Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Cheese Ravioli Lasagna With A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce


Let's Dish

Cheese Ravioli Lasagna

Cheese Ravioli Lasagna (2)Check out this classic dish with a slightly new twist.

Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Is it crazy to imagine taking a classic dish like lasagna shaking it up a bit. What about taking some help from your local grocery store.  A great start is buy purchasing a really good jarred sauce and making it taste as if you made it from scratch.  Using a pot that requires no oil, a very lean ground sirloin, for a deep savory flavor, a little unsalted beef broth, and fresh basil leaves. This sauce will taste likes its been simmering on the stove all day.

The other ingredient I’m going to be using for this dish is a good quality store-bought cheese ravioli. They’re found in the freezer section of the grocery store. My favorite are the mini cheese raviolis. Those are the ones I’m using for this recipe.

What’s great about this recipe is you can prepare everything in advance.  All you need to do is to prepare the sauce and cheese ravioli.  Layer all the ingredients in the baking dish. Spray off the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray before tightly wrapping the baking dish. That will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil in the baking process. Once the dish is at room temperature, place the whole covered dish in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake and serve. I recommend baking it off no later than one to two days. The baking time will vary ( may take 45-50 minutes or until golden and bubbly) if it’s been previously refrigerated.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m utilizing each one of my fresh herbs, from my garden, and incorporating them into different dishes. I’m highlighting sweet basil in my Cheese Ravioli Lasagna With A Tomato Basil Meat sauce.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1- 8 x 11 baking dish

Ingredients:
Note: this square copper pot requires no oil
1 tablespoon of olive oil (depending on the type of sauce pot)
1 pound lean ground sirloin
2-24 ounce jars- tomato basil Marinara variety
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup of unsalted beef broth
2- 1 pound 6 ounce packages of frozen mini cheese ravioli
1 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/2cup of finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
2 packages of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated Parmesan is fine)

Directions:
If you have a pot (like the one in the above pictures) that doesn’t require the use of any oil, add in the ground sirloin. Turn the stove to med-high heat. Add Kosher salt and black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up the ground meat and cook until completely brown, about 10 minutes.

Next, add in the beef broth and cook for another 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add in the two jars of tomato basil sauce. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and add in 1 cup of fresh basil leaves and stir through.

While the sauce is simmering have a large pot of boiling salted water ready. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the ravioli from sticking. Let cook just under the required time on the package, about 5 minutes. They will continue their cooking during the baking process. Rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process, then drain well.

Start by layering with the tomato basil sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Next, place the mini ravioli in the dish covering all of the sauce. Then add the 1 package of shredded Mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmigiano- Reggiano covering all the ravioli. Sprinkle the top of the ravioli with 1/2 of the finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley. Again with another layer of the tomato basil sauce. Repeating this process one more time. You want to have it so that the shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano end up on top. Finally sprinkle the rest of the finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley over the cheese. The 8 x 11 baking dish will finish with two full layers of the ravioli.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the underside or dull side of the foil with non- stick cooking spray and cover the dish tightly. This will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil. Place the baking dish on top of a sheet pan. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 10 or until the top is golden brown.

Let the baking dish rest for at least 15 minutes to set, before cutting.  Serve with fresh basil leaves.

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Greek Pasta Salad With A Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette


Photo Mar 09, 7 43 07 PM

Photo Mar 09, 7 43 11 PM

Ina Garten was my inspiration for this salad. She did an episode on making pasta three different ways. This Greek pasta salad caught my eye. I wanted to make it with a couple of changes. What’s really cool about this recipe is, in the time it takes to get the water for the pasta to boil and the pasta to cook, you can have all the veggies chopped and the dressing made for the salad.

Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 hothouse or English cucumbers diced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 a red onion sliced very thin then cut in half
2 pints of grape tomatoes halved
10 ounces of 1 inch cubed Greek Feta
1 package of cooked Fusilli pasta
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian parsley
1-1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Sun dried tomato dressing:
2 tablespoon of drained capers
2 garlic cloves
8 drained sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of E.V.O.O.
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
fresh sprig of mint for garnish

Directions For Dressing:
Add the sun drained sun dried tomatoes, capers, and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until they are finely minced. Next, add in the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Kosher salt, black pepper, and Agave nectar. Pulse the ingredients to combine. Through the feed tube of the food processor, while it’s turned on, drizzle in the E.V.O.O until dressing comes together.

