Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

The Perfect Panini

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Well, I just bought myself a Panini press and I’m thrilled. This new toy gave me an idea, fresh Focaccia for my panini. I’m using my Homemade Focaccia With Garlic And Rosemary for The Perfect Panini.

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Prep Time: 1o minutes
Cook Time: 5 to 8 minutes
Total Time: 18  minutes
Yields: 2 to 4 servings
Equipment: Panini maker

Ingredients:
Homemade Focaccia, 4 slices (substitute Ciabatta or a good artisanal bread)
6 slice of fresh Mozzarella cheese, 1/4-inch thick slices
6 slices of Proscuitto, thinly sliced
6 slices of Capicola, thinly sliced
6 slices of Genoa salami, thinly sliced
6 slices of roasted Piquillo peppers, julienned
6 large basil leaves
2 tablespoons of fresh store-bought (Buitoni) basil pesto, divided per sandwich
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, fresh ground to taste

Directions:
Preheat the panini press according to manufacturer’s directions. Using non-stick cooking spray, liberally spray the panini press.

On a flat surface, lay two slices of focaccia to use as the bottom portion for your sandwich. Spread 2 tablespoons of the fresh store-bought basil pesto, evenly divided, on the bottom half of each piece of Foccacia. Place three slices of each of deli meats on each slice of focaccia.

Next, the sliced Mozzarella, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Finally, top with the roasted julienned peppers and fresh basil leaves. Place the tops on each sandwich and press down firmly. Place the sandwiches into the Panini press and close. Cook until the bread is golden-brown with beautiful grill marks, and the cheese is completely melted 5 to 8 minutes. This is my version of The Perfect Panini. 

To get my recipe for Homemade Focaccia With Garlic And Rosemary click the link below.

Homemade Focaccia With Rosemary And Garlic

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna

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My Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna dish is loaded with flavor. I promise you won’t miss the meat! Mushrooms are such a great substitute for meat. Their meaty texture and earthy flavor paired with spinach, fresh mozzarella, and creamy Béchamel sauce take comfort food to a whole other level.

My Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna video will take you through a shortened version of this recipe. No one wants to watch an entire video from start to finish on making a Lasagna. To keep the video short and sweet, I decided to prepare all the components for the lasagna in advance. While generally going through the steps the video really concentrates on the assembly and the cooking process.

The top picture is after it’s rested for 20 minutes. The picture below is after the entire casserole dish had been refrigerated overnight and then a piece was cut.  You can see a big difference in the presentation. Truth be told, I think lasagna is always better the second day.

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Shitake Mushrooms (2)

Trumpet Mushrooms

Cremini Mushrooms (2)

thyme

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Oyster Mushrooms

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Portobello Mushroms

Cremini And White Button Mushrooms

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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eggs

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (10)

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

 

 

 

 

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
Equipment: 3-quart baking dish (15″ x 9 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ high), 6-quart saucepot, 3 large mixing  bowls, medium-size bowl, Rondeau (large deep-sided frying pan), chef’s knife, Microplane

Ingredients:
2 boxes of dried oven-ready lasagna noodles ( you may only need a little over 1 box)
2 sticks of butter, unsalted, 1 stick for Bechamel sauce, 3 tablespoons for mushrooms, the remainder for greasing the baking dish
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cups whole milk
2 (10-ounce) packages of thawed, drained spinach, remove any excess water
3/4 (24 ounces) of 1 (32-ounce) container of whole milk Ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (for Ricotta mixture)
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for Ricotta mixture)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large package of fresh Mozzarella, slice into 14 rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly ground
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
1 cup (8 ounces) of store-bought low moisture shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley finely chopped for Ricotta mixture, plus 2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh Thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
Note: approx. 1 1/2 pounds of mushrooms in total.
2 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 pint of white Button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 pints of Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
5 Oyster mushrooms, cleaned, central stem removed and discarded
6 Trumpet mushrooms, bottom tip removed, then sliced into 2-inch pieces
10 Shitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1/4 cup beef stock, unsalted, substitute vegetable stock or a good red wine

Directions For Sautèed Wild Mushrooms:
In a large deep-sided frying pan (if you don’t have one of these pans, sauté your mushrooms in two batches, about 5 minutes per batch) over medium heat, melt butter, and olive oil then add in fresh and dried thyme. Next, add the mushrooms, tossing and stirring continuously. As the mushrooms cook they’ll start to release their water.

Add in the minced garlic and black pepper, again, stirring occasionally.  Once all their water has evaporated, there will be mushroom bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock and scrape all those delicious bits up using a wooden spoon. Once the mushrooms have really started to brown, this is when you want to salt the mushrooms. Continue stirring and allow the mushrooms to cook, absorbing the remainder of the beef broth and become tender about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Directions For Spinach:
Defrost both boxes of frozen spinach the day before. Once thawed, drain and squeeze dry any excess water. You want the spinach to be as free of any water as possible. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Directions For Cheeses:
Place store-bought shredded Mozzarella cheese in a bowl and set aside. Chop up the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into small chunks and place them into a food processor. Pulse a few times until you have the consistency of ground cheese. For the fresh Mozzarella, slice the Mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place all prepped cheeses in the frig until needed.

