter mixture. Sprinkle the grated cheese in an even layer over all of the pasta in the pan. Now this is the key moment - you can't stir this yet!! You have to leave this to cook over a medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. You want the cheese to start melting before you stir it together otherwise it will clump. So, leave it to cook and you'll notice that the cheese starts to melt at the edges first and gradually melts more and more towards the centre of the pan. Once the cheese in the centre is just starting to turn translucent/melty, you can toss the mixture together (I like to use tongs for this).
  7. Let bubble for 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally, to let the sauce thicken up a bit.
  8. Once the sauce looks thickened but still kind of runny, remove from the heat and divide between two bowls. Serve ASAP! Enjoy!


Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Pici Cacio e Pepe appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Cheesy Artichoke Crostini

A perfect holiday appetizer, these cheesy artichoke crostini feature a creamy artichoke dip-inspired topping atop ultra crispy crostini toasts with a sweet and tangy pepper drop on top. Looking for an easy party dish, perfect for a crowd? Look no further! These artichoke crostini toasts are creamy, crunchy, cheesy and oh so satisfying! This recipe […]

A perfect holiday appetizer, these cheesy artichoke crostini feature a creamy artichoke dip-inspired topping atop ultra crispy crostini toasts with a sweet and tangy pepper drop on top.

Looking for an easy party dish, perfect for a crowd? Look no further! These artichoke crostini toasts are creamy, crunchy, cheesy and oh so satisfying!

Cheesy Artichoke Crostini toasts arranged on a silver baking sheet with a bowl of artichoke topping and pepper drops on the side.

The holidays are all about entertaining, and whether you are hosting your own festive get-together or need a quick and portable dish to bring to the office pot luck, this savory appetizer recipe is just the ticket.

Featuring crisp and buttery crostino toasts topped with a mixture of marinated artichoke hearts and flavorful cheeses baked to golden, bubbly perfection, it’s a recipe that will satisfy all year long.

Overhead view of Artichoke Crostini on a baking sheet lined with newspaper-print parchment paper

The creamy artichoke topping falls somewhere in between a gooey artichoke dip and a traditional artichoke bruschetta, with three kinds of cheeses and a bit of mayo (but not too much!) for an ultra-creamy consistency.

A touch of minced shallot as well as a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, ample black pepper, and the sweet and tangy pepper drop gives it the perfect amount of acid and spice to balance out the rich cheese.

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Spiced Orange, Sage and Macadamia Nut Cheeseball.

It’s macadamia nut cheeseball time! I always love sharing something EASY with you on this Monday before Thanksgiving – but something that you can still make in time for Thursday! Of course, I have lots of uses for leftovers, but I wanted to give you one last creative snack that you can make if you’re […]

The post Spiced Orange, Sage and Macadamia Nut Cheeseball. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

It’s macadamia nut cheeseball time!

This macadamia nut cheeseball is flavored with fresh orange, spices, crispy sage and pecorino cheese. It's the perfect make-ahead snack!

I always love sharing something EASY with you on this Monday before Thanksgiving – but something that you can still make in time for Thursday! Of course, I have lots of uses for leftovers, but I wanted to give you one last creative snack that you can make if you’re in search of something new. It’s dreamy!

And it will complement all of your Thanksgiving table flavors SO well. It’s quite autumnal and seasonal if I do say so myself. 

ready to roll cheese ball

I know that I’ve said it a million times, but cheese balls are a thing in my family. This should come as no surprise consider BOTH (not one, but both) of my cookbooks have a cheeseball recipe inside. And I have countless cheeseballs here on the blog too. It’s slightly embarrassing. 

Much like my long-standing obsession with the blue Manolos that Carrie wears on Sex and the City or the great way I behave during arguments with Eddie:

I JUST CAN’T LET IT GO.

I can’t let the cheeseball go. And I don’t care how 80s or 90s it is. I can’t get over it!

This macadamia nut cheeseball is flavored with fresh orange, spices, crispy sage and pecorino cheese. It's the perfect make-ahead snack!

And here’s why:

First, it’s obviously delicious. A really good cheeseball, like my pomegranate jeweled cheeseball, has become a staple that people use every single year. 

Second, it’s easy. Sure, this one is slightly more high maintenance, but the reality of cheeseballs is that they are easy. Mix everything together, coat it in nuts and serve. YUM.

Finally, you can make them ahead of time and they only taste better as they sit. YEP.

This is obviously the best part of cheeseballs, especially during this hectic holiday season, when you might need to make more than one snack. You can prep the cheese ball two days ahead of time and then the night before (or morning of), coat it in crushed nuts and herbs. 

