PESTO STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN This is also delicious with store bought pesto. Rita's special thick pesto Put in food processor: 2 cups basil leaves, packed 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese Process until finely minced. Then add: 1 teaspoon minced garlic 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Pulse until everything is well blended. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. What you want is a very thick mixture, not runny like regular pesto. If you have to, add another bit of olive oil but don't go over 1 more tablespoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Can be made several weeks ahead and frozen. It will turn dark in the freezer but will be OK.
Pork Tenderloin: Preheat oven to 350. 2 tenderloins, each about 1-1/2#, butterflied and then pounded out as thin as you can make it without tearing Fresh chopped parsley (for garnish) Spoon pesto over entire surface – divide among both tenderloins. Roll like jelly roll, secure with string in 3-4 places. Brush all over with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, a good amount of Parmesan and a nice amount of pine nuts. Spray baking sheet and roast until internal temperature reaches 145-150. Let rest for a few minutes, sprinkle with fresh parsley (for color as these don't get real brown). Slice on diagonal.
ROLLED BAKLAVA This recipe is based on the shorter pieces of phyllo dough. This will make about 36-45 pieces. You can make as many rolls as you want. This recipe makes 3 rolls.
Syrup: 1-1/4 cups sugar 1-1/4 cups honey 3/4 cup water Juice of a large lemon, about 1/4 cup 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon orange flower water 3 cinnamon sticks
Bring to a gentle boil and then lower to a simmer – mixture will foam up so use a larger saucepan. Let cook until water has evaporated somewhat and mixture is thicker, about 20 minutes or so. This can be done several days ahead and reheated. Let cool before dipping baklava into syrup.
Preheat oven to 325.
Baklava: 1 stick unsalted butter, melted 1 pound Phyllo, thawed in refrigerator – you'll use 18 sheets for this recipe. The phyllo dough will keep in the refrigerator a couple of weeks if it is well wrapped.
Filling: You can grind the nuts in your food processor, using the pulse feature. Mix together: 4 cups coarsely ground walnuts (each roll will take a generous cup of nuts) or a combination of walnuts and almonds 1 teaspoon cinnamon or more to taste 1/4 cup sugar
Assembly: Place one sheet of dough on work surface. Brush very lightly with melted butter. Layer and butter 5 more sheets. Sprinkle a generous cup of nut mixture over the stack, leaving a 1/2" border, then roll up on the long side. Place seam side down on sprayed baking sheet, cutting in half if necessary. Butter top of roll. Repeat process, making 2 more rolls. Score each roll by cutting 1" slices almost all the way through (but not all the way). You'll make 12-15 scores on each roll. Bake until golden and crisp, about 40-45 minutes.
Cut baklava through scored marks, then dip pieces in honey mixture. Drain on rack set over a baking sheet and let stand 30 minutes before serving, or store, lightly covered with foil, in a single layer for up to 3 days.
Fettuccini Alfredo from Rita
In a large pot of boiling water add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt and cook 1 box of Fettuccini according to the package.
Drain the pasta and in the same pot on low heat add 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of white pepper. Mix well
After the cheese has melted add the pasta back in and heat until heated through.
The juice from two large freshly squeezed oranges 2 ounces of limoncello 2 ounces of Spumante 1 tablespoon of sugar Mix well and pour over crushed ice then add a few strands of orange zest Makes two drinks.