Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (1)

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (2)

My friend Kim went on home for a week to visit her parents. I knew she’d be celebrating her birthday while she was gone so I thought I’d have something special waiting for her when she returned home. You know after traveling you’re always tired once you get home, no one really wants to cook. I thought, how about a Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage waiting for her at home. All she’d have to do is to follow the reheating instructions that I attached to the pan. Happy Birthday, Kim!

You know, it’s just as easy to make two pans of Mac and Cheese as it is to make one. One for her family and one for ours. This recipe will yield two 9 x 9 pans of Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage.

2018-08-20 15.39.15

2019-06-08 23.01.07

Roux (2)

2015-05-01-14-19-19

Milk

2018-08-20 15.59.42

2018-08-20-16.16.49-1

2018-08-20 15.48.17

2018-08-20 16.30.12

2016-05-01-17-06-24

2016-05-01-17-11-41

2018-08-20 16.17.56

2018-09-07 11.09.06

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

2015-06-29-15-07-11

2015-03-30-13-48-15

2018-09-07 11.10.03

2018-09-07 10.54.37

2018-08-20 17.07.50

2018-08-20 17.07.47

2018-08-20 17.16.50

2018-08-20 17.13.01

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (3)

2018-08-20 17.16.53

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (1)

 

 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 16 servings (6 to 8 serving per pan)
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 2 (6-quart) stockpots, 12-inch sauté pan, 1 (3-quart) saucepan, 2 disposable deep-sided 9 x 9 casserole pans.

Note: Ingredients below are doubled to yield 2-9 x 9 disposable pans

Ingredients:
2 (16-ounce) boxes Barilla Cellentani, corkscrew-shaped pasta (or elbow macaroni)
3 sticks of butter, unsalted (reserve 1 stick for topping, plus butter for greasing pans0
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts whole milk
1 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 cups of diced smoked sausage sliced and quartered, 3 cups for each pan
2 (8-ounce) packages, extra-sharp white cheddar, shredded
6-ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated and divided
3 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, reserve 1/4 cup for Panko

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Butter each of the 9 x 9 disposable pans

Into each one of the two (6-quart stockpot) pots of boiling salted water, add 1 box of Barilla Cellentani. Cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well into separate colanders.

In the meantime, heat the milk in a 4-quart saucepan, just under the boiling point. In another (6-quart) stockpot melt 2 sticks of butter, add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, continuously whisking. While whisking, slowly add in the hot milk, then 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg. Switch to a wooden spoon, continue to stir until sauce thickens. Do not rush this process, cooking times may vary, anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon remove the pot from the heat. Add all the white cheddar and 3-ounces of grated Parmesan. Stir to combine.

Divide the bechamel sauce, equally into each of the (6-quart) stockpots. Divide equally the diced smoked sausage into each pot. Add one colander of the cooked, well-drained pasta into each pot. Stir to combine then transfer to the buttered disposable pans.

Breadcrumb Topping:
Melt the remaining 1 stick of butter into a large sauté pan, on low heat, add the Panko crumbs, stir until all the butter is absorbed.  Off the heat, add the remaining grated Parmesan cheese, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. Stir to combine. Divide evenly, then sprinkle the bread crumbs on evenly on top of each of the pans. Place each of the disposable pans onto a rimmed baking sheet pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and macaroni and topping are a beautiful golden brown.

Tip For Freezing:
Make sure the pan of Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage is at room temperature before freezing.

If you plan to freeze one of the pans, DO NOT ADD the breadcrumb topping until you’re ready to bake. Cover the pan tightly with foil then wrap the whole pan again in plastic wrap. Freeze up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to bake, remove the foil and plastic wrap. Add the breadcrumb topping. Spray the dull side of a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. This will prevent the topping from sticking to the foil.  Cover the dish tightly with the sprayed foil and bake frozen for 1 hour at 350-degrees F. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown around 5 to 7 minutes, times may vary slightly.