Directions For Ricotta:
In a large bowl add Ricotta, 3 beaten large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, and pepper, and finely chopped fresh flat leave Italian parsley. Mix together until well combined and set aside.

Directions For The Bechamel Sauce:
Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick) in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, whisking constantly until the flour has cooked out and becomes blonde in color. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Double-check the thickness of the Bechamel sauce by dipping a wooden spoon into the sauce. Take your finger and make a line down the back of the spoon, if the sauce stays separated and doesn’t run together, the sauce is ready. Immediately transfer to a large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly over the sauce, preventing a skin from forming, and set aside.

Assembling Lasagna:
Preheat
 oven to 375-degrees F.
Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Arrange a layer of oven-ready noodles on top, then ladle more Bechamel sauce. Sprinkle both grated Parmesan and shredded  Mozzarella cheeses. Next, add half the spinach and mushrooms. To that, add the fresh Mozzarella slices.  Repeat this process once more. Next, add all of the Ricotta mixtures and top with another layer of the noodles. Lightly press, with your hands, on the top to make sure all the ingredients are nice and level in the dish. Over that last layer of noodles top with the rest of the Bechamel sauce and a final sprinkle of both grated Parmesan and shredded Mozzarella cheeses. Add a sprinkle of dried parsley over the top for color.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Once out of the oven, let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Directions For Reheating Refrigerated Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Pour between 2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup of water over the lasagna (depending on its size). Spray the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sprayed side down over the lasagna and seal tight around the edges of the baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until lasagna is hot and bubbly.

Directions For Freezing Fully-Cooked Lasagna:
Make sure the lasagna has cooled completely, at least an hour and a half. Wrap the entire baking dish in freezer-safe plastic wrap. This ensures there are no gaps in the wrap where air can get in and cause freezer burn. Then place foil over the top. It can keep up to three months.

Directions For Cooking Frozen Lasagna:
Transfer the frozen lasagna to the refrigerator 24 hours in advance.
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Before going into the oven, remove the foil and plastic wrap from the baking dish and replace it with new foil that’s been sprayed with some non-stick cooking spray, on the dull side of the foil.  Add  2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup (depending on the size of the lasagna) of water over the top of the lasagna. Place the sprayed side down over the top, seal the edges tight. This will prevent any cheese from sticking to foil. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Catch my YouTube channel at http://www.YouTube.com/Linda Lou Hamel

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

 

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Pappardelle With Sweet Italian Sausage, Fresh Mozzarella, And Basil

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 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. This is my Pappardelle With Sweet Italian Sausage, Fresh Mozzarella, And Basil.

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Sweet Italian Sausage (2)

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Red Onion

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: small sauté pan with a glass lid, indoor grill pan, a rondeau (deep-sided frying/braising pan), 6-quart saucepot, colander, heavy grill press

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

Directions:
Prep all the vegetables first. Clean and slice the leeks, finely dice the red onion, bell peppers, and mince the garlic. Transfer all the vegetables to a large plate and set aside.

Prep the fresh herbs and dice the fresh Mozzarella cheese into 1-inch cubes. Transfer into 2 small bowls. Set aside.

To prepare the sausage, prick each of the links with a fork approx. three times on each side. Place the links into a small sauté pan. Cover with 1/2 cup of unsalted chicken broth. Turn the heat to medium-high and cover. Poach the sausage links in the broth for about 10 minutes or until links are no longer pink and the internal temperature reads 150-degrees F.

Transfer the sausage links to a plate. Preheat an indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Arrange all the sausage links on the grill pan. Place a grill press over the links to ensure even grilling. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes, per side. Once all the links have grill marks on both sides transfer the links again to a plate. Carefully remove the hot grill pan from the stovetop. Slice the grilled links on a bias and transfer to a bowl.

In a preheated large rondeau (deep-sided frying/braising pan) over medium-high heat, add in the olive oil, dried oregano, fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add the sliced leeks to the pan stirring frequently. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft.

Next, add in the diced red onion and bell peppers. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes or until all the veggies soften. Finally, add the minced garlic, stir through and cook for 1 minute more.

Have a pot of salted boiling water ready on the back burner.

Add white wine, unsalted chicken stock, and grilled sliced sausage. Bring everything up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, simmer for another 10 minutes.

In the meantime, drop the pasta. Cook the pasta, to al dente, following the instructions on the package, usually about 10 minutes.

Once the pasta is al dente, using a pair of tongs transfer the pasta to the pan containing the grilled sausage and vegetables. Toss the pasta through. The pasta may absorb most of the liquid. If this is the case, add 1 or 2 ladles of the starchy pasta cooking liquid and toss. Turn the heat off, and transfer to a large serving platter. Add the diced fresh mozzarella basil leaves, and finely chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

There you have it, Pappardelle With Sweet Italian Sausage, Fresh Mozzarella, And Basil.

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