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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta

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Here in Florida, we have a popular restaurant/bar that serves Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta. Every time we go that’s what I order. I just love it so much I needed to recreate it at home.

I will say, a good bit of butter goes into making of this dish, but that’s part of the reason it’s so delicious. I think once and a while it’s alright to indulge in a rich and decadent dish!

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Chicken Broth

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diced roma tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: cast iron skillet and a deep-sided frying pan, 6-quart saucepot, whisk, large mixing bowl. 1-gallon zip-lock plastic bag, Microplane

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 pounds (1 1/2 boxes) of linguine
1 pint of white button mushrooms, sliced
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 shallot, finely minced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup of dry white wine
6 tablespoons of olive oil
8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (reserve 1/2 cup for garnishing each serving)
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish, finely chopped

Directions:
Place 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, that’s been patted dry, in a large resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika. Let all the air out of the bag and seal it up. Using your hands, massage the chicken so all the seasoning coats the chicken. Set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet over medium melt 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil. Add the minced shallot, sliced mushrooms, and dried thyme. Cook the mushrooms and shallots for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the mushrooms have released all their water and become brown. Next, add the minced garlic, stirring, continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated. This process should take another 7 to 10 minutes.

While the mushrooms are simmering seed and dice 4 plum tomatoes. Transfer the diced tomatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add the sautéed mushrooms and shallot mixture and fresh thyme leaves to the same bowl, mix to combine.

Using the same skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons each of butter olive oil. Let the butter melt moving the butter and oil around in the skillet to coat the entire bottom. Next, place the 4 seasoned chicken breast into the skillet. Cook the chicken breasts for 5 to 7 minutes per side until almost tender. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate. Set aside.

Have a large pot of boiling salted water ready for the pasta. While that’s happening, thinly slice the chicken breasts on the bias. Transfer back to the plate.

In a deep-sided frying pan with a lid, start the sauce. On medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter (this may seem like a large amount of butter, but there is a lot of pasta and it needs to be coated really well with butter) along with 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning and 1 tablespoon sweet paprika. Add 1/2 a cup of unsalted chicken broth. Let this come to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in 1/4 cup of heavy cream, whisk to combine. Add the sliced chicken into the sauce. Over medium-low heat simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Drop the pasta and cook until just al dente.

Once the pasta reaches the al dente stage, using a pair of tongs, transfer the linguine to the deep-sided frying pan with 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Turn the heat off and toss together until all the pasta is coated and the chicken is mixed through. The pasta will quickly absorb the sauce.

Serve my Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta in a porcelain pasta bowl. Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley and another sprinkling of the Parmesan cheese. If the dish is not being served immediately cover with a lid.

 

 

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Autumn Squash Soup

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This soup is so delicious and is a great way to ring in the fall season. I like to serve my Autumn Soup with a drizzle of *E.V.O.O,  Homemade Ciabatta Croutons, fresh chives, and roasted (Mexican pumpkin seeds) Pepitas.

It’s a nice way for your family and/or guests to customize their soup. There are a few steps in making this soup, but they are all really easy.

Mozzarella in Carrozza, which means carriage in Italian, is a type of fried cheese sandwich, in Italian cuisine, that’s super popular in the Campania region of Southern Italy. The perfect sandwich for dunking.

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Pumpkin Puree

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 10-cup food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 6-quart heavy-bottom saucepot, medium-size mixing bowl, large mixing bowl

Note: The soup alone is gluten-free.

Ingredients:
2 large butternut squash, peeled and seeded, 1 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup of olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper, divided

6 heaping cups of diced butternut squash, roasted
1 cup of onions, puréed (1 1/2 large onions, diced)
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped and puréed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder ( add more if you like more heat)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of chicken stock, unsalted
2 tablespoons of heavy cream
1/4 cup of chives, finely chopped for garnish
1/2 cup of Pepitas for garnish, roasted
Ciabatta croutons (optional)
*E.V.O.O. to drizzle over soup
Mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Start by peeling and seeding the butternut squash. Dice into 1 1/2-inch size chunks. Spread them out onto 2 rimmed baking sheet pans in one even layer, Drizzle olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Using your hands, toss to coat. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until caramelized and fork-tender.

In a food processor add diced onions and garlic, pulse until puréed. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In small batches, add the roasted squash to the food processor pulse until puréed. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat until all the squash has been processed.

In a saucepot over medium heat, heat olive oil, ground cumin, ground chipotle until the oil becomes fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the puréed onion mixture stir until coated with the spice mixture. Add Kosher salt and brown sugar, stir to combine. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Next, add the puréed butternut squash and pumpkin to the pot, again, stir to combine.

Add the chicken stock to the pot, stir to combine. Once the soup comes up to a very low boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Next, add the heavy cream then give that a big stir. Turn the heat off and cover to keep warm.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Soup’s ready! While it’s staying nice and warm, spread the Pepitas out in an even layer. Toast for 5 to 7 minutes or until you begin to smell their aroma. Chop fresh chives. Transfer both the Pepitas and chives to two small garnish bowls Serve with Homemade Ciabatta Croutons.

To serve, ladle my Autumn Soup into a porcelain serving bowl. Garnish with chives, Homemade Ciabatta Croutons, toasted Pepitas, and finally a drizzle of *E.V.O.O.

*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

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Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragu

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Whenever I talk about a “ragù”  it’s usually a meat-based sauce served with some type of pasta. In this case, I thought that using the soft pillowy texture of a potato Gnocchi would be perfect. This is my Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragu.

Let’s start with the ragù.

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Olive Oil

Fennel

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Onions

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Colander-Style Spoon

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 15 minutes (re-hydrating mushrooms)
Cooking Time: 40 minutes (includes the cooking time for browning sausage)
Total Cook Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 3-quart saucepan, 10-inch sauté pan, 12-inch rondeau (deep-sided frying pan) 6-quart saucepot, Microplane

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 (4.5-ounce) package of dried Porcini mushrooms
2 cups of beef broth, low sodium
1 cup of mushroom stock (the liquid from the re-hydrated Porcini mushrooms)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 package of store-bought potato gnocchi, (substitute homemade)
1 1/4 cups of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (reserve 1/2 cup to sprinkle over each serving)

Directions:
Start by re-hydrating the Porcini mushrooms over medium-low heat with unsalted beef broth, 15 to 20 minutes until plump. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and transfer them to a cutting board, reserving the mushroom liquid. Next, finely dice the mushrooms placing them into a small bowl.

In a rondeau pan (deep-sided frying pan) over medium heat add olive oil and fennel seeds. Next, add  Italian sausage to the pan breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until sausage is completely brown, with no pink, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and drain the grease by using a strainer or a slotted spoon, transferring the sausage to a large mixing bowl.

While the sausage is browning, dice up the onion and mince the garlic. Set aside.

Using the same rondeau pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, allowing the onions become soft and translucent 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the chopped Porcini mushrooms, minced garlic, and the fresh thyme leaves, stir to combine.

At this point, add the gnocchi into a pot of boiling salted water.

Add the reserved mushroom stock to the pan. Allow the stock to simmer and reduce until there is only a couple of tablespoons of the liquid is left in the pan. Add the cooked sausage and crushed tomatoes, stir to combine, simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream, stir through.

When it the Gnocchi begins floating they’re done. Using a colander-style spoon transfer the gnocchi into the pan with the ragù, stir gently to combine. Turn the heat to off. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, again, stir to combine. Garnish with chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley.

Ladle the Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragù into individual porcelain serving bowls. Top with more of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve hot.

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