3 Comments »

Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs

Homemade SpaghettiO's (1)

What’s better than reliving one of your favorite childhood meals. You know the one I’m talking about, SpaghettiO’s with meatballs! Well, I’ve recreated a Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs for you, and its super easy to make.

Making homemade sauce and meatballs takes this to dish to a grown-up level that will definitely surprise your guests. I’m also adding a couple of secret ingredients to the meatballs that are going to blow your mind!

Let’s start by making the meatballs and getting them into the oven before working on the sauce.

2018-04-26 15.41.33

2018-04-26 15.40.10

2018-04-26 15.41.56

2018-04-26 15.39.07

2018-04-26-15.43.09

2018-04-26 15.44.35

2015-02-09-16-18-29-1

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

2015-06-29-15-07-11

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

Basil and Italian flat-leaf parsley

2018-07-01 14.26.12

2018-07-01 14.26.41

2018-07-01 14.27.30

2018-07-01 14.34.48

The first secret ingredient for my meatballs is fresh basil pesto. Normally I wouldn’t use a store-bought basil pesto however, in this instance, I’m using it as one of the ingredients for my meatballs. If you’re going to add basil pesto to your meatballs, look for the fresh pesto that’s kept in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, rather than the jarred variety.

In some of my earlier posts, I’ve mentioned using basil pesto in my meatball recipes and it really elevates the flavor. When you think about it, they’re really ingredients you would most likely add to your meatball recipe.

The second secret ingredient I’m using is whole milk ricotta cheese. Ricotta doesn’t add any noticeable flavor but it definitely acts as a tenderizer.

Note:
Anytime you want to make meatballs start with the flavorings in a large mixing bowl first. You want the flavoring mixture to have the consistency of wet sand. Next, you’ll add your choice of ground meat and combine. I use a fork to slowly combine the wet flavoring mixture to the ground meat. Keep the ground meat as loose as possible, do not over mix. This will ensure you’ll have super tender meatballs.

Below are three “portion scoops” better-known as cookie/ice cream scoops. The cookie-dough scoop in the middle is equivalent to 1 1/2 tablespoons and perfect for my mini meatballs. Relatively speaking that’s half the size of a golf ball.

ice cream soops.jpg

2018-07-01 14.43.53

2018-07-01 14.44.06

2018-07-01 14.43.36

2018-07-01 14.43.28

2018-07-01 15.22.38

2018-07-01 15.22.34

2018-07-01 14.55.47

2018-07-01 14.59.12

2015-12-31-08-06-59

2018-07-01 14.58.06

2018-07-01 15.02.49

2018-07-01 15.04.29

2018-07-01 15.09.37

2018-07-01 15.12.12

2018-07-01 15.36.29

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

2018-07-01 15.53.53

2018-07-01 15.54.29

2018-07-01 15.57.03

2018-07-01 15.36.46

2016-05-01-17-06-24

2016-05-01-17-11-41

2018-07-01 16.14.18

Homemade SpaghettiO's (2)

Homemade SpaghettiO's (1)

 

 

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, 2 (6-quart) saucepots, cookie-dough scoop

Ingredients For Meatballs: Yields 48 meatballs
2 pounds ground pork, substitute ground beef, chicken, or turkey
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup half-and-half, room temperature
1/4 cup water, room temperature
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup of a fresh store-bought basil pesto
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups of Italian breadcrumbs, Italian-style
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients For Sauce:
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 large onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock, unsalted
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves,  reserve extra sprigs of basil for garnish
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated for the cooked pasta
2 (1-pound) packages of La Molisana pasta

Directions For Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray them both with non- stick cooking spray.
Start by placing all the flavorings for the meatballs into a large mixing bowl. When blending in the bread crumbs, start with 1 cup, add an additional 1/2 cup if needed. The finished consistency should look like (and have the texture of) wet sand.

Add the (your choice of) ground chicken. Using a fork to combine the flavorings and meat together, do not over mix.

NOTE: If the ground meat starts to stick to the ice cream scoop, spray with a little non- stick cooking spray and the meat will release easier.

