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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Rigatoni al Forno With ShitakeMushrooms, Radicchio, And Sweet Italian Sausage

2015-12-31 14.04.30

Maybe my grandmother wouldn’t have approved of me adding sausage to this traditional Italian dish. I could just hear her now saying, ” Linda, you’re supposed to use the pasta shells with the ridges, not Rigatoni, that’s why it’s called Conchiglie al Forno With Shitake Mushrooms and Radicchio”. I just like to put my own spin on a traditional dish, so you’ll see, that’s what I’m doing here. You can most certainly leave the sausage out of this recipe too.

Yields: 8 servings
Oven Temp: 500 degrees F.
Prep Time: 30-35 minutes ( this includes cooking all the components and the actual prep)
Bake Time:  roughly, 8-12 minutes
Equipment: large baking dish
Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
2 pints of Shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 stick of unsalted butter, 8 tablespoons, (plus 2 tablespoons to dot the top of the dish and some to grease the baking dish)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 heads, (2 cups) of finely sliced radicchio
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-1/2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3/4 cup of shredded Fontina
1/4 cup of good quality crumbled Gorgonzola
4 teaspoons of Ricotta
8 sage leaves chopped finely (see note)
1-1/2 boxes of Rigatoni
Flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish

Directions:
To start, I want to dice and mince the onion and garlic and just set them aside. Next, I’m removing the casing from the sausages. In a large saute pan, on med heat,  I add olive oil, diced onion, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauteing those for a couple of minutes, then adding in the sausage. Breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon, I let the sausage saute until fully cooked. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Then I remove the cooked sausage, using a slotted spoon to drain off any extra grease, and place the cooked sausage into a large bowl. I remove any grease, left in the pan, and add a couple of tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Next step is to saute the mushrooms. I have a pint each of Shitake and Cremini mushrooms (I could only get one pint of the Shitake mushrooms so I had to improvise). The Shitake mushrooms need to have the stems removed, and the Cremini need to be cleaned off with a damp paper towel, to remove any extra grit from them. I’m doing all this while the sausage is sauteing in the pan. This allows me to get right into the next step of sauteing the mushrooms.

I’ve already sliced the mushrooms before adding them, in the pan, to the melted butter. I stir them around, still on med heat, until they start to brown. At that point is when I add in the minced garlic. Once all the mushrooms have caramelized, are dark brown in color, and fully cooked, about 4-5 minutes I’m going to add them to the bowl with the cooked sausage. While the mushrooms are sauteing, I’m slicing the Radicchio and  grating the cheeses for the next component of this dish. To the sausage and mushrooms, I add in some fresh chopped sage leaves. Note: If you are not a fan of sage, don’t use dried, use fresh thyme leaves.

At this point, preheat oven to 500 degrees F.  I have another large bowl that I have two heads that I’ve sliced of radicchio. I also have a large pot of water on the stove boiling and ready. In the mean time,  I’m adding the ricotta, grated Fontina, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and crumbled Gorgonzola, and heavy cream to the bowl with the Radicchio. Before I mix all these ingredients together, I sprinkle in some Kosher salt and black pepper. Not too much salt because the some of the cheese can be salty already.

Moving forward, I add the bowl with the cooked sausage, mushrooms, and sage to the larger bowl that has the radicchio, heavy cream, and cheeses in it. I mix all the ingredients until everything is well combined.

Now, I’m ready to dump the pasta into the water. The reason I waited, is because, the pasta is only going to cook for 4 minutes in the water. I then can drain it off and add the Rigatoni to the bowl with all the other ingredients. Mixing carefully, not to break up the pasta, combining all this together.

I have a large casserole baking dish that I use for this recipe, and I’ve butter it well. Place the Rigatoni mixture into the baking dish making it as level as possible. Dot the top with butter and place into the oven for about 8-12 minutes. You want to keep an eye on this dish so, it gets bubbly, the top browns nicely, it doesn’t burn. Once out of the oven, garnish with fresh chopped flat leaf Italian parsley.

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Baked Cavatappi

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I think everyone loves a baked pasta dish. Maybe it’s because it brings us back to a childhood memory, a special event where everybody gathers together to celebrate something special. Whenever I mention the words”taste the love”, it really shows how much love I put into making my Baked Cavattapi.

Now because there are a few different parts to this recipe that doesn’t mean it’s hard to do. You’ll see what I’m talking about moving forward. The great news is that this dish can be made in advance, or even frozen when stored properly.

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photo jul 20, 4 39 14 pm

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Are you feeling this? The whole house is smelling like my grandmother’s kitchen.

 

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Equipment: 9 x 13 baking dish, deep-sided 12-inch frying pan, 6-quart Dutch oven with lid, large mixing bowl, mini food processor, 6-quart stockpot

Ingredients For The Meat:
2-pounds ground pork
1-pound (5 links) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

Ingredients For The Tomato Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, puréed
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1-28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth, unsalted
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients For Pasta:
1 1/2 pounds of Cavatappi (1 1/2 boxes)
1 8-ounce container Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 15-ounce containers Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella, freshly grated, reserve 1/2 cup
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated, reserve 1/4 cup
4 tablespoons of freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, reserve 2 tablespoons for the top
1 stick of unsalted butter, half to *dot the top and half to grease the baking dish

Directions For Meat-Filled Tomato Sauce:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
In a 12-inch deep sautépan, on medium-high heat, add of olive oil and whole fennel seeds cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. To the pan add both the ground pork and sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon break up all the meat. Add the minced garlic, dried oregano, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried parsley flakes.

Sauté until the meat is completely browned, around 10 minutes Using a slotted spoon to strain off any excess grease, transfer the browned meat from the pan to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

In a mini food processor, add roasted red peppers, in batches if need be, process until all the peppers are puréed and have a crushed tomato-like consistency. Transfer the processed peppers to a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat a  Dutch oven, on medium heat, add the olive oil. Next, add the diced red onions, Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried rosemary, tomato paste, and light brown sugar. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir until onions are soft and translucent and spices are fragrant. Add the chicken broth. Simmer to reduce the broth by half. Finally, add both cans of tomatoes, breaking up the San Marzano whole tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.

Simmer the sauce on low heat for around 25 minutes. Add the browed meat to the sauce and allow to cook together for 1 hour more.

While the sauce is simmering start the pasta.

Note: Undercook the pasta by 3 minutes according to the directions on the box. Pasta will continue to cook in the oven.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water add the pasta, stirring occasionally. Undercook the pasta by 3 minutes, then drain. Using the same pot add back in the drained cooked pasta, Mascarpone cheese, Ricotta cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 1/2 ladles of the meat sauce, and chopped Italian parsley. Mix to combine.

First, butter the baking dish. To assemble, add 1 ladle of the meat sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Move the sauce around so it covers the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of the half the pasta mixture. Top with half of the reserved Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Next, add a third of the meat sauce mixture spreading the sauce evenly over the top of the pasta. Repeat. End with the meat sauce on top.

For the top of the dish, sprinkle the remaining Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses evenly all over the top. *Dot the top of the dish with small pieces of unsalted butter.

Tip: Before covering the dish, spray the underside of the foil with non-stick cooking spray so it will release without taking your cheese with it.

Bake at 350-degrees F. covered for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Let rest for 20 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.

*Dot: to scatter bits of butter over food. Refer to the picture above.

 

 

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