Advertisements

Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Can you think of anything better than a Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese? I’ll bet your answer is no, and I would agree.

Meatloaf Withh Sundried Tomatoes (2)

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Meatloaf Withh Sundried Tomatoes (2)

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Equipment: 9 x 13 baking dish

Ingredients:
1 box or pound of Cavatappi (or elbow macaroni)
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter plus 6 tablespoons
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12-ounces Gruyère  cheese, grated (4 cups)
8-ounces white Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
4-ounces Mascarpone, room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon sweet Paprika (substitute smoked paprika)
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes, plus extra for garnish
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish on top (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F.
Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook according to the instructions of the box, 6-8 minutes, drain really well.

At the same time, heat the milk and heavy cream in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Melt 8 tablespoons (1-stick) in a large (6-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes while whisking, until it’s light blond in color. Whisk in the hot milk and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the pepper, Kosher salt, and grated nutmeg, continue whisking until sauce thickens and becomes smooth.

Off the heat, switch to a wooden spoon, stir in the Mascarpone first, then the Gruyére and white Cheddar. Add the cooked macaroni, and half the parsley, stir well. Pour into a 9 x 13 buttered baking dish.

Topping:
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan. Add the Panko breadcrumbs, Paprika remaining parsley and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top of the casserole. *Dot the top with the remaining butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and macaroni is browned on top. Optional, sprinkle finely shredded Parmesan cheese and parsley over the top while hot.

Serve hot.

*Dot: To scatter bits of butter over food.

 

Meatloaf With Sundried Tomatoes

 

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Pasta Carbonara

2016-05-01 17.44.35

A perfect match made in heaven, are peas and pancetta. My pasta carbonara highlights those two perfectly. One of this dishes main ingredients is freshly cracked black pepper. From what I understand, many years ago, this dish got it’s name from woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. Those men would come home dirty and black from a hard days work. Therefor the black pepper in this dish represented just that.

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 boxes of Gemelli ( or 1 pound of spaghetti)
1 package of thawed frozen peas
1/4 pound of diced pancetta
1 finely diced shallot
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large clove of minced garlic
1/4 cup of dry white wine (optional)
4 whole eggs plus, 1 yolk
2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese ( reserve 1/4 cup back to top serving dishes)
1 pinch of Kosher salt to taste ( handful of Kosher salt for pasta water)
3 tablespoons of fresh finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:
First, place a 6 quart pot on the stove filled with water, and turn the heat up to medium high. This will allow time to prepare the ingredients for the dish while waiting for the water to boil.

Have ready, a whole package of thawed frozen peas in a bowl.

Dice up the pancetta and add it to a large, deep sided, and cold saute pan with olive oil. Do not turn the heat on just yet.

Next, grind up 2 cups of Parmesan cheese in a food processor. Transfer the grated cheese to a bowl and set aside. Note: reserve 1/4 cup back for adding to the top of the served dish.

In another bowl, crack 4 eggs and one egg yolk and beat them together with 1 tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper. Measure out 1/4 cup of dry white wine, and 1 large garlic clove minced. Once all the ingredients are ready it’s time to make the dish.

Turn the large saute pan with the pancetta and olive oil on to medium heat. Start to render down the pancetta.  Throw a handful of Kosher salt into the pot with the boiling water. Add in the pasta of you choice, giving it a big stir, and follow the cooking time according to the box.

Anywhere from 7-10 minutes the pancetta should be rendered down and crispy. Transfer the pancetta to a plate line with paper towel.  Drain off all but 3 tablespoons the pancetta fat in the pan. If you don’t think you have that much, you can add a little olive oil.

This process goes fairly quickly. Pan still on medium heat, next, add in the minced garlic, diced shallot, and the wine. Using a wooden spoon, and while shallots and garlic are sauteing, scrap up all those delicious pancetta bits that are trapped in the bottom of the pan. Let that liquid bubble up for about a minute until the alcohol has cooked out.

To the pan, using one of those large colander spoons, transfer the pasta into the pan. Next, return the cooked pancetta to the pan. Make sure to coat the all pasta with the pancetta fat, wine and garlic that has remained in the pan. Note: if the pasta seems a little to dry and sticking together, add in a little olive oil to loosen it up.

At this point, add back in the crispy pancetta, along with the peas ( the heat will warm the peas through), and egg mixture. Using tongs, toss all this though, while still over the heat, until eggs are barley set. Turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner. Quickly add in the grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Toss those ingredients through then remove from the hot burner. This dish is best served hot. Don’t forget about adding more cheese to the top of your dish!

Leave a comment »

Spinach And Feta Pie With Sweet Italian Sausage

2015-02-26-12-33-25 (1)

This savory Greek-style pie is traditional, #spinachandfeta. Getting Steve to eat something that only has spinach and cheese in it is impossible, so I thought I’d add some sweet Italian sausage to the mix.

This recipe can totally be a vegetarian dish by just leaving out the meat. You could even substitute some mushrooms to give that meaty flavor if you wanted. Now dealing with phyllo dough may have you saying, that’s too much work. Yes, it can seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s not hard at all. I’m going to show you how and that it really can be fun.

2015-02-26-06-34-29

I use the frozen leafy spinach, not the chopped version. I’m using Italian sausage in this recipe, so the amount of spinach is less than if you were only making it with spinach. Let me explain, I’m using 3 boxes of the frozen spinach for this recipe. If you were doing this totally vegetarian, then use 8 small boxes, 8-10 ounces per box.

