Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup

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Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup (2)

I’d first made this soup some time ago and found a couple of pictures of the finished dish. I’m not even sure how I came up with this soup. I just started throwing ingredients together and my Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup was born.

I just bought an inductions burner and I was super excited to try it out. I know it’s going to work perfectly when my sister and I film my next video. Anyway, I decided to make this soup while I had some time off from work.

We’re living in extraordinary times due to COVID-19. People are doing a lot more of grocery shopping and cooking at home, because of a shelter-in-place order, that said, many products, because of high demand, had limits placed on them or they weren’t readily available. I wasn’t able to find any Cavatelli pasta so I’m going to be substituting baby shells. I found the shape of the two kinds of pasta to be similar. Cavatelli pasta will be back on the grocery shelves soon enough so I’m keeping the name for this dish.

Whenever I make a soup using sausage, I like to cook the sausage separately then incorporate it into the soup. This makes what I call a clean broth. By cooking the sausage separately and leaving all the grease with the pan I believe makes a big difference in the finished soup.

Sweet Italian Sausage, And Cavatelli Soup

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Onions

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Spinach

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diced roma tomatoes

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Olive Oil

Thyme

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Rosemary-1Rosemary (2)

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diced roma tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Sweet Italian Sausage, And Cavatelli Soup

Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup (2)

Homemade Croutons

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, chef’s knife, mesh sieve, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, colander, large slotted spoon

Tip:  The night before, place the frozen spinach in a mesh sieve over a bowl to drain. You could also use the defrost setting on your microwave the thaw out the spinach.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (substitute a hot variety)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 head of green cabbage, cored and quartered
1 1/2 cups of carrots, 1-inch dice
1 large onion, diced, 1-inch dice
3 ribs of celery, 1-inch dice, include leafy tops
1 Fresno Chili, seeded and minced
1 fresh bay leaf, substitute dried
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of diced Roma tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze all excess water from the spinach)
1 quart of chicken stock, unsalted
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups of Cavatelli pasta (substituting baby shells)
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
Begin by dicing and mincing all the vegetables. Drain and squeeze as much water from the thawed the spinach as possible.

Remove the casings from the sausage links. In a large sauté pan over medium heat add olive oil and sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage and cook until sausage is no longer pink about 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, allowing as much grease as possible to stay with the pan, transfer to a bowl or plate lined with a paper towel, set aside.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium-high heat add olive, diced onions, and red pepper flakes. Add the diced carrots, celery, bay leaf, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and fresh finely chopped thyme. Stirring, frequently, cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cook for 1 minute more.

Next, add the cooked sausage, cabbage, and diced tomatoes. Add the chicken stock, bring up to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally,  for 40 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the cover, taste for seasoning (add salt if needed). Add the Cavatelli pasta, stir to combine. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes before adding the spinach, again stir to combine. Turn the heat off, and serve.

Ladle a good helping into a porcelain soup bowl. Add fresh parsley, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and Homemade Ciabatta Croutons. This is my Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup.

My Hanging Organic Herb Garden And Summertime Flowers

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

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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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Breadcrumbs

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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.

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

Directions:
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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Arroz con Pollo

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Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice) is a favorite in our house. I always have to make a big batch because Steve has no problem having this for dinner two nights in a row he loves it so much. I’m going to be using a super large braising pot for this recipe, if you don’t have one, a large Dutch oven works just fine, all you need to do is to brown the chicken off in two batches.

The traditional Cuban dish is made with short-grain white rice like Arborio, I prefer long-grain white rice. Basmati rice is what I’m using today.

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Stuffing (2)

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Olive Oil

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White Wine And Unsalted Chicken Broth

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Bay Leaves

Saffron

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (10-quart) large braising pot, tongs, dry measuring cups, paring knife, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan

Ingredients:
10 bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed
1/2 cup of good olive oil
2 cup of frozen peas thawed
2 (8-ounce) bags of mini sweet peppers, tops removed, seeded, and sliced into rings
1 (15-ounce) bag of frozen peas, thawed
1 large Spanish onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of dry white wine, room temperature (Chardonnay)
1 small pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons of ground Tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups of long-grain white rice, Basmati rice (rinsed really well, see my notes)
1 1/2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
Begin by prepping the garlic, onions, and peppers, set aside.
Next, remove the skin from the chicken thighs and any extra fat, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet pan, set aside.

Add 1 cup of room temperature dry white wine to a measuring cup along with a pinch of saffron, give a whisk to combine, and set aside.

Season both sides of the chicken with Tumeric, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

In a large heavy-bottom pot, add olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, arrange the chicken thighs in the pot smooth side down first. Do not touch or move the thighs for at least 4 to 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s time to flip them when they easily release, from the pot, on their own leaving no chicken stuck to the bottom. Flip the thighs and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

While the second side is browning, add the dried oregano into the palm of your hand, rub your palms together as you add the oregano evenly over the chicken. This process allows the oregano to release its oils and become fragrant. Don’t worry if the chicken is not completely cooked, they will finish cooking during the braising process. Go ahead and the browned chicken thighs back to the baking sheet pan, set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the diced onions, sweet peppers, and garlic, season with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Stirring frequently, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the wine/saffron mixture. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the bits of the bottom of the pot until clean. Continue stirring, cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the chicken thighs back to the pot. Sprinkle the sweet paprika evenly over the top of all the chicken. Add the bay leaves, rice, and remaining chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (reduce heat to medium-low), cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, rice is cooked through and the chicken (internal temperature reads 165-degrees F.) is fall-off-the-bone tender.

Uncover, add the peas and garnish with finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley.

To Serve: Spoon in the rice mixture, first, into the bottom of a porcelain serving bowl, top with two chicken thighs, finish with a little more Italian parsley. Serve hot.

.Notes: Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water. Add the rice. Stirring occasionally, allow any starch from the rice to release into the water. Rinse a second time or until the water remains clear. This will ensure the rice won’t get clumpy in the finished dish.

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