Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Baked Cavatappi

2014-06-19-14-02-06

I think everyone loves a baked pasta dish. Maybe it’s because it brings us back to a childhood memory, a special event where everybody gathers together to celebrate something special. Whenever I mention the words”taste the love”, it really shows how much love went into the making of my Baked Cavattapi.

Now, there’re a few different components to this recipe. This doesn’t mean it’s hard to do. You’ll see what I’m saying moving forward. The great news is that this dish can be made in advance, or even frozen when stored properly.

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Olive Oil

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Fennel

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Sweet Basil (2)

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage (27)

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Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Red Onion

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Are you feeling this? The whole house smells like my Nana’s kitchen.

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage (27)

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Mascarpone Cheese

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 13) baking dish, deep-sided 1 (12-inch) deep-sided frying pan, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with lid, large mixing bowl, 1 (10-cup) food processor, 1 (6-quart) stockpot

Ingredients For The Meat:
1 pound ground pork
1 pound of lean ground sirloin
1 pound (5 links) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Ingredients For the Tomato Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock, unsalted
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh basil, julienned
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Ingredients For Pasta:
1 1/2 pounds of Cavatappi (1 1/2 boxes)
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 (15-ounce) containers Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella, freshly grated, reserve 1/2 cup
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated, reserve 1/4 cup
4 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons for the top
1 stick of unsalted butter, reserve half to *dot the top and half to grease the baking dish

Directions For Meat-Filled Tomato Sauce:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
In a 12-inch deep-sided frying pan, over medium-high heat, add of olive oil and whole fennel seeds cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. To the pan add both the ground pork and sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon break up all the meat. Add the minced garlic, dried oregano, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Italian flat-leaf parsley.

Sauté until the meat is completely browned, around 10 minutes Using a slotted spoon to strain off any excess grease, transfer the browned meat from the pan to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

In a mini food processor, add roasted red peppers, in batches if need be, process until all the peppers are puréed and have a crushed tomato-like consistency. Transfer the processed peppers to a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat a  Dutch oven, on medium heat, add the olive oil. Next, add the diced red onions, Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried rosemary, tomato paste, and light brown sugar. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent and the spices are fragrant. Add the chicken stock. Simmer to reduce the stock by half. Finally, add both cans of tomatoes, breaking up the San Marzano whole tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.

Simmer the sauce on low heat for around 25 minutes. Add the browned meat to the sauce and allow to cook together for 1 hour more. Remove from the heat and add fresh basil, stir to combine.

While the sauce is simmering start the pasta.

Note: Undercook the pasta by 3 minutes according to the directions on the box. Pasta will continue to cook in the oven.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water add the pasta, stirring occasionally. Undercook the pasta until just al dente, then drain. Using the same pot add back in the drained cooked pasta, Mascarpone cheese, Ricotta cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 1/2 ladles of the meat sauce, and chopped Italian parsley. Mix to combine.

First, butter the baking dish. To assemble, add 1 ladle of the meat sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Move the sauce around so it covers the bottom of the dish. Add a layer using half the pasta mixture. Top with half of the reserved Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Next, add half the meat sauce mixture spreading the sauce evenly over the top of the pasta. Repeat the process ending with the meat sauce on top.

For the top of the dish, sprinkle the remaining Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses evenly all over the top. *Dot the top of the dish with small pieces of unsalted butter.

Tip: Before covering the dish, spray the underside of the foil with non-stick cooking spray so the aluminum cover will release without taking your cheese with it.

Bake covered for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Let rest for 20 minutes before cutting. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. There you have it my Baked Cavatappi.

Serve hot.

*Dot: to scatter bits of butter over food. Refer to the picture above.

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Cajun-Style Fajitas With Citrus Marinated Onions And Peppers

2014-06-10-17-39-48

I want to say, I love watching food shows. The shows give me a chance to keep learning new things. All types of chefs throughout the U.S. are always coming up with innovative ways to take classic dishes and make them their own.

I love to take what I’ve learned and put my own spin on the dish. The star of my dish is Andouille sausage. This type of sausage is widely used in New Orleans cuisine, for example; Jambalaya. It’s really flavorful, but it does have some heat.

These are my Cajun-Style Fajitas With Citrus Marinated Peppers And Onions.

