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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs

Homemade SpaghettiO's (1)

What’s better than reliving one of your favorite childhood meals. You know the one I’m talking about, SpaghettiO’s with meatballs! Well, I’ve recreated a Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs for you and its super easy to make.

Making homemade sauce and meatballs takes this to dish to a grown-up level that will definitely surprise you, guests. I have a couple of secret ingredients for the meatballs that are going to blow your mind!

Let’s start by making the meatballs and getting them into the oven before working on the sauce.

Normally I wouldn’t use a store-bought basil pesto however, in this instance, I’m using it as one of the ingredients for my meatballs. If you’re going to go this route, buy the basil pesto you get from the refrigerated section of the grocery store, rather than the jarred version. In some of my earlier posts I’ve mentioned using basil pesto in meatballs really elevates the flavor, and when you think about it, they’re really ingredients you would most likely add to the meatball mixture anyway.

When making the mixture for the ground meat, you want to start with the flavorings in a bowl first. The mixture needs to have the consistency of wet sand.

Next, you’ll add your choice of ground meat and combine. I use a fork to slowly combine the wet flavoring mixture to the ground meat. Keep the ground meat as loose as possible, do not over mix. This will ensure you’ll have super tender meatballs.

Below are three “portion scoops” or cookie scoops. The one in the middle one is around a 2-ounce scoop and is perfect for my mini meatballs. Relative to half the size of a gold ball.

ice cream soops.jpg

 

Equipment: 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, 2 6-quart saucepots, cookie scoop
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients For Meatballs: Yields 48 meatballs
2 pounds (your choice of ) ground meat, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, or veal.
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup half-and-half, room temperature
1/4 cup water, room temperature
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup of a fresh store-bought basil pesto
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese. (grated Parmesan cheese is fine too)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 heaping tablespoons dried parsley flakes (finely chop and use double this amount of fresh)
1 to 1 1/2 cups of  Italian bread crumbs (you want the consistency of wet sand)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients For Sauce:
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 large onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, basil sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, for cooked pasta
2 packages of la Molisana pasta

Directions For Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray them both with non- stick cooking spray.
Start by placing all the flavorings for the meatballs into a large mixing bowl. When blending in the bread crumbs, start with 1 cup, add an additional 1/2 cup if needed. The finished consistency should look like (and have the texture of) wet sand.

Add in the (your choice of) ground meat. Using a fork to combine the flavorings and meat together, do not over mix.

NOTE: If the ground meat starts to stick to the ice cream scoop, spray with a little non- stick cooking spray and the meat will release easier.

Scoop the meat mixture into your hands, roll into balls, then place the meatballs on the greased parchment paper lined baking sheets. Each baking sheet should hold 24 meatballs. For nice golden brown meatballs, spray the tops of the meatballs with a little non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 45 minutes.

Directions For Sauce:
While the meatballs are in the oven, start the sauce. On med-high heat add the olive oil to a heavy bottom pot. Add in the onions, cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock. Let the stock come up to a bubble and reduce by half. Once the stock has reduced, add in the tomato products. Turn the heat down to med-low and let simmer until the meatballs come out of the oven.

After the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce. Simmer the sauce for another 45 minutes.

Cook 2 packages of the pasta according to the directions. In a large serving bowl, add the well-drained cooked pasta. Add 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss through. Ladle the sauce with meatballs over the pasta and toss through. Add fresh basil leaves.

Serve up table side into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with sprigs of fresh basil. Have extra cheese on hand for your guests.

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Sweet Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, And Basil Over Pappardelle

Sweet Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, And Basil Over Pappardelle (2)

Sweet Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, and Basil Over Pappardelle

Great quality ingredients are what make this pasta dish so delicious. A good white wine, unsalted chicken stock, and the pasta cooking liquid are what pull the sauce together for this dish. It’s really just about keeping it simple.

Equipment: small saute pan with lid, indoor grill pan, 12 inch frying pan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage grilled and sliced
1 package Pappardelle pasta
8 ounces of fresh Mozzarella cubed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 leek cleaned and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
1/2 cup of finely diced red onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup each of red, yellow, and orange bell pepper finely diced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup white wine, Pino Grigio
1-1/2 cups of unsalted chicken stock
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons of finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

Directions:
Prep all the vegetables first. Clean and slice the leeks, dice the other vegetables, mince the garlic cloves, and prep the herbs. Dice the fresh Mozzarella cheese.  Set all the veggies on a plate to the side.

To prepare the sausage, prick each of the links with a fork on each side. Place the links in a small saute pan , preheated to medium-high heat. Add half a cup of unsalted chicken stock and cover. Let the sausage links steam in the broth for about 10 minutes or until links are completely cooked, 150 degrees internal temperature. Remove from the pan and set on an indoor grill pan that’s been preheated to med- high heat. Let the links 2-1/2 minutes, per side, allowing for grilled markings Carefully remove the hot grill pan from the stove top. Finally, slice the links on a bias.

Have a large pot of boiling salted water ready to drop the pasta, on the back burner.

In a large frying pan, preheated to medium heat, add in the olive oil, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes.  Add the sliced leeks to the pan. Stir the leeks around sauteing them until soft, about a minute or so. Next, add in the diced red onion and diced bell peppers. To the veggies, sprinkle in the Kosher salt and black pepper.Continue sauteing for around 3-5 minutes until all the veggies have softened. Finally, add in the minced garlic and stir through.