Next, thaw the spinach and get as much of the water out as possible. This I do the night before. The picture above shows the spinach sitting in a strainer over a bowl, where the liquid slowly drips into the bowl. I leave the spinach out on the counter overnight because it’s frozen solid. The next day, remove the bowl discarding the liquid. Using my hands, wring out any remaining water from the spinach. If you were going to do this in the same day, I would defrost the spinach in the microwave, then let it cool enough where you could handle it, and squeeze the water out by hand. You could even place all the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out that way. Most importantly, get as much of the water out of the spinach as possible. Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl.

In a large dry sauté pan on medium-high heat, add sweet Italian sausage. Start breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is browned, about 10-15 minutes, add the diced onion, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, freshly grated nutmeg, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Continue cooking until the onions have softened, another 5-7 minute. Using a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the grease in the pan, transfer the sausage mixture into the bowl with the spinach. Let the sausage mixture cool completely before adding in the cheese and beaten eggs.

In another bowl, I beat the eggs, Kosher salt, and black pepper together. Add the beaten eggs to the sausage and spinach mixture. Next the cheese. I’m using a good Feta and Goat cheese for this recipe. I crumble in the Goat cheese but the Feta I cut into cubes. I throw all this into the bowl and gently stir together, not to break up the cheese too much. So now the filling is done, on to the Phyllo dough.

The most important thing when working with Phyllo is to let it thaw in the frig overnight before using. This is the type of dough where you want to work quickly so the dough doesn’t crack and break. It’s very fragile. As you can see in the first picture I lay the sheets out with the wrapper underneath and then I cover the phyllo sheets with a damp towel to keep the sheets nice and moist.

In a baking dish, spray the bottom with non-stick cooking spray before laying down the first sheet. My dish is a 9 x 13 and the sheets are 9 x 14 which works how pretty great. After laying the first sheet down in the bottom of the baking dish I brush the sheet with unsalted melted butter. Next, I sprinkle some seasoned Italian bread crumbs all over the sheet. Then I lay down the next sheet over that one, and repeat this method. Uncovering the towel each time I grab a new Phyllo dough sheet, then covering them back up.

For this recipe, It takes one complete box of Phyllo dough to complete the top and bottom of this pie. You get two rolls in a box, so I use one roll for the bottom and one for the top. This ensures that my pie crust will have a lot of texture and flakiness from the breadcrumbs and,  from the number of layers of Phyllo sheets that I’m using for this recipe. Now once I’ve finished the first roll of Phyllo sheets, I add the filling, then I repeat the process with the other roll of Phyllo sheets for the top of the pie.

Once the last sheet of phyllo has been laid, brush that top sheet with butter and sprinkle some bread crumbs on that as well. Using a paring knife score the dough down the middle lengthwise, then twice in the opposite direction. Finally, I make triangles out of each square, as shown in the last picture.

 

Let the pie rest, for about 15-20 minutes. This gives the filling a chance to set. This pie is so delicious and full of flavor. Great dish for entertaining.


Equipment: 9 x 13 size baking dish, paring knife
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Prep Time:  30 minutes for the layering the dough
Prep Time:  30 minutes for the filling
Cooking Time: 45-50 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 10-12 Servings

Ingredients:
2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
3- 10-ounce boxes of frozen spinach (thawed and all excess water removed)
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of grated fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 large eggs beaten
4 ounces of Goat cheese crumbled
7 ounces of Feta cheese cubed
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 package of Phyllo dough sheets
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted melted butter
1/4 cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat oven 350-degrees F.
Have a 9 x 13 baking dish ready and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Thaw the frozen spinach getting as much of the water out as possible. Do this the night before. The picture above shows the spinach sitting in a strainer over a bowl, where the liquid slowly drips into the bowl. I leave the spinach out on the counter overnight because it’s frozen solid. The next day, remove the bowl discarding the liquid. Using my hands, wring out any remaining water from the spinach. If you were going to do this in the same day, I would defrost the spinach in the microwave, then let it cool enough where you could handle it, and squeeze the water out by hand. You could even place all the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out that way. Most importantly, get as much of the water out of the spinach as possible. Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl.

In a large dry sauté pan on medium-high heat, add sweet Italian sausage. Start breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is browned, about 10-15 minutes, add the diced onion, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, freshly grated nutmeg, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Continue cooking until the onions have softened, another 5-7 minute. Using a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the grease in the pan, transfer the sausage mixture into the bowl with the spinach. Let the sausage mixture cool completely before adding in the cheese and beaten eggs.

In another bowl, I beat the eggs, Kosher salt, and black pepper together. Add the beaten eggs to the sausage and spinach mixture. Add the Goat cheese, grated Parmesan, and Feta cheese to the sausage and spinach mixture. Gently stir together not to break up the cheese too much. So now the filling is done, on to the Phyllo dough.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lay the sheets out on a flat surface covered with a damp towel. Have the melted butter and breadcrumbs on stand-by.

Start brushing one sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Continue this process until the first roll of phyllo dough is complete, about 10 sheets.

Next, place the sausage, spinach, and cheese mixture on top. Scatter the mixture evenly over the top of the dough. Using the next roll of phyllo, repeat the same process with the melted butter and breadcrumbs with the other roll of Phyllo sheets for the top.

Finish the top layer with a final brushing of butter and breadcrumbs. Using a paring knife score the dough down the middle lengthwise, then twice in the opposite direction. Finally, I make triangles out of each square, as shown in the last picture.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the dough, is flaky and golden brown. Let rest 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: