Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Braciole and Sweet Italian Sausage

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My Braciole And Sweet Italian Sausage is a childhood favorite. I’ve updated my grandmother’s Braciole recipe.

Braciole or Involtini are stuffed beef rolls filled with just the right amount of ingredients along with the perfect balance of flavors.

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Sweet Italian Sausage (5)

Sweet Italian Sausage (1)

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Onions

Stuffing (2)

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Olive Oil

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Basil and Italian flat-leaf parsley

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 38 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 8 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: mini food processor, 6-quart Dutch oven, 12-inch sauté pan, 6-quart saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, cast-iron grill pan, meat mallet

Ingredients For Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of good tomato paste
1 pint of Cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 cup of good red wine, Chianti
2 fresh bay leaves, (substitute dried)
2 (28-ounce) cans of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
6 to 8 large basil leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

1 pound of sweet Italian sausage links (5 links)
2 pounds of top round beef steaks (Scallopini-syle)
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine

Ingredients For The Filling:
1 cup of Italian season breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of Pecorino-Romano cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup of golden raisins
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil, plus extra if needed

Directions For Tomato Sauce:
Start by the tomato sauce. First, preheat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and tomato paste, allowing the tomato paste to begin to melt. Next, add the diced onions, dried oregano, light brown sugar, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, frequently stirring, cooking the onions until they become translucent around 1 to 2 minutes.

To the onions add the quartered mushrooms, dried thyme, and bay leaves, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release all their water and begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. To the mushrooms and onions, add the minced garlic, stir and cook for another minute.

Next, add the red wine, stirring and scraping the bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring up to a bubble and allow the wine to reduce by half. Finally, add the crushed tomatoes, stir to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 35 minutes.

Directions For Italian Sausage:
First, using a fork, prick 3 sets of holes into the sausage links on both sides. Transfer the sausage links into a large saucepot. Cover with chicken broth and cover with a tight-fitting lid, preferably glass. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sausage is no longer pink. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the sausage links to a plate and set aside.

Preheat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the grill pan. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the grilled Italian sausage to the pot of tomato sauce.

One at a time, place the beef between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet (smooth side), gently pound to 1/8-inch in thickness. Set aside.

Directions For The Filling:
In a large mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs, Pecorino-Romano cheese, golden raisins, finely chopped basil, toasted pine nuts, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and olive oil, mix until the filling just comes together.

Directions For Braciole:
Line all the prepared beef slices on a (meat-safe board) flat surface. Sprinkle the filling evenly over all the beef slices. Roll the beef into a cylinder, tucking in the sides to hold in the filling as you roll. Secure with toothpicks.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place the beef rolls, seam side down in the pan, and brown seam side first to seal the rolls. Cook, turning the meat occasionally until each roll is nicely browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the seared stuffed beef rolls (Braciole) to the pot of tomato sauce.

In that same sauté pan, still over medium-high heat, add 1/4 cup of red wine, scraping (to *deglaze) all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour all that delicious flavor right into the pot of tomato sauce, gently stir to combine.

Simmer the Braciole and Sweet Italian Sausage on low to medium-low, in the tomato sauce, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Finish by garnishing with finely chopped fresh basil.

*Deglaze: The process of scraping meat sediments off the bottom of a pan and/or pot typically using wine.

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Mussels Oreganata

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I’m originally from New Jersey. We grew up eating a lot of black mussels. So when I found these PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels I knew they would be perfect to use in my Mussels Oreganata. 

First, I need to clip a few fresh herbs from my Organic Hanging Herb Garden. This recipe is super easy to make and a great first course if you serving pasta. This is my Mussels Oreganata.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Oregano

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Mint

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fresh basil

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 4 servings (6 per person)
Equipment: 6-quart saucepot, 1 large stockpot with a tight-fitting lid,2 rimmed baking sheet pans, spider

Ingredients:
24 PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels, beards removed and cleaned
3 1/2 cups Chardonnay
6 garlic cloves, 3 smashed, 3 grated
2 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
1 tablespoon of Pernod
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs, seasoned
3/4 cup *E.V.O.O., plus extra for drizzling over top
4 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges for garnish
Fresh oregano sprigs for garnish

Directions:
Preheat broiler.
First, fill a sink with very cold water. Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, swish the water around with your hands. Place the mussels into the sink. Mussels act like filters and will drink in the flour/water mixture and spit it back out along with any sand they may be holding.

Note: Discard any mussels that are open and/or cracked, they’re no longer alive.

