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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Cremini Mushroom And Zucchini Gratin

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Cremini Mushroom And Zucchini Gratin are the easiest and the most elegant looking appetizers to serve to your guests. Everyone gets their own individual dish. That always seems to make friends and family feel extra special.

Whenever I make a tomato sauce, I always seem to have plenty left over. There’s just two of us so I’m always trying to think up different ways to use any leftover sauce. That’s how this dish came to be. This recipe can be made easy enough if you don’t have leftover sauce, use your favorite jarred marinara sauce.

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In a bowl is my leftover tomato sauce. If you don’t have any leftover homemade tomato sauce, substitute your favorite jarred sauce.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes, (includes slicing and sautèeing of the vegetables)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 3 servings
Equipment: 3 gratin dishes, 1 rimmed sheet pan, 12-inch sauté pan, mini food processor

Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
2 pints of cremini mushrooms, sliced (small one quartered)
3/4 cup homemade marinara sauce (substitute your favorite jarred marinara sauce)
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (for seasoning zucchini and squash)
1 teaspoon black pepper (for seasoning zucchini and squash
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese, whole milk
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (reserve 3 tablespoons for the top of each gratin)
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
In a large sautépan over medium-high heat, carefully melt the unsalted butter with the olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and fresh thyme leaves.

Sautè the mushrooms, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they’re brown and tender. Only then season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Note: Wait to salt the mushrooms until they browned completely. This process allows them to brown and not steam from the water they release.

Slice 2 zucchinis and 1 yellow squash about 1/2 an inch thick. Place them into a bowl and sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Using the same sautèpan, on medium heat, add the olive oil. Give the oil a chance to get hot but not where it’s smoking.

Arrange the sliced zucchini and squash in one layer in the pan, do not to overcrowd the veggies. This needs to be done in two separate batches. They will shallow fry for about 2 minutes per side. Do this just long enough for the veggies to soften and get some nice color on them before they go into the gratin dishes.

Again, have another large plate lined with a paper towel ready for the sautéed veggies once they’re finished cooking to drain off any extra grease.

While that’s working, go ahead and process the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a food processor.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl add the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, Italian parsley,  3/4 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a pinch each of Kosher salt and black pepper, mix to combine.  If you are using leftover marinara or are using jarred, have it ready.

In each of 3 gratin dishes, place a layer of the zucchini and squash. Next, and a thin layer of the marinara sauce. To that, add the sautèed mushrooms. Sprinkle a little of the reserved grated cheese on top of the mushrooms. Next spoon on a third of the ricotta cheese mixture.

Finally, top each gratin with a tablespoon of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Place the dishes on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Finish by garnishing with finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, There you have it, Cremini Mushroom And Zucchini Gratin.

Serve hot.

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Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragu

2015-08-20 18.19.57

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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Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Sausage And Zucchini

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This dish is one of Steve’s favorites, loaded with sweet Italian sausage, sweet bell peppers, zucchini, diced tomatoes, and huge shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The dish comes together with garlic and white wine which makes for a sauce that’s light and flavorful. This is my Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Sausage And Zucchini.

Mini Sweet Bell Peppers

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Unsalted Chicken Stock

Sweet Italian Sausage (2)

Sweet Italian Sausage (3)

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rigatoni

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Parmigiano-Reggiano-Cheese

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes ( this includes time for the sausage to steam and grill)
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 2 (6-quart) saucepots 1 with a tight-fitting lid, 6-quart Dutch oven, indoor grill pan, chef’s knife, vegetable peeler

Ingredients:
1 pound (5 links) of sweet Italian sausage
1 pound (1 box) of Rigatoni
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
3 large zucchinis, cut into half-moons and quartered
1 1/2 cups of mini multi-colored sweet bell peppers, seeded and diced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 (15-ounce) can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 quart plus 1 cup of chicken stock, unsalted
1 1/2 cups of good white wine (Pinot Grigio)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 to 4 shavings per serving)
1/2 a cup of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Directions:
Start by using a fork to prick 3 sets of holes into the sausage links on both sides. In a large saucepot with a tight-fitting (glass) lid add the sausage links. Pour 1 cup of the chicken stock over the sausage. Turn the heat to medium, cover allowing the sausages to poach, in the broth, for 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Preheat an indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the links on the grill pan. Grill the sausages for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the links to cool before slicing them on the bias. Set aside.

In a preheated Dutch oven add over medium heat add olive oil and diced onions, red pepper flakes, cook until onions are soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the diced peppers and zucchini, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and dried oregano, frequently stirring, cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Next, add the wine, bring up to a bubble before adding the sliced grilled sausage, fire-roasted tomatoes, and a quart of chicken stock, occasionally stirring, simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling salted water drop the pasta. Cook until al dente, around 10 to 12 minutes.

Drain the pasta really well. Add the hot pasta in the bottom of a serving bowl(s). Ladle the delicious sausage and zucchini over top. Include a ladle of the broth too. Using a vegetable peeler, add shaving of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top of each serving. Finally, garnish with the parsley. This is my Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Sausage And Zucchini.

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