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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Updated-Tuscan Soup With Parmesan Croutons

Tuscan Soup With Parrmesan Croutons

Tuscan Soup (1)

This soup is one you’ll have to try, it’s my Updated-Tuscan Soup With Homemade Croutons. The heavy cream adds a silkiness to the soup.

Filled with chicken sausage, potatoes, and kale, and topped with homemade croutons. I decided to make a lighter version, instead of pork sausage, I’m using chicken sausage here but, turkey sausage would be just as delicious.

Let’s start with the potatoes.

The one thing I do in advance of making the soup is to par-boil the potatoes. This will remove the starch from the potatoes giving you a clear broth, not one that’s cloudy.

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Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, large mixing bowl, 6-quart stockpot

Ingredients:
1 16-ounce bag kale, pre-washed chopped
6 large red potatoes, sliced thin, then cut into half-moons (as seen above)
1 1/2 pounds chicken sausage (substitute pork or turkey), casings removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package of thawed frozen yellow corn
1 yellow onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2-quarts unsalted chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Prepare the Potatoes:
In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the sliced potatoes. Par-boil sliced potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well, transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking prep all the veggies.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven, over medium heat, add olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and fresh rosemary, cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add diced onions and diced red bell peppers, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook and continue stirring for another 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.

To the pot, add the chicken sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage. Next, add the dried thyme. Cook sausage until brown, about 15 minutes. Chicken sausage is lean so there is no fat to drain.

Still, on medium heat, add the pre-washed chopped Kale in batches. Once the first batch goes into the pot, stir and combine until wilted. Add the second batch and repeat. Add the sliced potatoes, unsalted chicken broth, and corn. Stir all the ingredients together. Cook for 10 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low, add the heavy cream, stir and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Cover to keep hot.

Click the link below for my recipe for Homemade Ciabatta Croutons.

Serve hot.

 

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

 

Zuppa Toscana

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A Ladies Luncheon At Lynn’s Home

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My very good friend Lynn asked me if I would have a cooking class/ luncheon at her home. Without hesitation, I said yes! Her home is located in the Historic district of Orlando. This was the perfect place for Lynn and her friends, Marian, Jean, Diane, Gloria, and Sandy to spend some quality time together. I thought it would be a great idea to put a menu together. Show the girls some tips, and cooking techniques that they could take home and use when they’re cooking for their families.

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Earlier in the week, Lynn and I met to iron out all the details. We came up with a plan and set it in motion. Gifts for the girls, a tablescape that would compliment the Italian theme, and then, of course, the menu. The day before the luncheon, I went shopping and found some great seasonal ingredients at the local farmers market in town. I wanted the centerpiece for the table to also echo a few of the ingredients I was using. A large rustic bowl filled with pink grapefruits, lemons, fennel fronds, and fresh bay leaves.

Menu:
Peach Bellinis
Cheese Board, Parmesan, Parmigiano- Reggiano, and Grana Padano
Fennel Salad With Grapefruit, Red Onion and Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese garnished with edible flowers
Kale And White Bean Soup
Homemade croutons
Eton Mess By Way Of Italy (menu category -desserts)
Peach And Fresh Mint Iced Tea

I set up a small cheese board filled with shards of different types of Parmesan cheeses. The saltiness of the cheeses paired really well with the cocktail I made. I chose to serve Peach Bellinis  Fresh peach puree mixed with Prosecco sparkling wine, garnished with a strawberry. A traditional cocktail that originated in Venice, Italy.

I went through the steps for each course step by step. The ladies were taking notes which made me feel pretty special. They asked great questions and I think they went away realizing that when you use fresh and seasonal ingredients, cooking can be fun as well as delicious. I want to say that these were some of the sweetest ladies and I hope that we’ll be able to get together again in the near future. Lynn, I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to help you with this amazing luncheon.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 to 40 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 2 6-quart Dutch ovens with lids

Recipe For Kale And Cannellini Bean Soup:
Know as Beans And Greens Soup
All ingredients divided evenly into two 6 quart heavy bottom pots

2 bunches of fresh kale, stems and center rib removed coarsely chopped
4 15-ounce cans of white Cannellini beans -drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 stalks of celery diced halved and coarsely chopped
2 large onions coarsely chopped
8 carrots peeled and 1/2 inch diced
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of grated fresh nutmeg
2 Fresno chilis seeded and minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 quarts of unsalted chicken stock
8 cups of water (amount of water may vary slightly)
2 2-inch pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt (1 tablespoon per pot)
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper (1/2 teaspoon per pot)
2 fresh bay leaves ( dried are fine)
2 teaspoons of freshly chopped rosemary leaves
grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
*E.V.O.O drizzle (drizzle on top as a finish to the soup)
Accompaniment: homemade croutons

Note: smoked sausage is an option to add to this soup (slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick pieces)

Directions:
Turn the burners to medium-high heat allowing the two heavy bottom pot to heat up. Remember that all the ingredients will be evenly divided into the two pots. Once the pots have come up to temperature, adjust the temperature to medium. Add in the olive oil, diced onions, minced Fresno chili, celery, diced carrots, and tomato paste. Stir all the ingredients together cook until vegetables start to soften, around 10 minutes. Make sure to season as you go by adding Kosher salt, black pepper to taste.