Scoop the meat mixture into your hands, roll into balls, then place the meatballs on the greased parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Each baking sheet should hold 24 meatballs. For nice golden brown meatballs, spray the tops of the meatballs with a little non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 45 minutes.

Directions For Sauce:
While the meatballs are in the oven, start the sauce. On med-high heat add the olive oil to a heavy bottom pot. Add in the onions, cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock. Let the stock come up to a bubble and reduce by half. Once the stock has reduced, add in the tomato products. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer until the meatballs come out of the oven.

After the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce. Simmer the sauce for another 45 minutes.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water add the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the package. In a large serving bowl, add the well-drained cooked pasta. Add 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss through. Ladle the sauce with meatballs over the pasta and toss through. Add fresh basil leaves.

Serve tableside into individual porcelain pasta bowls. Garnish each bowl with sprigs of fresh basil. Have extra cheese on hand for your guests. There you have it my Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs.

This meatball and tomato sauce recipe works with any style of pasta you choose.

Linguine With Meatballs

2 Comments »

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (2)

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (3)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

 

My Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna dish is loaded with flavor. I promise you won’t miss the meat! Mushrooms are such a great substitute for meat. Their meaty texture and earthy flavor paired with spinach, fresh mozzarella, and creamy Béchamel sauce take comfort food to a whole other level.

My Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna video will take you through a shortened version of this recipe. No one wants to watch an entire video from start to finish on making a Lasagna. To keep the video short and sweet, I decided to prepare all the components for the lasagna in advance. While generally going through the steps the video really concentrates on the assembly and the cooking process.

The top picture is after it’s rested for 20 minutes. The picture below is after the entire casserole dish had been refrigerated overnight and then a piece was cut.  You can see a big difference in the presentation. Truth be told, I think lasagna is always better the second day.

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (1)

2016-04-14-11-59-21

2015-02-26-06-34-29

2018-06-08 13.03.02

2018-06-08 15.32.41

Shitake Mushrooms (2)

Trumpet Mushrooms

Cremini Mushrooms (2)

thyme

2014-08-07-12-36-46

2018-06-08 16.41.55

Oyster Mushrooms

2015-11-27-08-58-18

2018-06-08 16.08.21

Portobello Mushroms

Cremini And White Button Mushrooms

2018-06-08 15.52.22

2018-06-08 16.57.45

2018-06-08 16.45.51

2018-06-23 05.18.43

 

2018-06-08 16.53.14

2018-06-08 16.54.54

2018-06-08 16.57.45

2018-06-08 13.13.09

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

2015-06-29-15-07-11

2015-03-30-13-48-15

eggs

2018-06-08-13.02.51

2018-06-08 13.06.43

2018-06-08 11.52.58

2018-06-08 11.53.49

2018-06-08 12.12.21

2018-06-08 12.11.08

2018-08-20-15.48.17

2016-05-01-17-06-24

2016-05-01-17-11-41

2018-06-08 13.03.11

2018-06-10 17.44.41

2018-06-08 16.27.29

2018-06-08 16.57.45

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (10)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (2)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (1)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (3)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (4)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (6)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (7)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (5)

2015-06-29-15-07-11

2015-03-30-13-48-15

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (2)

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (3)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (8)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

 

 

 

 

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
Equipment: 3-quart baking dish (15″ x 9 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ high), 6-quart saucepot, 3 large mixing  bowls, medium-size bowl, Rondeau (large deep-sided frying pan), chef’s knife, Microplane

Ingredients:
2 boxes of dried oven-ready lasagna noodles ( you may only need a little over 1 box)
2 sticks of butter, unsalted, 1 stick for Bechamel sauce, 3 tablespoons for mushrooms, the remainder for greasing the baking dish
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cups whole milk
2 (10-ounce) packages of thawed, drained spinach, remove any excess water
3/4 (24 ounces) of 1 (32-ounce) container of whole milk Ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (for Ricotta mixture)
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for Ricotta mixture)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large package of fresh Mozzarella, slice into 14 rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly ground
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
1 cup (8 ounces) of store-bought low moisture shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley finely chopped for Ricotta mixture, plus 2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh Thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
Note: approx. 1 1/2 pounds of mushrooms in total.
2 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 pint of white Button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 pints of Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
5 Oyster mushrooms, cleaned, central stem removed and discarded
6 Trumpet mushrooms, bottom tip removed, then sliced into 2-inch pieces
10 Shitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1/4 cup beef stock, unsalted, substitute vegetable stock or a good red wine

