Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash

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This Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash is a delicious summertime vegetarian dish. The extra flavor from the bruschetta topping adds beautiful color and pairs perfectly with the zucchini and yellow squash.

You’ll notice below I’ve made extra bruschetta topping, I’ll explain the reason, in my notes, in the post below. Adding shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the dish adds another layer of unforgettable flavor.

I garnish every dish with a large sprig of fresh basil giving you the choice to add torn fresh basil leaves through the pasta.

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Zucchini And Yellow Squash

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Olive Oil

Frezno Chili

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Ciabatta (2)

Toasted Ciabatta Bread

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Diced Mozzarella Cheese

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: veggie spiral machine, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, vegetable peeler, long-handled tongs, chef’s knife, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl

4 zucchini, ends removed, cut in half and spiraled
4 yellow squash, ends removed, cut in half and spiraled
1 pound box of spaghetti
2/3 cup of good olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and finely minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Large sprigs of fresh basil for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shavings for garnish
*E.V.O.O. for garnish

Ingredients For Bruschetta Topping:
16 Roma tomatoes, cut in half, seeded and finely diced
1 (16-ounce) package of Galbani mozzarella cheese, finely diced (low moisture, whole-milk variety)
1/2 cup of fresh basil, sliced chiffonade style
*E.V.O.O. for garnish
1 loaf of Tuscan garlic Ciabatta, toasted (yields 16 slices) OPTIONAL

Note: I’ve made extra bruschetta topping not only used as the garnish for this dish but to also serve on top of the toasted Tuscan garlic Ciabatta bread. I can’t get enough of that delicious basil, mozzarella, and tomato topping with a tiny little drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Bruschetta Topping:
Slice the Roma tomatoes in half, spoon out the seeds, and finely dice. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Next, finely dice the mozzarella cheese and add to the diced tomatoes. Finely add the chiffonade style basil toss everything to combine. Set aside.

Directions For Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash:
Start by spiraling the zucchini and yellow squash and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Next, prep the Fresno chili and garlic, set aside.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water drop the spaghetti. Cook between 8 to 12 minutes or until al dente.

Note: As soon as the zucchini and yellow squash spaghetti start to wilt and soften slightly turn the heat off. You want them to keep their crunchiness and integrity. All you’re really doing is making sure they are well coated with the flavored oil.

In the meantime, in a saucepot over medium heat add the olive oil minced Fresno chili and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the spiraled zucchini, yellow squash, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Using your tongs, toss the spiraled zucchini and yellow squash with the oil, garlic, and minced chilies. Cook, continuously tossing, for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the vegetable spaghetti to begin to wilt and soften slightly as they become evenly coated with the flavored oil. Immediately turn the heat off.

Again using the long-handled tongs, transfer the cooked spaghetti to the saucepot. Toss to combine the vegetable spaghetti and pasta together. Continue to toss until the pasta is evenly distributed.

Ladle a good helping into a porcelain serving bowl and garnish with a large sprig of fresh basil. There you have it my Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash.

Directions For Toasted Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

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Lemon Ricotta Pasta

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Orecchiette from the Italian orecchia, meaning ‘ear’ and -etta, meaning ‘small’ is a pasta typical of Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. their names comes from their shape which resembles a small ear.

“My Lemon Ricotta Pasta can be done and on the table in under 30 minutes. Perfect for weeknights or to serve when entertaining. Quick and easy using a few simple ingredients. Let’s get started.

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Olive Oil

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley



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Starchy Pasta Cooking Liquid

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) saucepot, 1 (4-quart) sauce pot, hand-held juicer, Microplane, hand-held lemon zester, chef’s knife

Note: First, zest the lemons and use a lemon zester for the thin peels. Set aside.

