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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Pasta, Peas, And Pancetta

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This is a quick easy week night meal, and a great one you can serve up to guests. Let me show you how fast this dish comes together. I’m using a Fusilli pasta for this dish.

This is what pancetta (Italian bacon) looks like. I’ts similar to American bacon in that it’s cured, it is just not smoked.You can get this at the deli counter in your local grocery store. For this dish, you do not want to get it sliced, you’re going to want one thick slice about 1/2 inch thick. The deli employees will just adjust the blade on the slicer to the thickness you’re requesting. You may even be able to find pancetta already diced and packaged.

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Prep Time: 3-5 minutes
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 pound of fusilli
2-1/2 ounces pancetta, 1/4 inch dice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, reserve 1/4 cup for serving
1 good size shallot, halved, and thinly sliced
1-10 ounce package frozen peas
Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup pasta cooking liquid
1 tablespoon of finely julienned fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves

Directions:
Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite.  Drain reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Heat the olive oil in a medium  (10 inch) saute pan, add the pancetta and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crispy pancetta over to a plate, lined with paper towel. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon dripping from saute pan.

Add the sliced shallots and minced garlic to the pan,  saute about 3 minutes until tender. Toss in the thawed frozen peas, to warm through, stirring everthing together. Remove from heat. Add the crispy pancetta back in with the vegetables and stir through.

Add the pancetta vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano, half the mint,and half the basil to the cooked pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by the tablespoon if needed. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle remaining basil and mint on top. Serve, passing additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

 

 

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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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