Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Pappardelle And Meatballs

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Thanks to my mom and grandmother, I’ve learned so much about the art of making great meatballs. The one important thing that they both told me was not to overwork the meat when adding in the flavorings. Well, keeping that in mind, I went one better. I came to the conclusion, that if you mix all the wet ingredients along with the spices first, then add in the meat, there was less likelihood of over mixing. This is my Pappardelle And Meatballs. 

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Ricotta

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Fennel

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Stuffing (2)

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Dried Oregano

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Prep Time: 30 minutes (time includes making the meatballs and dicing the onions and garlic for the sauce)
Cook Time For Meatballs: 25 minutes
Cook Time For Tomato Sauce: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 22 golf-size meatballs
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 1 (6-quart) saucepot,  2 large mixing bowls, colander, cookie-dough scoop, olive oil cooking spray

Ingredients For Meatballs:
olive oil cooking spray
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, bulk-style
1 pound of ground chicken
1/4 cup of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup of fresh store-bought basil pesto (store-bought fresh pesto can be found in the refrigerated section where you find the fresh pasta and sauces)
1/4 cup of  Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of plain Panko bread crumbs
1/2 a cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs
3 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
2 large eggs, beaten
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup of Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 cup of half-and-half (start with 3/4 cup until you get the consistency of wet sand)

Ingredients For Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1 cup of unsalted chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can of San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated for the pasta (reserve some for garnish)
1/4 cup of fresh basil, julienned

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Start in a large mixing bowl, by adding all the ingredients that will flavor the meat, mix to combine. The flavoring mixture needs to have the consistency of wet sand as shown in the above picture.

In another large mixing bowl, add the ground chicken (a mixture of dark and white meat) and the sweet Italian sausage, mix to combine. Next, add the flavoring mixture to the ground meat. Using a fork, evenly distribute the flavoring mixture throughout the meat. It does take a minute. This method ensures there’s no chance the meat ends up too compact which means a tough meatball.

To ensure the meatballs are the same size use a large cookie-dough scoop as seen in the above picture. This yielded about 22 golf-size ball meatballs. On two rimmed baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper lightly spray olive oil cooking spray. Scoop out the meatball mixture and roll them into golf-size meatballs. Arrange the meatballs at least 1 1/2 inches apart. Spray the tops of the meatballs with a little of the olive oil cooking spray to ensure they brown nicely. Bake for 25 minutes.

Tip: Use the cooking spray, (a light spritz) to lubricate the cookie-dough scoop every so often. This will ensure the easy release of the meat mixture.

In the meantime in a large saucepot over medium heat, add olive oil and diced onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.  To the onions, add the minced garlic, tomato paste, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Continue stirring, cook for another 1 to 2 minutes

Next, add the chicken broth. Let that come up to a bubble and simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the crushed and whole tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon break up the whole tomatoes. Next, add brown sugar, stir to combine. Bring the sauce up to a bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally.

Once the meatballs come out of the oven, transfer them to the sauce and let everything simmer together on medium-low heat for another 45 minutes. Remove from the heat add the fresh julienned basil, gently stir to combine. Cover to keep warm. After 45 minutes, start cooking the pasta.

In a large saucepot of boiling salted water drop the pasta.

I love to use Pappardelle for this dish. The wide ribbons of pasta have so much more surface area for the sauce to adhere to. Follow the cooking instructions. Drain the pasta really well.  Add a cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into the bottom of a large mixing bowl tossing the cheese through the pasta, very gently, so all those ribbons get coated really well. Then add a couple of ladles full of the tomato sauce, using a pair of tongs toss to combine. What you are witnessing is the cheese sticking to the pasta and the sauce sticks to the cheese. Win-Win!

Finally, I finish with ladling the meatballs on top with a bit more sauce, and a little more cheese. Serve with some crusty cheese bread and garnish with fresh basil. This is my Pappardelle And Meatballs.

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Pappardelle Alla Bolognese

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My Pappardelle Alla Bolognese will have you coming back for seconds. The beautiful thick flat pasta known as Pappardelle is perfect for this ragu, known as Bolognese, to complement these ribbons of pasta. Let me tell you how I make this delicious sauce.

I wanted to mention that whenever I make any type of tomato sauce I always have extra. This time is no different. What I decided to do is to post one or two recipes using my leftover Bolognese. At the bottom of this post is a link to one of those recipes. I hope you’ll check out my Portobello Mushroom Pizzas.

