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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

A classic Italian combination is a slice of meat paired with fruit like prosciutto with melon or even figs. Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes (seedless green, red, or both) is a roller coaster for your taste buds combining flavors and textures.

Seedless green or red grapes, when in season, are bursting with sweetness.

This dish is usually served with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping. I’m changing up the traditional Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes. I’m going to be adding potatoes, a perfect accompaniment to this dish, a complete one-pot meal. Potatoes were a huge part of my mom’s recipes. I suppose this is where my English influence comes into play.  I’m not stopping there, for some added color and flavor, roasted sweet bell peppers, YUM!

There are a couple of different ways you can make this dish, you can choose to use half hot and half sweet Italian pork sausage, that’s traditional. You could even substitute Italian style turkey sausage or Italian style chicken sausage. I’m going to use a leaner and less fatty option, mild Italian chicken sausage for this recipe.

If you’ve never tried roasting grapes, well… you don’t know what you’re missing. They add amazing sweetness to this dish. A perfect harmony of savory and sweet flavors. Let’s get started.

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (20)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

You can see above how much leaner the Italian chicken sausage is from the traditional Italian pork sausage.

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Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (18)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (20)

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings
Equipment: large 11 x 13 baking dish

Ingredients:
2-packages (10 links) Italian chicken sausage (substitute 1/2 hot and 1/2 sweet, Italian pork sausage, or Italian style turkey sausage)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 2-pound bag petite red potatoes, cut in half
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
6 cups of seedless green grapes, halved
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoon dry Chianti (red wine)
1 quart plus a 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 4-6 sprigs for individual servings, to garnish

Balsamic Glaze:
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup pan juices

Directions:
Note: Cooking Times may vary slightly. If any or a few of the potatoes are larger than most, cut the larger ones into quarters. The potatoes need to be similar in size.
First, slice the potatoes in half.
Add the halved potatoes into a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water. On medium-high heat. Bring the potatoes up to a boil. Continue boiling the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until just fork tender. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

Note: Cooking times may vary slightly.
Using a fork prick each of the sausage links 3 times on each side. Pour 1 quart of unsalted chicken broth into a large sauce pot, similar to the one in the picture above. Place the 10 sausage links into the pot (make sure the liquid covers the sausage links, add water if needed), turn the heat to medium, and cover. Parboil the sausages until grey throughout, about 12-15 minutes.

The parboiled sausages and potatoes should be done around the same time.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
While the potatoes and sausages are on the stove being parboiled, prep the grapes, peppers, onion, and garlic placing them into a large mixing bowl. Add  1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, tossing to coat with oil and seasoning.

Next, using tongs, transfer the sausage links to a plate lined with paper towel. Drain the potatoes and transfer them back into the same pot. This will allow (because the pot is still very hot) any excess water to evaporate from the potatoes. Set the pot aside for a minute. Once the potatoes are free of any excess water, move onto the next step.

Place the potatoes into the baking dish first. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, toss to coat all the potatoes. Add the grapes, peppers, onions, and garlic mixture to the baking dish. Using a pair of tongs, place the Italian chicken sausage links on top. Pour the chicken stock and red wine all over the top. Finally, place the 3 sprigs of rosemary on top.

Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Turning the sausage links halfway through the cooking process. This allows for both sides to brown really well.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Using a ladle remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the baking dish to keep everything warm.

Directions For Balsamic Glaze:
Using a ladle, remove the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish to a measuring cup. In a small sauce pot, pour in the cooking liquid. Next, add the balsamic vinegar. Turn heat to medium-high, whisking occasionally, cook allowing the vinegar and juices to reduce and become thick and syrupy around 5 minutes.

Pour the Balsamic Glaze over the sausages and grapes. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

To serve:
Bring the baking dish right to the table Set on a using a trivet. Serve hot and family style.

 

 

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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 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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Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy

Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy (1)

Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy (2)

This dish is one of our favorites. I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked to make my Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy. The meat is so tender, the mushroom and onions pair perfectly with that deep brown gravy that swims over the egg noodles. This recipe is really easy to make. Let me show you how.

I prefer to use a large sautèpan to brown and caramelize the meat because of its large surface area. I do the browning in two batches so as not to overcrowd the meat during the browning process, then I transfer the meat to the braising pot.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: Heavy bottom braising pot with lid, large sautépan, large pot, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, 6-quart pot

Ingredients:
pinch of Kosher salt
pinch of granulated sugar
1/4 cup red wine, divided
1 1/2 pounds of top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch bite-size pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tbsp for mushrooms, 3 tbsp for egg noodles
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil,  2 tbsp for browning each batch of the sirloin steak cubes, 1 tbsp for mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced
3 fresh sprigs of thyme (if the stems are woody, strip off the leaves, if the stems are still green and tender, no need to remove them)
1/4 cup good red wine
2 cup unsalted beef stock, reserve 1 cup of chilled beef stock for a slurry, (*see slurry)
1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1-10 1/2-ounce can of beef consommé
2 pints of Cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 pint of Shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 yellow onions chopped
1 package of NO Yolks Broad Noodles, prepared
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley to garnish egg noodles, (optional)

Directions For Browning Sirloin:
Lay the steak cubes out on a sheet pan and pat dry with paper towel. Season with Kosher salt freshly cracked black pepper. Using your hands, toss until all the sirloin tips are coated with the seasoning.