Using a stiff brush, scrub the shells to remove any barnacles or debris that may be attached to the outside of the mussel. Grasp the beard, the fibrous clump, and pull out swiftly towards the hinged end. Rinse thoroughly, transfer cleaned mussels to a large saucepot, set aside.

In a large stockpot, over high heat add 3 smashed garlic cloves and the Chardonnay. Bring to a boil.

Next, add the mussels and cover. Steam for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they’ve all opened. Using a spider (a large slotted ladle) discard any unopened mussels. Those are no good.

Remove the top shell from each one of the mussels (yielding 24 mussels on the half-shell). Arrange the half-shells in a single layer (12 on each pan) onto  2 rimmed baking sheet pans, lined with foil.

In a large mixing bowl, add breadcrumbs, Pernod, olive oil, oregano, mint, basil, parsley, grated garlic, minced shallot, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine.

Top each of the mussels with the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle each one with *E.V.O.O. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

To Serve: Arrange 6 Mussels Oreganata on each serving plate. Garnish with lemon wedges and a sprig of fresh oregano.

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

My Hanging Organic Herb Garden

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Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew

 

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Everyone has their own family meatball recipe but this one is a little different because I’ve given these chicken meatballs the flavor of Italian sausage. Chicken is a lot leaner than pork so we are going to cut some fat there, and that’s a good thing. Whenever I make meatballs I almost always make a double batch. It’s really just as easy to double the recipe if you’re going to make them. You can easily freeze the cooked meatballs and then you’ll have them ready to add to any future recipe.

Kale, another superfood, is packed full of vitamins. I feel really good about my Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew,  I just might even have a piece of crusty bread for dipping, Oh yeah!

Dutch Oven

Olive Oil

Kale

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Onions

Stuffing (2)

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Cookie Dough Scoops

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Fennel

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Cremini Mushrooms

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Yields: 30 meatballs
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, cookie-dough scoop, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, parchment paper, chef’s knife

Note: Use half the meatballs for this recipe. After the meatballs are cooked allow half of them (15 meatballs) to come to room temperature. Place into a resealable zip-lock bag and transfer to the freezer.

Ingredients For Chicken Meatballs:
3 pounds of ground chicken
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 7-ounce container of store-bought fresh basil pesto (use 1/4 cup for this recipe)
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
3 cloves of garlic, freshly
2 tablespoons of Ketchup
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (reserve the rind)
2 cups of Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Ingredients For the Stew:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced (1/4-inch dice)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (1/4-inch chunks)
2 (14.5)-ounce cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 pints of mushrooms, quartered
2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted
1 reserved cheese rind, cut in half
1 (9-ounce) box of (Birds Eye) frozen whole artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered
2 bunches of organic kale, chopped (8 to 10 cups)
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch

 

Directions For Chicken Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper, of each pan, with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl and add all the ingredients (except the ground chicken) for the meatballs. Once everything is in the bowl mix to combine. You want the flavorings to have the consistency of wet sand. Next, add the ground meat to the bowl. Using a fork, evenly distribute the flavorings throughout the ground chicken. It may take a few minutes but it’s so worth it for your meatballs to be light and tender.

Using a cookie-dough scoop ensures the meatballs will be the same size. Scoop the meat mixture into your hands forming a ball. Continue until all the meatball mixture is finished.

Arrange the meatballs onto two baking sheet pans with space between each one. Lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with non-stick cooking spray to ensure they will brown evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

In the meantime prep the *Mirepoix for the soup. Dice the carrots, celery, and onions. Finish by mincing the garlic. Next, dice the potatoes and quarter the mushrooms. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Set aside.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat add olive oil, diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir until the onions start to soften. Add the diced carrots, mushrooms, Stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms release their liquid and the carrots begin to soften 12 to 14 minutes. Add the minced garlic cook for 1 minute more.

Add the diced potatoes, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Add both cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and sugar, again stir to combine.

Remove the meatballs from the oven. Gently transfer them into the pot. Add the chicken stock, cheese rind, stir gently.

Still, over medium heat, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. After 40 minutes add thawed artichokes and chopped kale. The kale may need to be added in stages allowing it to wilt down into the liquid. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

In a small bowl add cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water, mix until smooth and paste-like. Slowly add the cornstarch *slurry into the pot and stir gently so as not to break the meatballs. Again continue to cook until the broth thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve with a piece of crusty bread and you will be in heaven. This is my Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew.

*Slurry is a mixture of a cold liquid with cornstarch, also known as a cornstarch slurry. It’s used as a thickening agent. A typical cornstarch slurry will consist of 2 parts cold water and 1 part cornstarch. A slurry can also be made using equal parts of flour and water.

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