Of course, this also means that cheeseball leftovers are excellent too. Remember when I shared my first ever cheese board years ago? I show you how to make a few cheese balls in that post and they are huge hits!

Plus more: goat cheese truffles, which are basically mini cheese balls. I LOVE CHEESE.

Oh! And as a post script point: they are fantastically easy to travel with. That earns triple points in my book. 

This macadamia nut cheeseball is flavored with fresh orange, spices, crispy sage and pecorino cheese. It's the perfect make-ahead snack!

Let’s dig into the flavors though! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I’ve been wacky over spiced orange creations this season. I’ve made a spiced orange spritzer and a spiced orange vinaigrette for salad. Naturally, cheese comes next in my brain.

Obviously.

I’ve wanted to make a macadamia nut crusted cheeseball for years. I’ll be talking more about those little love nuts in the next month, but they are just.so.buttery. They impart such a rich, buttery flavor wherever they are placed, which is one of the things I love about them.

So we have cream cheese, pecorino, some crushed macadamia nuts inside, lots of fresh orange zest, a few herbs and spices. We really took our time and played with these flavors to get just the right ratio of spice to orange that we loved.

This macadamia nut cheeseball is flavored with fresh orange, spices, crispy sage and pecorino cheese. It's the perfect make-ahead snack!

However!

Everyone is different, and I suggest mixing up the concoction below and tasting it for yourself. Before you roll the ball, take a cracker and taste the cheeseball insides. If you want more orange, reach for more zest! If you want more spice, throw in some extra allspice. Remember that we do cover it in crushed macadamia nuts (and a few pecans for color) and herbs, so there will be some extra crunch and flavor on the outside.

This macadamia nut cheeseball is flavored with fresh orange, spices, crispy sage and pecorino cheese. It's the perfect make-ahead snack!

If you can’t tell, I’m nutty over this cheeseball! Pun intended. 

This macadamia nut cheeseball is flavored with fresh orange, spices, crispy sage and pecorino cheese. It's the perfect make-ahead snack!

Macadamia Nut Cheeseball

Spiced Orange, Sage and Macadamia Nut Cheese Ball

This macadamia nut cheeseball is flavored with fresh orange, spices, crispy sage and pecorino cheese. It’s the perfect make-ahead snack!

  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crispy sage ((recipe below))
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of freshly cracked black pepper

for the outside coating:

  • ⅔ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, (like parsley, sage and chives)
  1. To make the crispy sage, heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a skillet. Once melted and bubbling, add 8 to 10 sage leaves into the butter, cooking for 2 to 2 minutes. Remove the sage with kitchen tongs and place it on a paper towel to drain any excess grease.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, pecorino, nuts, chives, sage, orange zest, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir until combined and everything is evenly distributed. Taste with a cracker and determine if you would like more spice or orange. I love it just like this!
  3. Place a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter. Form the cheese mixture into somewhat of a ball and place it in the center of the plastic wrap. Wrap it up, forming it more into a ball as your go. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or even overnight. After refrigerating, you can form it into more of a ball with your hands while it’s still wrapped in plastic.
  4. To roll the cheeseball, combine the macadamia nuts, pecans and herbs on a plate, stirring them together. Place the cheeseball on the plate and roll it through, coating the outside.
  5. You can serve the cheeseball immediately or wrap it up and serve a few hours later. You can make this a day or two ahead of time, but I would wait to roll the ball in the nuts, as they will soften over time because of the cream cheese.

This macadamia nut cheeseball is flavored with fresh orange, spices, crispy sage and pecorino cheese. It's the perfect make-ahead snack!

Pita bite crackers are where it’s at.

The post Spiced Orange, Sage and Macadamia Nut Cheeseball. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Side Dish Sundays: Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts.

Newest obsession of life: cacio e pepe brussels sprouts! Oh my gosh, you guys. These are the best brussels I’ve had in my life. THE BEST. They are embarrassingly simple but have a ton of flavor. They’re salty, crispy and have a bit of a bite from the pepper. You will love them! Because cheese […]

The post Side Dish Sundays: Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Newest obsession of life: cacio e pepe brussels sprouts!

This cacio e pepe brussels are out of the world. Roasted until crisp, topped with tons of black pepper and salty pecorino cheese. Yum.

Oh my gosh, you guys.

These are the best brussels I’ve had in my life. THE BEST.

They are embarrassingly simple but have a ton of flavor. They’re salty, crispy and have a bit of a bite from the pepper. You will love them! Because cheese and pepper brussels sprouts are the only way to do it.

melted butter on brussels

Way back when I wrote Seriously Delish, I included a recipe for crispy salt and pepper brussels sprouts. You make them on the stovetop and they are quick and crispy and easy and a fave. The flavor is so good, but these… oh wow. These are the business. These take brussels to a whole new level.

