Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Can you think of anything better than a Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese? I’ll bet your answer is no, and I agree.

Meatloaf Withh Sundried Tomatoes (2)

Meatloaf Withh Sundried Tomatoes (1)

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Mac & Cheese (4)

Mac & Cheese (6)

Mac & Cheese (7)

Mac & Cheese (5)

Mascarpone Cheese

Mac & Cheese (2)

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Mac & Cheese (8)

Mac & Cheese (3)

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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (3)

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (1)

Homestyle Mac & Cheese

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Meatloaf Withh Sundried Tomatoes (2)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 13) baking dish, 2 (6-quart) saucepots, whisk

Ingredients:
1 box or pound of Cavatappi (or elbow macaroni)
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter plus 6 tablespoons, unsalted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12-ounces (4 cups) Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
8 ounces (2 cups) white cheddar, freshly grated
4 ounces Mascarpone, room temperature
1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded for garnish on top
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon sweet Paprika (substitute smoked paprika)
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (reserve 1/4 cup for breadcrumbs)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook according to the instructions of the box, 6 to 8 minutes, drain really well.

At the same time, heat the milk and heavy cream in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Melt 8 tablespoons (1-stick) in a large (6-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes while whisking, until it’s light blond in color. Whisk in the hot milk and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and grated nutmeg, continue whisking until sauce thickens and becomes smooth.

Off the heat, switch to a wooden spoon, add the Mascarpone first, stir to combine. Next, add the grated Gruyére, white Cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, again stir to combine. Add the cooked macaroni, 1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, mix to combine. Pour into a 9 x 13 buttered baking dish.

Topping:
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan. Add the Panko breadcrumbs, Paprika, remaining Italian flat-leaf parsley, toss to coat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top of the casserole. *Dot the top with the remaining butter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and macaroni is browned on top. Optional, sprinkle finely shredded Parmesan cheese and Italian flat-leaf parsley over the top while hot.

Serve hot.

*Dot: To scatter bits of butter over food.

Meatloaf With Sundried Tomatoes

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Homestyle Goulash

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I can remember having this dish growing up. I’m not sure if HomeStyle Goulash is what my mom called it but, it was an easy dish for her to pull together after putting in a full day’s work. Being a single parent who worked full-time, making a good home cooked meal was very important to her. I’ve updated her version by making a few significant changes. This is my version of a Hungarian Home-Style Goulash.

Olive Oil

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Onion

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Home-Style Goulash.jpg

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, colander

Ingredients:
2-pounds of (90% lean) ground sirloin
1-pound (16-ounce) box of Barilla Cavatappi
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Poblano peppers seeded and diced
1-pint Cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 cup of beef broth, unsalted
1 (10.5-ounce) can beef consommé
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
In a Dutch oven on medium-high heat add olive oil, ground cinnamon, Hungarian paprika, tomato paste, and dried oregano. Let the spices *bloom and release their oils and flavors.

Next, add diced onion, minced garlic, diced poblano peppers, and crimini mushrooms. Sauté and stir for 7 to 10 minutes allowing the vegetable to soften, release their water, and get some nice color. Add Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Add the beef consommé and beef stock, using a wooden spoon, scrape the bits of the bottom of the pot, that’s flavor!

Let the beef consomme completely reduce until all the liquid has evaporated and the flavors have concentrated, 7 to 10 minutes, then add the ground sirloin breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon.

Once the ground sirloin is broken up add garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper. Continue to stir allowing the meat to release its liquid and start to brown, around 15 minutes.

Moving forward add a can of diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and brown sugar. Turn the heat down to medium and stir to combine. Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water add the Cavatappi (a short cork-screw shaped pasta). Cook pasta for 10 to 12 minutes until al dente, drain well.  Add the pasta to the meat sauce, stir to combine. Turn the heat to off.

The last step is to add the cheese. Add the Mozzarella cheese, again, stir to combine. Garnish with chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley and you have a delicious Home-Style Goulash. Serve hot.

*Bloom: To become more apparent, as in flavor or aroma. Good oil is a base from which delectable flavors bloom.

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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 went into the making of my Baked Cavattapi.

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

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Olive Oil

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Fennel

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Sweet Basil (2)

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage (27)

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Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Red Onion

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Are you feeling this? The whole house smells like my Nana’s kitchen.

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage (27)

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Mascarpone Cheese

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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: 1 (9 x 13) baking dish, deep-sided 1 (12-inch) deep-sided frying pan, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with lid, large mixing bowl, 1 (10-cup) food processor, 1 (6-quart) stockpot

Ingredients For The Meat:
1 pound ground pork
1 pound of lean ground sirloin
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
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Ingredients For the Tomato Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted Piquillo 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 stock, unsalted
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh basil, julienned
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

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 Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons for the top
1 stick of unsalted butter, reserve 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-sided frying pan, over 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 Italian flat-leaf parsley.

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. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent and the spices are fragrant. Add the chicken stock. Simmer to reduce the stock 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 browned meat to the sauce and allow to cook together for 1 hour more. Remove from the heat and add fresh basil, stir to combine.

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 until just al dente, 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 using half the pasta mixture. Top with half of the reserved Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Next, add half the meat sauce mixture spreading the sauce evenly over the top of the pasta. Repeat the process ending 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 the aluminum cover will release without taking your cheese with it.

Bake covered for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Let rest for 20 minutes before cutting. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. There you have it my Baked Cavatappi.

Serve hot.

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

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