Directions:
In a large bowl, place all the diced vegetables. To the vegetables, add in the well drained, cooked pasta. Pour on the half of sun dried tomato vinaigrette and stir though. This gives the hot pasta a chance to absorb those flavors. Finely, add in the cubed Feta , freshly chopped herbs, and remaining dressing. Gently toss the diced Feta (so to keeps its integrity) and herbs though until all the ingredients are well combined.

Serve the salad at room temperature or chill in the frig and serve cold. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

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Sweet Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, And Basil Over Pappardelle


Sweet Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, And Basil Over Pappardelle (2)

Sweet Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, and Basil Over Pappardelle

Great quality ingredients are what make this pasta dish so delicious. A good white wine, unsalted chicken stock, and the pasta cooking liquid are what pull the sauce together for this dish. It’s really just about keeping it simple.

Equipment: small saute pan with lid, indoor grill pan, 12 inch frying pan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage grilled and sliced
1 package Pappardelle pasta
8 ounces of fresh Mozzarella cubed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 leek cleaned and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
1/2 cup of finely diced red onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup each of red, yellow, and orange bell pepper finely diced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup white wine, Pino Grigio
1-1/2 cups of unsalted chicken stock
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons of finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

Directions:
Prep all the vegetables first. Clean and slice the leeks, dice the other vegetables, mince the garlic cloves, and prep the herbs. Dice the fresh Mozzarella cheese.  Set all the veggies on a plate to the side.

To prepare the sausage, prick each of the links with a fork on each side. Place the links in a small saute pan , preheated to medium-high heat. Add half a cup of unsalted chicken stock and cover. Let the sausage links steam in the broth for about 10 minutes or until links are completely cooked, 150 degrees internal temperature. Remove from the pan and set on an indoor grill pan that’s been preheated to med- high heat. Let the links 2-1/2 minutes, per side, allowing for grilled markings Carefully remove the hot grill pan from the stove top. Finally, slice the links on a bias.

Have a large pot of boiling salted water ready to drop the pasta, on the back burner.

In a large frying pan, preheated to medium heat, add in the olive oil, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes.  Add the sliced leeks to the pan. Stir the leeks around sauteing them until soft, about a minute or so. Next, add in the diced red onion and diced bell peppers. To the veggies, sprinkle in the Kosher salt and black pepper.Continue sauteing for around 3-5 minutes until all the veggies have softened. Finally, add in the minced garlic and stir through.

Add the white wine, unsalted chicken stock, and sliced cooked sausage back into the pan. Bring everything up to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. This will allow the flavors from the liquids to marry with all the other ingredients.  While the pan is simmering, drop the pasta. Cook the pasta, to al dente, following the instructions on the package, usually about 10 minutes.

Once the pasta is just al dente, add the pasta to the pan with the sausage and vegetables. Toss the pasta through. The pasta may absorb most of the liquid. If this is the case, add in a ladle or two of the starchy pasta cooking liquid to the pan. Turn the heat off, and transfer to a large serving platter. Add the diced fresh mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and finely chopped parsley.

Serve immediately.

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Chicken Cacciatore


2016-11-05-18-02-13

2016-11-05-18-02-05

A very dear friend of mine, Chris, who just happens to be a fireman with the Orlando Fire Department shares my passion for cooking and delicious food.

Chris and I were talking recently, he told me that he would like to make a dish for the men and women that he works with. I knew just the recipe I wanted to share. I thought my recipe for Chicken Cacciatore would be perfect.

This dish is one that braises the chicken low and slow and is basically done in one pot or pan. I’ve made it on top of the stove, but it can be done just as easily in a large disposable pan with a tight fitting lid in the oven. Delicious and easy, this recipe can easily translate into serving larger groups of people.