Add the white wine, unsalted chicken stock, and sliced cooked sausage back into the pan. Bring everything up to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. This will allow the flavors from the liquids to marry with all the other ingredients.  While the pan is simmering, drop the pasta. Cook the pasta, to al dente, following the instructions on the package, usually about 10 minutes.

Once the pasta is just al dente, add the pasta to the pan with the sausage and vegetables. Toss the pasta through. The pasta may absorb most of the liquid. If this is the case, add in a ladle or two of the starchy pasta cooking liquid to the pan. Turn the heat off, and transfer to a large serving platter. Add the diced fresh mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and finely chopped parsley.

Serve immediately.

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Chicken Cacciatore

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A very dear friend of mine, Chris, who just happens to be a fireman with the Orlando Fire Department, shares my passion for cooking and delicious food.

Chris and I were talking recently, he told me that he would like to make a dish for the men and women at the department. I knew just the recipe I wanted to share. I thought my recipe for Chicken Cacciatore would be perfect.

This dish is one that braises chicken low and slow and is basically done in one large pot. I’ve made it on top of the stove, but it can be done, just as easily, in a large disposable pan with a tight-fitting lid, in the oven. Delicious and easy, this recipe can easily be translated into serving a large number of people.

For this recipe, I chose a Pappardelle pasta. Pappardelle is a thick cut pasta.  This style of pasta allows the sauce to cling to the noodles really well.  Egg noodles would also work great and are readily available in most grocery stores.

Equipment: 2 baking rimmed baking sheet pans, 6-quart Dutch Oven
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time For Roasting Chicken: 20 to 25 minutes
Total  Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients For Chicken:
4 bone-in skin-on chicken breast cut in half
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, black pepper, dried rosemary- liberal sprinkling

Ingredients:
1 diced onion
2 pints of sliced mushrooms
1 red and yellow bell pepper diced
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup of white wine (Chardonnay)
1/2 cup of unsalted chicken broth
1 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes with juice
1 15-ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice
1 16-ounce package of Pappardelle or egg noodles
1 package of fresh basil leaves

DirectionsFor Roasting Chicken:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Take the 4 chicken breasts and cut them in half (giving you 8 pieces) as shown in the pictures above. Lay them out, skin side up, on the baking sheets. Using a paper towel, pat and dry each piece really well. This will allow the chicken to brown nicely. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each piece and rub the oil all over the top of each one. Next, liberally sprinkle Kosher salt,  fresh ground black pepper, and dried rosemary over each of the pieces.

Tip: Be sure to crush the dried rosemary between your fingers to release their oils.

Bake for 20 minutes in the oven. Switch the oven to broil. Let the chicken continue cooking, another 5 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and golden brown.

Note: If your oven does not have a broil option, then turn the temperature up to 450-degrees F., keeping a close eye on the chicken. Let the chicken brown and crisp up that way. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Directions For Stove Top Method:
In a preheated Dutch oven on medium heat, add in the olive oil and diced onions. Sprinkle in some Kosher salt and pepper, to taste, to start the onions sweating. Stir the onions for a minute, then add in the diced bell peppers and mushrooms. Continue sautéing the veggies, another 5 minutes.

As the veggies start to release their water add the minced garlic, tomato paste, and spices. Continue stirring all the ingredients together. At this point, sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and stir that through. Next, add the white wine and chicken broth. Let that come to a bubble and cook for another 5 minutes.

Moving forward, add in the whole tomatoes, fire roasted diced tomatoes and brown sugar. Using a wooden spoon, break up the whole tomatoes and stir. Add back into the pot the precooked chicken pieces. Make sure they are not completely submerged. Bring everything back up to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Let everything simmer together on low for another 45 minutes, until chicken is nice and tender.

Transfer the chicken pieces carefully to a plate. This time, keep the lid off, turn the heat somewhere between medium to med-high heat. Let the sauce come up to a bubble, stirring occasionally, cook for another 5 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened, turn the heat off and add in the fresh basil leaves. Stir the basil throughout the sauce.

Have a pot of the boiling salted water ready so while the sauce is thickening on the stove, you can drop the pasta and everything will be done at the same time.

To serve, place the pasta in the bottom of each serving bowl. Top with two pieces of chicken and ladle this delicious sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh basil.

Directions For Making More Than 4 Servings At One Time:
Equipment: Large disposable foil pan with tight-fitting lid, and 1 large or more than 2 1/4 sheet pans.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Prepare and precook the chicken the same as above.
Adjust all the ingredients, from the (4 chicken breasts) 4 servings above to the amount you intend to make.

Add all the ingredients to the large foil pan. Mix all the ingredients together. Next, place precooked chicken on top making sure not to completely submerge the chicken. Place the lid on tightly. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the lid, remove the chicken from the pan and place onto a plate covered with foil to stay warm. Note: Check to make sure chicken temperature is at 165 degrees internally, and nice and tender. Due to the fact that cooking on top of the stove in comparison to oven cooking times may vary.

Pour the sauce from the pan into a large pot. Turn the burner to medium to med-high heat. Let the sauce cook down and thicken, stirring occasionally. While the sauce is starting to reduce, have a pot of salted boiling water ready, drop the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package. Once the sauce has thickened, turn the heat off, stir in the fresh basil leaves.

To serve, place pasta in the bottom of the single serving porcelain bowl. Place two pieces of chicken on top, and generously ladle the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh basil.

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