The cacio e pepe brussels are roasted with tons of black pepper and pecorino. Instead of using olive oil, I use melted butter to really mimic that cacio e pepe flavor. The butter slightly browns in the oven which adds another whole dimension of flavor too. And the pecorino is extra salty so I find that I don’t even need a lot of salt – if any! 

The key is to pile a lot of pecorino on top so it bakes right on the baking sheet into that golden, crispy perfection. Then add another shower of pecorino on top after they come out of the oven. In addition to extra cracks of pepper!

WHAT.

Every time I make these, I want to devour the entire pan. Because, HELLO. They are completely addictive and everyone is a huge huge fan.

This cacio e pepe brussels are out of the world. Roasted until crisp, topped with tons of black pepper and salty pecorino cheese. Yum.

Pecorino is the best choice for cheese, but parmesan can work too. Give the pan a big heavy handed throw!

This cacio e pepe brussels are out of the world. Roasted until crisp, topped with tons of black pepper and salty pecorino cheese. Yum.

What we love to eat with cacio e pepe brussels:

These brussels are amazing as a side dish, but you can also toss them in roasted pastas and grain bowls!

Hot honey pretzel chicken.

Best ever lemon roasted chicken.

Applewood smoked turkey.

Brown sugar butter roasted chicken.

Maple BBQ salmon.

Hot honey roasted salmon.

Pomegranate braised short ribs.

Herb butter roasted beef tenderloin.

Cauliflower schnitzel sandwiches.

Homemade cauliflower gnocchi.

This cacio e pepe brussels are out of the world. Roasted until crisp, topped with tons of black pepper and salty pecorino cheese. Yum.

Cacio e Pepe Brussels

This cacio e pepe brussels are out of the world. Roasted until crisp, topped with tons of black pepper and salty pecorino cheese. Yum.

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, (stems removed and cut in half)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, (plus extra for sprinkling)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place the brussels on a baking sheet. Pour the butter over top, then toss the brussels well so all of them are covered. Sprinkle with the black pepper and toss. Cover with the pecorino cheese, tossing again.
  3. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the brussels are slightly golden and the cheese is crisp on the baking sheet. Lift the brussels and crisped cheese off the sheet and onto a place. Top with additional pecorino and serve!
  4. Note: pecorino is super salty so I do not use salt in this recipe. If you feel that you need it, add a sprinkle of salt when roasting!

This cacio e pepe brussels are out of the world. Roasted until crisp, topped with tons of black pepper and salty pecorino cheese. Yum.

Most incredible plate of my life.

The post Side Dish Sundays: Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Broccoli Rabe and Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Burrata

This unique piquant twist on pesto is made with broccoli rabe and toasted pistachios and served with creamy chunks of fresh burrata cheese. Mix up your dinner game with this fast and flavorful pesto-coated casarecce. No basil and pine nuts here: this beaut is made with earthy broccoli rabe and toasted pistachios. It may sound […]

This unique piquant twist on pesto is made with broccoli rabe and toasted pistachios and served with creamy chunks of fresh burrata cheese.

Mix up your dinner game with this fast and flavorful pesto-coated casarecce. No basil and pine nuts here: this beaut is made with earthy broccoli rabe and toasted pistachios. It may sound weird, but trust me, this recipe will quickly become one of your new weeknight staples!

Broccoli Rabe and Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Burrata

I’m of the opinion that if it’s green, it can probably be made into pesto.

I’ve done it with arugula and beet greens and kale and even garlic scapes.

Need further proof? Take broccoli rabe. And pistachios. Both green. And together they make for a fabulous homemade pesto.

Broccoli rabe, also called broccoli raab or rapini, somewhat resembles an extra leafy and leggy broccoli with very small, loose florets (although technically speaking, it’s more closely related to a turnip than anything). It has a flavor somewhere in between broccoli and turnip greens, slightly bitter and mildly earthy (but less so than say, beet greens).

If you can’t find it, you can use a mix of regular broccoli or broccolini and dark leafy greens such as turnip greens or kale.

Broccoli rabe can be quite bitter in its raw form (it tends to mellow as it cooks), so we’ve blanched it first to help remove some of that bitterness, before blending it into a piquant pesto along with pistachios, pecorino and parmesan cheeses, and even a splash of toasted pistachio oil for another layer of buttery richness.

Also helping to offset that bitterness? Chunks of rich, creamy burrata cheese scattered on top. (Seriously though, is there any pasta recipe out there that’s not improved by the addition of burrata? I think not.)

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