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Roasted Red Peppers

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Olive Oil

Fennel

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Chicken Broth

Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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fresh basil

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Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 3 hours 17 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 47 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) deep-sided frying pan, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 1 (6-quart) saucepot, large slotted spoon, colander, 1 large mixing bowl, 2 medium-size bowls, 1 (10-cup) food processor, mini food processor, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, Microplane

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound of (90% lean) ground sirloin
1 pound of ground pork
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
3 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, finely minced
4 tablespoons of dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 large leafy-top carrots, peeled cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2onions, 1 roughly chopped, 1/2 finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, 3 roughly chopped, 1 finely minced
3 ribs of celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of Cabernet (a good red wine)
1 cup of chicken broth, reduced sodium
1 (12-ounce) jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed (substitute roasted red peppers)
1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 fresh bay leaves (substitute dry)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (ground), extra cheese for the top
1 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, extra sprigs for garnish
2 (16-ounce) packages of Pappardelle

Directions:
Here I’m using three types of meat, sweet Italian sausage, ground pork, and lean ground sirloin.

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 the ground pork, ground sirloin, and sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon break up all the meat. Add the minced garlic, dried oregano, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and finely minced fresh rosemary.

Cook 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.

The next step is to prepare the *sofrito (vegetable mixture). In a food processor add the quartered onions, chopped garlic cloves, pulse until puréed. To the puréed onions and garlic, add the chopped celery, repeat the process. Transfer the onion, garlic and celery mixture to a bowl. Repeat the process with the chopped carrots, transfer to the same bowl. Refer to the picture containing the *sofrito above. Last, add the Piquillo peppers to the food processor, pulse until the peppers are puréed, transfer to a separate bowl. Set both bowls aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute allowing the spices to *bloom.

Next, add the *sofrito, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, and tomato paste stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently allowing the vegetables to release their water and soften around 5 minutes.

At this point add the chicken broth and red wine. Stir and allow the liquids to reduce by half, 3 to 4 minutes. This completes the base for the Bolognese.

Next in the pot goes the cans of tomatoes. Add the whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and the diced fire-roasted tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon break up the whole tomatoes. Add bay leaves (don’t forget to remove the bay leaves when the sauce is done), 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, and the brown sugar. Stir to combine.

Turn the heat down to medium-low, simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Next, add the browned meat mixutre to the sauce, stir to combine. Simmer over low heat for another 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat off. Tear fresh basil leaves dropping them into the sauce, stir to combine, cover to keep hot.

In a large stockpot filled with 8 quarts of salted boiling water, drop both packages of the Pappardelle. Cook according to directions on the package,  8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain really well.

To the bottom of a large, family-style serving bowl add 1 cup of the grated (ground) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Add the hot cooked pasta to the bowl. Toss to coat the pasta. Ladle 2 to 3 large ladles full of the Bolognese and toss through. Garnish with fresh basil. Top with more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve hot.

I like to serve Pappardelle Alla Bolognese family-style.

*Sofrito is generally a Caribbean sauce or Latin American sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs. In this recipe, it’s the use of carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and Piquillo peppers.

*Bloom is a term used in cooking. Blooming spices or herbs in fat before the liquid goes into the pot can extract far more flavor than by simply simmering these ingredients in water.

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

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Homemade Sloppy Joes

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A childhood favorite. When your mom or dad made Sloppy Joes for dinner it wasn’t a matter of what’s for dinner, it’s, how long before dinner’s ready? My Homemade Sloppy Joes get the same response today.

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Onion

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) braising pot, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

Ingredients:
2 pounds of ground pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium-size onion, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 Poblano pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of tomato purée
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping tablespoon of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
1 (12-pack) package of Brioche hamburger buns
1/2 stick butter, unsalted and room temperature

Directions:
In a heavy bottom braising pot on medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the ground pork, breaking apart with the back of a wooden spoon into crumbles as it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Add diced onion, red, orange, and yellow diced bell peppers, and the diced Poblano pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes more until fragrant. Add the ground pork back into the same pot add the tomato paste. stir well.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Add ketchup, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato purée, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, stir well to combine. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes or until mixture has thickened to your liking.

While the sloppy joe mixture is simmering, butter the Brioche buns, place onto 2 baking sheet pans and toast until a light golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.

To serve, place 2 Brioche hamburger buns onto a plate. Ladle a good helping of the hot sloppy joe mixture onto each one. There you have it, my Homemade Sloppy Joes.

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