1 (16-ounce) box of Orecchiette
2 cups of good ricotta cheese, double cream (substitute whole milk)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup of starchy pasta cooking liquid
4 lemons, 1 juiced, 3 zested, plus the fine curly peels of 1 lemon for garnish
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pecorino-Romano cheese, freshly grated

Note: I’m only using 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt in the lemon ricotta cream sauce because Pecorino-Romano cheese is a bit saltier than let’s say Parmesan, and you don’t want the dish to be too salty, plus I added salt to the pasta water so the pasta is already good and seasoned.

In a large saucepot of boiling salted water, drop the pasta. Give a good stir and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 12 minutes. After 8 minutes test for doneness. The pasta should be al dente.

In another saucepot over medium-low heat add olive oil, grated garlic, lemon juice, the zest of 1 lemon, and red pepper flakes, stir to combine. Cook until the garlic is fragrant 1 to 2 minutes. Add ricotta cheese and 1/2 a cup (add another 1/2 cup if needed to achieve a smooth creamy consistency) of the hot starchy pasta cooking liquid. Add Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley. Stir to combine.

Using a large slotted spoon, transfer pasta into the sauce. Add another 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, and the remaining Italian flat-leaf parsley. Stir to combine.

Ladle a good helping of the pasta into a porcelain serving bowl. Top with freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese. Garnish with a few thin ribbons of lemon peel and lemon slices. Serve immediately. There you have it my Lemon Ricotta Pasta.




Broccoli Rice Casserole

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My Broccoli Rice Casserole is a great side dish, wonderful for the holidays, and perfect for family get-togethers.

I’m using a quick-cooking long-grain white (Basmati) rice because it’s my favorite. You could definitely substitute short-grain rice like Arborio which also would be delicious, it’s a personal preference. I’m also using frozen broccoli florets for this dish.

Most Broccoli Rice Casserole recipes call for sour cream, here I’m substituting Mascarpone cheese because whenever I can add Mascarpone to dishes, sweet or savory, I do.

One other option I’ve added to this recipe is to add a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs over the top of this dish, totally up to you. Let’s get started.

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Basmati Rice

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Tuscan Soup (6)


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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley




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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (2-quart) casserole dish, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, colander, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, aluminum foil, medium-size mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, chef’s knife

Note: One bag of rice makes about 2 cups of cooked rice. I made both bags of rice to ensure I’d have 2 cups of cooked rice.

1 pound (16 ounces) of frozen broccoli florets, thawed, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups of long-grain white rice, parboiled (Basmati, Success Boil-in-a-bag)
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (substitute short-grain rice, Arborio rice)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, extra butter for greasing baking dish
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 cups of chicken broth/stock, reduced-sodium or unsalted (substitute vegetarian broth)
2 cups of whole milk (substitute 2%)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
2/3 cup of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature (substitute sour cream)
1 cup (8 ounces) of mild Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese mix (substitute sharp cheddar)

Topping: optional
1/4 cup each of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs and Panko
2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by buttering the baking dish and placing it onto a rimmed baking sheet pan. Fill a large pot with water. Submerge the 2 bags of quick-cooking rice. Bring up to a boil, add a pinch of salt, cook the rice, according to box directions, only half the time, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, remove the 2 bags, allow the water to drain, open, and dump the parboiled rice into a medium-size mixing bowl. To the same pot of hot boiling water add the broccoli, stir, for 1 minute, drain into a colander, transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

In the same pot, add the butter, onions, and garlic and sweat them for a few minutes or until translucent (you don’t need to develop any color)n add the flour, stir it all in for a minute then add the milk and stock. Whisk well to get rid of any flour lumps and simmer while stirring the whole time until the mixture thickens.

Add the seasonings, whisk them in to combine really well, then add the 2/3 of the cheese and Mascarpone cheese followed by the partially cooked and drained rice and broccoli.

Give everything a big stir (at this point the mixture is runny and that’s exactly what you want because the rice will soak up the sauce as it cooks) pour into the buttered baking dish, cover with foil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese (this would be the time to add the seasoned breadcrumb mixture over the top if desired) place back into the oven, and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot. There you have it my Broccoli Rice Casserole.

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