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things to have on-hand

These are all the things I like to keep made weekly and stocked in my kitchen.

Homemade Pesto


Serves 4-6

Yield: makes about 1 1/2 cups

Time: 10 minutes


  • 4 cups packed basil, blanched briefly in boiling water and shocked in ice water

  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1⁄2 cup finely grated parmesan

  • 1⁄4 cup pine nuts

  • 3 tbsp. finely grated pecorino

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Coarse sea salt, to taste


  1. Process basil, oil, parmesan, pine nuts, pecorino, and garlic in a food processor until smooth; season with salt

Pizza Dough


Serves 6-8


  • 153 grams 00 flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)

  • 153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons)

  • 8 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)

  • 2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)

  • 4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.

  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200 grams (a little less than 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, approximately 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.

  3. Knead rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)

  4. To make pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. Top and bake.

Pie Crust (NYT Cooking)


Makes one 9 " pie crust

1 ¼  cups all-purpose flour (150 grams)
¼  teaspoon fine sea salt
10  tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 to 4  tablespoons ice water, as needed
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms lima bean-size pieces. Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist, but not wet.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
For the best results, use a high-fat, European-style unsalted butter like Plugra.
You can experiment with textures and flavors by substituting 3 to 4 tablespoons shortening, lard, beef suet, duck fat or an unsweetened nut butter, such as hazelnut butter, almond butter or mixed nut butter, for 3 to 4 tablespoons regular butter. All should be well chilled before using.
Or make a crispy cheddar crust, which pairs nicely with apple pie or savory pie fillings: Pulse together 1 1/4 cups flour with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar; pulse until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add 8 tablespoons chilled, cubed butter and proceed according to the directions above.



Serves 3-5, or one Grande Luigi

This is a recipe I learned in Spain and would make for my family in Ischia Italy - cheers to you Luciano, Gina, Niello, Luciano Jr, Luigi,  and, of course "Grande Luigi" (who sometimes ended up sleeping in the window after a few?)


1 bottle of red wine (or white, or rose, or sparkling)  

1 lemon (cut into wedges)

1 orange (cut into wedges)

Any fruit you want (if fruit is bad it will not get better, jam fruit is ok)

2 tablespoons sugar, honey or agave)

1 1/2 ounces brandy, bourbon, rum or whatever

2 cups ginger ale, club soda, or sparkling water 

Steps to Make It

Gather your ingredients.

Pour the wine into a pitcher and squeeze the juice from the lemon and orange wedges into the wine.

Toss in the fruit wedges (try to remove seeds first, if possible) and add the sweetner of choice, brandy or other hard alcohol,stirring gently until the sugar dissolves.

Add other sangria ingredients into pitcher

Cover the pitcher with and chill it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight to marry the fruit and wine flavors.

Add the ginger ale or club soda just before you serve it. Garnish with freshly cut lemon or orange wheels if desired. 


Best Wines for Sangria:

A Spanish Rioja, such as tempranillo or garnacha or even a blend, makes a good choice as the base for sangria, but you can use a shiraz or a zinfandel too. In fact, you can choose almost any bottle of red wine you like, but it's best to start with a drier one. A white sauvignon blanc pairs well with tropical fruits if you decide to go that route.

Pantry Staples: Recipes
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