Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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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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The next step is totally optional. If you prefer a crunchy topping to your Broccoli Rice Casserole follow the steps for toppings in the ingredients list below.

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, wooden spoon

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.
Note: Flour can sometimes have lumps from packaging or storage. If you find your all-purpose flour is slightly lumpy, sifting the amount of flour you need first is always a good idea.

Ingredients:
2 cups of long-grain white rice, parboiled (Basmati, Success Boil-in-a-bag) (substitute short-grain rice, Arborio rice)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt

1 pound (16 ounces) of frozen broccoli florets, thawed, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, extra butter for greasing baking dish
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, sifted
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
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon for the rice
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)

Breadcrumb Topping: Optional
1/4 cup of seasoned Italian-style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of plain Panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for topping (optional)
4 tablespoons of olive oil

Tip: I like to add Kosher salt and olive oil to the water when cooking the rice. Adding salt to the water will season the rice and the olive oil will prevent the rice from sticking together.

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. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the water. Bring up to a boil, add a tablespoon of Kosher 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, over medium heat, add the butter, onions, and garlic, sweat them for a few minutes or until translucent (you don’t need to develop any color). Add the all-purpose flour (tip: sift the flour if it’s lumpy), stir it all in for a minute, then add the milk and stock. Whisk well to get rid of any lumps. Switch to a wooden spoon, simmer, stirring the whole time until the mixture thickens.

Add the seasonings, whisk them in to combine really well, then add 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 followed by drizzling 4 tablespoons of olive oil) 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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Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage And Fresh Herbs

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage (1)

This dish puts a bold and delicious spin on Fettuccine Alfredo. It’s my Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage And Fresh Herbs. In the past, I’ve made this dish with broccoli florets, today I’ve made it using fresh herbs. My recipe below is using fresh herbs and giving you the option to add broccoli.

This dish can also be done meat-free.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Piquillo Peppers (2)

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Chicken Broth

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Mascarpone Cheese

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Bechamel Sauce

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Below are pictures using broccoli florets or just using fresh herbs, both are delicious.

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Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage (1)

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes (Includes cooking sausage and sauce. Pasta and sauce cook at the same time.)
Total Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: indoor grill pan, large deep-sided frying pan (*rondeau), 1 (10-cup) food processor, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 1 mini food processor

Ingredients:
1 pound Fettuccine, al dente
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, grilled and sliced on the bias
3 cups chicken broth, unsalted
1 (12-ounce) jar Piquillo peppers, puréed (substitute sweet roasted red peppers)
4 ounces Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
2 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
2 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups completely thawed frozen broccoli florets (optional)
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped

Directions For Sausage:
Using a fork, prick the sausage links, through the casing, three times on both sides. In a pot with a glass lid. Add 3 cups of unsalted chicken broth. Turn the heat to medium, add the sausage links to the pot. Place the lid on and bring up to a boil reduce to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink and cooked through.

Remove the links from the cooking liquid and transfer to a plate, set aside. Preheat indoor grill pan, settings on both front and back burners to medium-high. Grill the sausage links 2 to 3 minutes per side to get nice grill marks. Again transfer the grilled sausage links to a plate. Next, slice the sausage links on the bias, transfer to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water drop the Fettuccine. When pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain.

In the meantime, in a large *rondeau, over medium-low heat, melt the butter into the cream, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, freshly grated nutmeg, and freshly grated garlic, continuing to whisk.

Add the Mascarpone, continue to whisk, simmer until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Next, switch to a spoon, add the Piquillo pepper purée, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, stir to combine. Finally, add the sliced Italian sausage, stir through. If you’re choosing to add the broccoli florets add them at this point and stir to combine.

Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing until all the pasta is coated. Finally, add in the chopped herbs, toss to combine. There you have it my Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage And Fresh Herbs.

Serve hot.

Note: If you should need to thin the sauce out, add a ladle of the pasta water and toss.
Note: If using thawed frozen broccoli florets, place them onto a plate lined with a paper towel to allow any or all excess water to drain. Using another sheet to pat the florets dry before adding to the sauce.

*Rondeau: A rondeau is sometimes called a brazier or braiser, this wide, somewhat shallow pan similar to a stockpot or Dutch oven but not nearly as deep.

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Beef And Broccoli Stir-Fry

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Asain cuisine is known for its perfect balance of flavors. Incorporated are salty, sweet, hot, and bitter (or sour) ingredients performing together like a musical symphony like my Beef And Broccoli Stir-Fry.