Add the minced garlic, bay leaves, and freshly chopped rosemary leaves continue to stir. About 3 to 5 minutes in, add in the unsalted chicken stock, cheese rinds. Slowly add in the half of the chopped kale leaves to each pot. Using a spoon, start to submerge the leaves into the liquid. Next, slowly add in the water and the rest of the chopped kale. This is the point is where you’ll be able to see if you have enough liquid, (refer to the pictures above) allowing 3 inches of space at the top of each pot.

The kale will wilt as it cooks, and most of the ingredients will also release their water. Not to worry, (cooking soup uncovered) as the soup comes up to a boil, water will also evaporate as the soup cooks. Now, the drained Cannellini beans. Next, it’s time to add the 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and the freshly grated nutmeg to each pot. Stir all the ingredients together. Bring the soup up to a boil, reduce the temperature and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until the kale and carrots are tender. Once finished, cover the soup pots until ready to serve.

Serve in porcelain bowls with grated Parmesan cheese, croutons, and a drizzle of good *E.V.O.O.

The dessert you see in the pictures above, “Eton Mess By Way Of Italy”  and “Homemade Croutons” recipes can be found by clicking on the links below.

*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

 

Eton Mess By Way Of Italy

 

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

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Ribollita With Chicken Sausage Meatballs

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I’m giving this traditional Italian vegetable soup a makeover. I’ve added chicken sausage meatballs to what was an already perfect soup. Now it’s even heartier. This is my Ribollita With Chicken Sausage Meatballs.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time 48 to 50 minutes minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: Food Processor, 6-quart saucepot, cookie dough scoop, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

Ingredients For Chicken Sausage Meatballs:
1 pound of ground chicken breasts
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of finely fresh chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup of heavy cream
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of freshly ground Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds

Ingredients For Ribollita:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 diced onion
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1 cup of carrots (2 medium-size carrots), diced
3 ribs of celery (1 cup), diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 15-ounce cans of Cannellini beans drained and rinsed, 1 15-ounce can to be puréed
1 bay leaf,
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes
2 quarts of unsalted chicken stock
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cups of chopped kale
3 cups of chopped Savoy cabbage
5 slices of good sourdough bread, crusts removed
1/2 a cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
*E.V.O.O for drizzling over the top of each bowl

Directions For Chicken Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Line two rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper. Spray each one with non-stick cooking spray.

In al large mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the list above, except the ground chicken, mix to combine. Add the ground chicken last. Using a fork, combine all the ingredients (flavorings) throughout the ground chicken. Do not overmix.

Note: Every few scoops of the meat mixture spray the inside of the scoop with non-stick cooking spray for easy removal. After forming a few meatballs, lightly spritz your hands with warm tap water. This will give your meatballs a smoother texture.

Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop the meat mixture into your hands to form the meatballs. Lightly spray the tops of all the meatballs with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, use this time to prep all the vegetables from the list above. Once you’ve prepped the veggies the meatballs should be ready to come out of the oven. Set the two trays of meatballs aside.

Start the Ribollita.
Over medium heat, add the olive oil and diced onions. Sauté until soft and translucent but not brown. Add crushed red pepper flakes and diced pancetta, cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Next, add the diced carrots, celery, and bay leaf stir to combine. Add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook together for 10 minutes until the veggies start to soften. At this point, add the whole canned tomatoes with their juice. Use a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes.

Next, add the chopped cabbage and kale, and freshly grated nutmeg, cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the greens wilt down. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the puréed Cannellini beans, stir to combine. Next, add the whole beans, again stir to combine.

Pour in the unsalted chicken stock. This is the point when you add the cooked meatballs. Still on medium-low heat simmer for another 15 minutes. At this point add in the cubed bread and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. The bread will dissolve and thicken the soup. The Ribollita With Chicken Sausage Meatballs is done at this point. Turn the heat off add the fresh basil leaves, stir to combine.

To Serve:
Ladle a good helping of the Ribollita into large porcelain soup or pasta bowl. Add a nice helping of the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Finally. lightly drizzle your best *E.V.O.O on top. I promise, if you love really good soup or a delicious stew, I would say try making my Ribollita With Chicken Sausage Meatballs.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

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