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Prep Time:
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours minimum
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, 10-inch sauté pan, 2 large mixing bowls, large Tupperware container, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, non-stick cooking spray

Ingredients For Andouille Marinade:
10 links of Andouille sausage (about 1 1/2 pounds/2 packages), sliced on the bias
1 packed cup of light brown sugar
1 cup of molasses
2 tablespoons of water

Ingredients:
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 large sweet onions, quartered and roasted
2 red bell peppers, roasted, seeded and julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, seeded and julienned
12 ounces of orange juice
1/4cup of soy sauce, low sodium
1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
6 limes, 2 juiced, 4 cut into wedges for garnish
2 large cloves of garlic, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated
2 cups of Queso Fresco, crumbled
6 (6-inch) flour tortillas
6 (4-inch) corn tortillas
Cilantro for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
In a large bowl add equal parts brown sugar and molasses. Add 2 tablespoons of water, mix to combine. Add the sliced Andouille sausage to the marinade, toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, overnight’s even better.

After quartering the onion place them into a large mixing bowl along with the bell peppers. Add olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, toss to coat. Arrange the onions and bell peppers on a rimmed baking sheet pan as seen in the picture above.  Roast for 40 minutes, turn the peppers halfway through to all them to char on all sides.

A Good Tip: When you open the oven to retrieve the roasted peppers, stand back for just a second so you don’t get a pepper facial.

Allow the onions to remain on the baking sheet to cool while preparing the roasted peppers for peeling. Using a pair of tongs grab the hot roasted peppers, transfer them to a large bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. This will cause the peppers to steam, while in the bowl, and this will ensure their skins will peel off easily. Give it around 30 minutes, before taking off the plastic wrap. Remove the skins and seeds. Slice the peppers into thin strips (julienne) placing them back into the bowl along with the roasted onions.

In a large Tupperware container add orange juice, low sodium soy sauce, light brown sugar, the juice of 2 limes, freshly grated garlic, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, whisk to combine. Add the roasted peppers and onions to the marinade, mix to combine and set aside.

The next step is to grate the Monterey Jack cheese and crumble the Queso Fresco. Transfer the cheeses to a plate and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the marinated sliced Andouille sausage. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and sausage becomes caramelized. Add the roasted peppers, onions, and the citrus marinade to the pan. The marinade will help to deglaze the pan by using your wooden spoon to scrape any bits that may be stuck to the bottom. Frequently stirring the sausage, peppers, and onions together, cook for another 5 minutes or until the marinade’s reduced and the sauce has thickened, then turn off the heat

Preheat open to 400-degrees F.
I’m using both corn and flour tortillas for this dish. For the corn tortillas, I sprayed both sides with cooking spray and arranged them onto a rimmed baking sheet pan to crisp up in the oven, around 5 minutes.

The flour tortillas place on at a time into a dry hot sauté pan over medium heat. Cook for about 30 to 60 seconds, or until browned, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds.

Place a little of the marinated Andouille with the roasted peppers and onions on one of each type of the tortillas. Top with a combination of the Queso Fresco and the Monterey Jack cheese. Garnish with a kiss of very finely chopped cilantro. Serve with a couple of lime wedges. There you have it, my Cajun-Style Fajitas With Citrus Marinated Onions And Peppers

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Apricot And Blueberry Crumble

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I love crumbles, cobblers, and pies, so whenever certain fruits are in season, I feel a compulsion to bring them home. Yesterday, I was in the produce section, there was a huge basket of apricots and I couldn’t help myself. On the drive home, the wheels in my head started turning, “how am I going to use these beautiful apricots?”

I just want to say a little something, whenever you in the grocery store and seasonal fruit like apricots and blueberries are staring you in the face, go ahead and pick them up. My Apricot And Blueberry Crumble dessert is super easy to make and really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Listen, it doesn’t matter what fruit you choose that’s totally up to you just be sure they’re at the peak of their season.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields:6 serving
Equipment: 2 large mixing bowls, pastry cutter, porcelain pie dish

Ingredients:
2 pounds of apricots, halved, pitted, and sliced
1 pint of blueberries
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/3 cup of light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

For The Fruit:
Start by halving, pitting, and slicing the apricots. In a large mixing bowl combine apricots, blueberries. to that, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of flour, and orange juice toss to combine. Pour the fruit mixture into a porcelain pie dish.

The Crumble Topping:
In a large bowl, add 1 cup of flour, brown sugar, Kosher salt. To that add, and unsalted cold diced butter. With a pastry cutter work the butter into the flour sugar mixture until it’s the size of small peas.

At this point, add the quick-cooking oats. Work the oats into the flour mixture with your hands, combining it through the butter/flour mixture, forming into large crumbles. Add the crumble to the pie dish. Make sure to cover the fruit mixture completely.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling around the sides, and topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes

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