In a large preheated sautèpan on medium heat, add half (2 tablespoons) of the olive oil. Add half the steak cubes to the sautèpan, do not overcrowd. Allow them to brown, 3-4 minutes, then flip the sirloin tips to brown on the other side, again 3 to 4 minutes. Brown the steak cubes in two batches. Once all the cubes are browned off, transfer them to the braising pot.

To release those delicious flavor bits stuck to the bottom of the sautépan, start by turning the heat to medium-high. Add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted add the diced onions, mushrooms, fresh minced rosemary and thyme sprigs. Using a wooden spoon continue to stir scraping the bottom of the pan. Next, add the minced garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the wine to deglaze the pan.

Using the wooden spoon again, scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Season with a sprinkle of Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Once the wine has completely evaporated, another 1 to 2 minutes, transfer the mushroom and onion mixture to the braising pot.

Reserve 1 cup, in a small bowl or container of the unsalted beef stock. Place into the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
On medium-high heat, add the remaining unsalted beef stock, beef consommé, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Bring to a boil then turn the heat off. Place the lid on, transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour, or until meat is tender.

To the reserved 1 cup of chilled unsalted beef stock add 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisk both together until it forms a smooth paste.

Remove the pot from the oven. Using pot holders, remove the lid. Turn the heat to medium. Add the *slurry slowly, stirring occasionally, and cook until thickened and bubbly. Once the sauce has thickened turn the heat to off and replace the lid to keep hot.

Start the egg noodles.

Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. In a large bowl add the remaining butter and chopped parsley. Drain noodles really well, then add to the bowl, toss to combine.

To serve. place buttered parsley egg noodles into a serving bowl, ladle the Sirloin Tips With Mushroom Gravy over top. Serve hot.

*Slurry: For each cup of liquid you want to thicken, start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a bowl or measuring cup. Add an equal amount of cold liquid and whisk until smooth paste forms.

 

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (2)

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (3)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

Before I get into this post, a video at www.YouTube.com/LindaHamel is going to be posted on my  YouTube channel, for this recipe. There’s a couple of things I want to mention.
1). I 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. The video would run over an hour and a half long and with everyone having busy lives, I thought, that would be just a bad idea. to keep the video short and sweet, I decided to prepare all the components for the lasagna in advance. In the video, I generally go through the steps on how I made each one. The video really concentrates on the assembly and the cooking process.
2). Something else I decided not to mention is adding fresh and dried Thyme to my sautèed mushrooms.  I felt it’s an ingredient that’s a personal preference. Thyme has a slight lemony flavor that I think pairs really well with mushrooms. In my ingredient list below, I include both dried and fresh Thyme but made them optional.
3). It’s important that if you want to make this recipe the ingredients and directions are at the bottom of this post.

After coming out of the oven, lasagna needs to rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting. The reason for that is that lasagna needs time to set up.

The top picture is after it’s been done cooking and 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.

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (1)

My Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna 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 takes comfort food to a whole other level.

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Once the spinach has thawed completely, squeeze all the excess water from the spinach. You want the spinach to be as dry as possible.

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (10)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

Ingredients:
2 boxes of dried oven ready lasagna noodles ( you may only need a little over 1 box)
2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1 stick for Bechamel sauce, 3 tablespoons for mushrooms, the remainder for greasing baking dish
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of freshly minced Thyme leaves (optional)
1 tablespoons of dried Thyme (optional)
4 cups whole milk
2 -10 ounce packages of thawed, drained spinach, squeeze out excess water
3/4 of 32 ounce container of Ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (for Ricotta mixture)
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for Ricotta mixture)
3 large eggs
1 large package of fresh Mozzarella, slice into 14 rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon for freshly ground nutmeg (store- bought ground is fine)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for Bechamel sauce)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for sautéed mushrooms)
2 pounds of sliced sautéed wild mushrooms
4 large cloves garlic minced
1 cup of grated Parmesan
8 ounces (1 cup) store-bought shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup of fresh and finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for Ricotta mixture,
2 tablespoons dried parsley for top

Directions For Spinach:
Thaw 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 bowl and set aside.

Directions For Cheeses:
Place store bought shredded Mozzarella cheese in a bowl and set aside. Chop up the Parmesan 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 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, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg, and cook over med-low heat, whisking for 3-5 minutes, until thick. To double check on the thickness of the Bechamel sauce, dip a wooden spoon into the sauce. Take your finger and make a line down the back of the spoon, if the sauce stays separate and doesn’t run together, sauce is ready. Immediately transfer to a large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly over the sauce, preventing a skin from forming, and set aside.

Directions For Sautéed Mushrooms: click the link below for recipe

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

YouTube Video for this recipe is at www.YouTube.com/LindaHamel

Assembling The Lasagna:
Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of the buttered 8 x 12 x 4 inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of oven-ready noodles on top, then ladle more Bechamel sauce. Sprinkle both grated Parmesan and shredded  Mozzarells cheeses. Next, add the half the spinach and mushrooms. To that, add the fresh Mozzarella slices.  Repeat this process once more. Next, add all of the Ricotta mixture 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 at 375 degrees F. 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. Can keep up to three months.

Directions For Cooking Frozen Lasagna:
Transfer the frozen lasagna to refrigerator 24 hours in advance. 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 at 425 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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