For my recipe I chose to use Pappardelle pasta. Pappardelle is a thick cut pasta.  This style of pasta allows the sauce to cling to the noodles really well.  Egg noodles would also work great and are readily available in most grocery stores.

Equipment:  2 baking sheets,  6 quart Dutch Oven
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chicken Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hr 20 -25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients: For Chicken
4 bone-in skin-on chicken breast cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, black pepper, dried rosemary- liberal sprinkling

Ingredients:
1 diced onion
2 pints of sliced mushrooms
1 red and yellow bell pepper diced
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup of white wine ( Chardonnay)
1/2 cup of chicken broth
1-28 ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes with juice
1-15 ounce can of diced fire roasted tomatoes with juice
1- 16 ounce package of Pappardelle or egg noodles
1 package of fresh basil leaves

Directions- For Roasting Chicken:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take the 4 chicken breasts and cut them in half ( giving you 8 pieces) as shown in the pictures above. Lay them out, skin side up, on the baking sheets. Using a paper towel, pat dry each piece really well. This will allow the chicken to brown nicely. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each piece and rub the oil all over the top of each one. Next, liberally sprinkle Kosher salt, black pepper, and dried rosemary over each of the pieces. Be sure to crush the dried rosemary between your fingers to release their oils.

Bake for 20 minutes in the oven. Switch the oven to broil. Let the chicken continue cooking, about another 5 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and golden brown. Note: If your oven does not have a broil option, then turn the temperature up to 450 degrees, keeping a close eye, let the chicken brown and crisp up that way. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Directions:
In a Dutch oven that’s been preheated on medium heat, add in the olive oil diced onions. Sprinkle in some Kosher salt and pepper just to start the onions to sweat. Stir the onions for a minute, then add in the diced bell peppers and mushrooms. Continue sauteing the veggies for another 5 minutes.

As the veggies start to release their water add in the minced garlic, tomato paste, and spices. Continue stirring all the ingredients together. At this point, sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and stir that through. Next, add in the wine and chicken broth. Let that come to a bubble and cook for another 5 minutes.

Moving forward, add in the whole tomatoes, fire roasted diced tomatoes and brown sugar. Using a wooden spoon, break up the whole tomatoes and stir. Add back in the precooked chicken pieces. Make sure they are not completely submerged. Bring everything back up to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Let everything simmer together on low for another 45 minutes, until chicken is nice and tender.

Remove the chicken pieces and carefully set them onto a plate. This time keep the lid off, turn the heat up to medium to med-high heat. Let the sauce come up to a bubble, stirring occasionally, cook for another 5 minutes. Once the sauce has thicken, turn the heat off and add in the fresh basil leaves. Stir the basil throughout the sauce.

Have the boiling salted water ready so while the sauce is thickening on the stove. You can drop the pasta and everything will be done at the same time.

To serve, place the pasta in the bottom of each serving bowl. Top with two pieces of chicken and ladle this delicious sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh basil.

Directions: Making more than 4 servings of chicken at one time:
Equipment: Large disposable foil pan with tight fitting lid, and large or more than 2-1/4 sheet pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare and precook the chicken the same as above.
Adjust all the ingredients, from the yield of ( 4 chicken breasts) 4 servings above, to the amount you intend to make.

Add all the ingredients to the large foil pan. Mix all the ingredients together. Next, place precooked chicken on top making sure not to completely submerge the chicken. Place the lid on tightly. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the lid, remove the chicken from the pan and place onto a plate covered with foil to stay warm. Note: Check to make sure chicken temperature is at 165 degrees internally, and nice and tender. Due to the fact that cooking on top of the stove in comparison to oven cooking times may vary.

Pour the sauce from the pan into a large pot. Turn the burner to medium to med-high heat. Let the sauce cook down and thicken, stirring occasionally. While the sauce is starting to reduce, have a pot of salted boiling water ready, to drop the pasta in. Cook the pasta according to the package.Once the sauce has thickened, turn the heat off, stir in the fresh basil leaves.

To serve, place pasta in the bottom of the serving bowl. Place two pieces of chicken on top, and generously ladle the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh basil.

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