Directions For Sautèed Wild Mushrooms:
In a large deep-sided frying pan (if you don’t have one of these pans, sauté your mushrooms in two batches, about 5 minutes per batch) over medium heat, melt butter, and olive oil then add in fresh and dried thyme. Next, add the mushrooms, tossing and stirring continuously. As the mushrooms cook they’ll start to release their water.

Add in the minced garlic and black pepper, again, stirring occasionally.  Once all their water has evaporated, there will be mushroom bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock and scrape all those delicious bits up using a wooden spoon. Once the mushrooms have really started to brown, this is when you want to salt the mushrooms. Continue stirring and allow the mushrooms to cook, absorbing the remainder of the beef broth and become tender about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Directions For Spinach:
Defrost both boxes of frozen spinach the day before. Once thawed, drain and squeeze dry any excess water. You want the spinach to be as free of any water as possible. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Directions For Cheeses:
Place store-bought shredded Mozzarella cheese in a bowl and set aside. Chop up the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into small chunks and place them into a food processor. Pulse a few times until you have the consistency of ground cheese. For the fresh Mozzarella, slice the Mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place all prepped cheeses in the frig until needed.

Directions For Ricotta:
In a large bowl add Ricotta, 3 beaten large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, and pepper, and finely chopped fresh flat leave Italian parsley. Mix together until well combined and set aside.

Directions For The Bechamel Sauce:
Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick) in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, whisking constantly until the flour has cooked out and becomes blonde in color. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Double-check the thickness of the Bechamel sauce by dipping a wooden spoon into the sauce. Take your finger and make a line down the back of the spoon, if the sauce stays separated and doesn’t run together, the sauce is ready. Immediately transfer to a large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly over the sauce, preventing a skin from forming, and set aside.

Assembling Lasagna:
Preheat
 oven to 375-degrees F.
Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Arrange a layer of oven-ready noodles on top, then ladle more Bechamel sauce. Sprinkle both grated Parmesan and shredded  Mozzarella cheeses. Next, add half the spinach and mushrooms. To that, add the fresh Mozzarella slices.  Repeat this process once more. Next, add all of the Ricotta mixtures and top with another layer of the noodles. Lightly press, with your hands, on the top to make sure all the ingredients are nice and level in the dish. Over that last layer of noodles top with the rest of the Bechamel sauce and a final sprinkle of both grated Parmesan and shredded Mozzarella cheeses. Add a sprinkle of dried parsley over the top for color.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Once out of the oven, let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Directions For Reheating Refrigerated Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Pour between 2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup of water over the lasagna (depending on its size). Spray the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sprayed side down over the lasagna and seal tight around the edges of the baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until lasagna is hot and bubbly.

Directions For Freezing Fully-Cooked Lasagna:
Make sure the lasagna has cooled completely, at least an hour and a half. Wrap the entire baking dish in freezer-safe plastic wrap. This ensures there are no gaps in the wrap where air can get in and cause freezer burn. Then place foil over the top. It can keep up to three months.

Directions For Cooking Frozen Lasagna:
Transfer the frozen lasagna to the refrigerator 24 hours in advance.
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Before going into the oven, remove the foil and plastic wrap from the baking dish and replace it with new foil that’s been sprayed with some non-stick cooking spray, on the dull side of the foil.  Add  2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup (depending on the size of the lasagna) of water over the top of the lasagna. Place the sprayed side down over the top, seal the edges tight. This will prevent any cheese from sticking to foil. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Catch my YouTube channel at http://www.YouTube.com/Linda Lou Hamel

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

 

1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: