Pesto Greek Style!

Pesto is a fantastic herb sauce that can be used in many ways, but my favorite way of using it is in pasta. I always tend to have leftover pasta, so making a quick pesto to add more flavor and make a complete different dish the next day is the way to go.
Pesto is originally from Italy and usually is a combination of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. The way I have turned it into a Greek style pesto is by adding fresh Greek oregano, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.
The best way to make a pesto is using the most fresh ingredients! So this is what I did for my Greek style pesto:
– Ingredients –
1. Handful of fresh basil
2. Another small handful of fresh Greek Oregano
3. Juice from 1/2 a lemon
4. About 1/4 of a cup of pine nuts
5. 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
6. A punch of salt, pepper & red pepper flakes
7. 1 clove of fresh garlic
8. Olive oil

– Assembly –
1. Start by adding to a food processor the basil, oregano, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper & red pepper flakes. Blend them until everything gets chopped up evenly.
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2. Once everything gets chopped up nicely, while the processor is on, add a stream of olive oil until the mixture turns into a smooth sauce. It’s also a lot easier to mix into a pasta when it’s smoother and not chunky.
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– Last night we had made some manestra, which is orzo, and got a rotisserie chicken (which can be your best friend on weeknights, very useful in many recipes). So for a lovely lunch today, this pesto turned yesterdays pasta in a chicken pesto pasta dish for lunch today! Don’t ever think of left-overs just as that terms describes them. You can easily take yesterdays food into something different the next day. Don’t ever get rid of left-over food!
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Cannoli Sandwich Cookies!

Now you’re probably thinking, what do cannolis have to do with Greek food?
“Mia fatsa, mia ratsa” or “Una fatsa, una ratsa” are sayings that the Greeks and Italians have used with each country for many years. This quote means, “one face, one race”. Greek and Italians have many similarities with one another especially when it comes to the cultures and traditions.

Now you’re probably thinking, what do cannolis have to do with Greek food?
“Mia fatsa, mia ratsa” or “Una fatsa, una ratsa” are a saying that the Greeks and Italians have used with each country for many years. This quote means, “one face, one race”. Greek and Italians have many similarities with one another especially when it comes to the cultures and traditions.
A couple of weeks ago I was testing to make cannolis from scratch and my recipe didn’t go as planned. I rolled the cannolis out, the dough felt great and once I put them in the fryer they fell apart! Now I didn’t want to waste all of this beautiful dough, so since the cannoli shells were cut out in circles already I thought why not pop them into the oven and see what happens. They turned into amazing sandwich cookies, thin and crunchy!
So yes, I made up this recipe from another that had failed, but isn’t that how all amazing recipes come together??
Here is the recipe below for the cookies and filling!

– Ingredients for the shells –
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp shortening
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweet red wine
2 eggs

– Ingredients for the filling –
4 cups ricotta cheese, strained well
2- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Mini chocolate chips

– Directions –
1. In a big mixing bowl combine the flour with the butter and shortening until in resembles crumbs. Make sure the butter and shortening are cold.
2. Add in the sugar, cinnamon and mix.
3. Next add in the eggs, vanilla and wine and combine until a dough forms. If the dough is a bit sticky add a little bit of flour.
4. Roll the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
5. You can cut these into whatever shapes you want, but I used a circle cookie cutter. Divide the dough and roll it out pretty thin about 1/4 of an inch. Bake in a 400° oven for 8-10 minutes or until the bottom begin to become golden brown.
6. Let the cookies cool completely.

For the Filling:
1. In a bowl combine the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and mini chocolate chips.
2. Using a piping bag or just a spoon take 2 cookies, put the filling on one of them and then sandwich them.