The key to cooking any type of Asain cuisine is to have all your ingredients ready and all the prep work made in advance. Once the cooking starts everything moves really fast.

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Tamari

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Sesame Oil

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Shaoxing Rice Wine

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Cilantro

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Limes

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Garlic

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Wok

Beef And Broccoli Stir-Fry

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) saucepot, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 medium-size mixing bowl, 1 small mixing bowl, Wok, chef’s knife, 1 (1-gallon) resealable plastic baggie

Note: For best results, marinate the flank steak the day before.

Ingredients For the Marinade:
1/4 cup of soy sauce, low sodium
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced

Directions For Marinating Flank Steak:
Place into the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours to overnight. When ready to use, discard the liquid transfer the Flank steak to freezer to get hard but not frozen. Transfer to a cutting board and slice super thin.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds of flank steak, marinated and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of peanut oil (substitute Canola or vegetable oil)
1/2 cup of green onions, 1/4 cup green tops sliced on the bias, and 1/4 cup of sliced white parts
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of frozen broccoli florets, thawed, room temperature
1 tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine (substitute a dry Sherry)
1 tablespoon of Tamari
3 tablespoons of soy sauce, low sodium
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of cornstarch (reserve 1 tablespoon to thicken the sauce)
1/4 cup of beef stock, unsalted, plus an additional 2 tablespoons

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Rice:
1 1/2 cups of Basmati long-grain white rice, uncooked
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced
2 1/4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
3 limes, 1 zested, 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges
1 cup of lightly packed chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems, extra leaves for garnish

Directions For Cilantro Lime Rice:
In a large bowl add the Basmati rice. Cover with cold water. The water will become cloudy from the starch being released. Drain and repeat this proccess 2 to 3 times or until the water runs clear. Drain well.

In a saucepot over medium heat bring the water up to a slow boil. Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt and the zest of a 1 lime.

In another large saucepot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rinsed rice and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the rice has started to brown. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Pour the hot flavored water over the rice. Bring to a rolling boil, then cover (with foil first then secure the lid on top as seen in the above picture). Lower the heat to low to maintain a very low simmer.

Cook undisturbed for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit still covered for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Transfer the rice to a serving bowl. Pour lime juice over the rice and toss with chopped cilantro. Set aside.

Directions For Beef:
Note: Place the beef in the freezer for about 30 minutes before slicing. Having the meat is somewhat hard makes slicing the beef very thin will be much easier.

In the meantime start by prepping all the vegetables for the dish. Transfer all the prepped vegetables onto a large plate. Place the thawed broccoli florets into a large bowl.

In a medium-size mixing bowl add Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, 1/4 cup beef stock, Tamari, and light brown sugar, stir to combine. In another small mixing bowl add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of beef stock, whisk until it becomes smooth and paste-like.

Take the meat out of the freezer and slice the sirloin(s) into very thin slices, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, whisk to combine. Dredge the slices of beef into the cornstarch mixture until the slices are evenly coated. Set aside.

Preheat a wok over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil and swirl it around the wok. The wok should be just starting to smoke. Add the minced garlic, Fresno chili, and ginger, cook for 30 seconds. Immediately add the slices of beef spreading them out into a single layer, don’t overcrowd. If needed, do this step in batches transferring the seared beef to a plate until the next batch is finished. Allow the sliced beef to sear, do not stir allowing the meat to brown. Once the meat starts to caramelize on one side, 3 to 4 minutes, using a pair of tongs, turn the slices over and brown another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add all the seared meat back into the wok.

Add the julienned bell pepper, sliced green onions (the white parts) and sliced red onion, frequently stirring, cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Next, pour the Shaoxing rice wine mixture into the wok, stir to combine; cook for 30 seconds. Add the cornstarch *slurry and bring to a boil, cook for 1 more minute, or until sauce just starts to thicken. Finish by adding the broccoli florets, toss to warm through.

Remove the wok from the heat. Add sesame oil and toss.

To serve, ladle a generous helping of my Cilantro Lime Rice in the bottom of a porcelain serving bowl/plate. Top with my Beef And Broccoli Stir-Fry. Garnish with sliced green onions (tops) and/or cilantro leaves and lemon wedges.

Serve hot.

*Cornstarch slurry: A cornstarch slurry is a mixture of cold liquid with cornstarch. It’s used as a thickening agent and is particularly common in Asain dishes.

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