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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Farro With Cranberries, Pineapple, And Pistachios

Farro is a food composed of the grains of certain wheat species. If you love barley you’ll definitely love Farro. Farro has a slightly nuttier flavor with a chewy texture that’s really delicious.  If you’re one that doesn’t/can’t eat sweets, for one reason or another, this dish will satisfy all those cravings. The natural sweetness in dried fruit once rehydrated is super intense.

Prepared similar to pasta, Farro is cooked in water until tender, or if you prefer, Al Dente. Farro With Cranberries, Pineapple, And Pistachios give a slightly sweeter take on the many traditional recipes that are available.

Cranberry, Pineapple, And Pistachio Farro (2)

Cranberry, Pineapple, And Pistachio Farro (4)

Cranberry, Pineapple, And Pistachio Farro (3)

Cranberry, Pineapple, And Pistachio Farro (5)

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 2 to 4 servings
Equipment: 3-quart sauce pot

Ingredients:
1 cup of uncooked Farro, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 cups of unsalted vegetable broth (or water)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried pineapple
1/8 cup of pistachios, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh basil, finely julienned (substitute fresh mint)

Directions:
In a large saucepot on medium heat, place 1 cup of farro with 3 cups of unsalted vegetable broth and the dried fruit. Bring to a low boil and season with Kosher salt. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until al dente. When the farro is done, drain any excess liquid that may remain. Add the chopped pistachios and fresh basil, stir to combine. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Tips For Your Fresh Herbs

Frozen Fresh Basil

Frozen Fressh Basil

When certain herbs aren’t in season, I have a great tip for storing them so you’ll have fresh herbs all year long. Ice cube trays are an awesome way to do just that. You want to finely chop the herb of your choice.  Next, place them into whatever type of tray you have on hand. I have these funky rectangle ice trays that have silicone bottoms, so they are easy to pop out whatever you’ve frozen.

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I place the herbs in each one. These hold 1 tablespoon each. Next, carefully fill them up with water, and freeze.

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Once they’re frozen, I pop them out and transfer to ziplock baggies. Mark the bags with the name of the herb and the date. You’ll have fresh herbs whenever you need them.

Frozen Fressh Basil

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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 your guests. I’m also adding a couple of secret ingredients to 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.

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The first secret ingredient for my meatballs is basil pesto. 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 add basil pesto, to your meatballs, look for the pesto that’s kept in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, rather than the jarred pesto.

In some of my earlier posts, I’ve mentioned using basil pesto in my meatball recipes and it really elevates the flavor. When you think about it, they’re really ingredients you would most likely add to your meatball recipe.

The second secret ingredient I’m using is whole milk ricotta cheese. Ricotta doesn’t add any noticeable flavor but it definitely acts as a tenderizer.

Note:
Anytime you want to make meatballs start with the flavorings in a large mixing bowl first. You want the flavoring mixture 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” better-known as cookie/ice cream scoops. The cookie-dough scoop in the middle is equivalent to 1 1/2 tablespoons and perfect for my mini meatballs. Relatively speaking that’s half the size of a golf ball.

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Homemade SpaghettiO's (2)

Homemade SpaghettiO's (1)

 

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

Ingredients For Meatballs: Yields 48 meatballs
2 pounds ground chicken or 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 chicken. 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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