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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (1)

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (2)

My friend Kim went on home for a week to visit her parents. I knew she’d be celebrating her birthday while she was gone so I thought I’d have something special waiting for her when she returned home. You know after traveling you’re always tired once you get home, no one really wants to cook. I thought, how about a Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage waiting for her at home. All she’d have to do is to follow the reheating instructions that I attached to the pan. Happy Birthday, Kim!

You know, it’s just as easy to make two pans of Mac and Cheese as it is to make one. One for her family and one for ours. This recipe will yield two 9 x 9 pans of Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage.

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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (3)

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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (1)

 

 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 2 pans, 6 to 8 serving per pan
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 2 6-quart stock pots, 12-inch sauté pan, 1 4-quart saucepan, 2 disposable deep-sided 9 x 9 casserole pans.

Note: Ingredients below are doubled to yield 2-9 x 9 disposable pans

Ingredients:
2 16-ounce boxes Barilla Cellentani, corkscrew-shaped pasta (or elbow macaroni)
3 sticks unsalted butter, reserve 1 stick for topping, plus butter for greasing pans
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts milk
6 cups of diced smoked sausage sliced and quartered, 3 cups for each pan
2 8-ounce packages, extra-sharp white cheddar, shredded
6-ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Butter each of the 9 x 9 disposable pans

Into each one of the two (6-quart stockpot) pots of boiling salted water, add 1 box of Barilla Cellentani. Cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well into separate colanders.

In the meantime, heat the milk in a 4-quart saucepan, just under the boiling point. In another (6-quart) stockpot melt 2 sticks of butter, add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, continuously whisking. While whisking, slowly add in the hot milk, then 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg. Switch to a wooden spoon, continue to stir until sauce thickens. Do not rush this process, cooking times may vary, anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon remove the pot from the heat. Add all the white cheddar and 3-ounces of grated Parmesan. Stir to combine.

Divide the bechamel sauce, equally into each of the (6-quart) stockpots. Divide equally the diced smoked sausage into each pot. Add one colander of the cooked, well-drained pasta into each pot. Stir to combine then transfer to the buttered disposable pans.

Breadcrumb Topping:
Melt the remaining 1 stick of butter into a large sauté pan, on low heat, add the Panko crumbs, stir until all the butter is absorbed.  Off the heat, add the remaining grated Parmesan cheese, and dried parsley flakes. Stir to combine. Divide evenly, then sprinkle the bread crumbs on evenly on top of each of the pans. Place each of the disposable pans onto a rimmed baking sheet pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and macaroni and topping are a beautiful golden brown.

Tip For Freezing:
Make sure the pan of Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage is at room temperature before freezing.

If you plan to freeze one of the pans, DO NOT ADD the breadcrumb topping until you’re ready to bake. Cover the pan tightly with foil then wrap the whole pan again in plastic wrap. Freeze up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to bake, remove the foil and plastic wrap. Add the breadcrumb topping. Spray the dull side of a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. This will prevent the topping from sticking to the foil.  Cover the dish tightly with the sprayed foil and bake frozen for 1 hour at 350-degrees F. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown around 5 to 7 minutes, times may vary slightly.

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3 Comments »

Pasta Carbonara

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A match made in heaven, are peas and pancetta. My Pasta Carbonara highlights these two ingredients perfectly. One main ingredient, in this dish, is freshly cracked/ground black pepper. From what I understand, many years ago, this dish got its name from woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. Those men would come home dirty and black from a hard day’s work. Therefore the black pepper in this dish represents that look.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: deep-sided frying pan, 6-quart saucepot, chef’s knife, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 small mixing bowl, a 10-cup food processor, colander spoon

Ingredients:
2 boxes of Gemelli (substitute 1 pound of spaghetti)
1 package of thawed frozen peas
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of dry white wine (substitute unsalted chicken broth)
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 (a good handful of Kosher salt for pasta water)
1 tablespoon of fresh cracked/ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped

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.

In a large cold sauté pan add olive oil and diced pancetta. 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 of the grated cheese to top individual servings.

In another bowl, crack 4 eggs and one egg yolk and beat them together with 1 tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper. Measure a 1/4 cup of dry white wine (or chicken broth), and have the minced garlic set to one side. Once all the ingredients are ready it’s time to make the dish.

Turn the deep-sided frying pan with the diced pancetta and olive oil to medium heat. Start to render down the pancetta, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add a handful of Kosher salt into the pot of boiling water. Add the pasta, of your choice, giving it a big stir, and follow the cooking time according to the directions on the box.

Once the pancetta is crispy transfer to a plate lined with a 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 cooking, around 3 to 4 minutes, scrape 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 the crispy pancetta, the peas (the heat will warm the peas through), and the egg mixture. Using a pair of tongs, toss to combine while still over the heat, until eggs just start to set. Turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner. Immediately add the grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Toss those ingredients through then remove from the heat.

Pasta Carbonara is best served hot. Don’t forget about adding more cheese to the top of your dish!

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Pappardelle With Portobello Mushrooms In A Garlic Cream Sauce

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Portobello mushrooms have to be my very favorite mushroom. They have such a meaty flavor and texture. They’re just so delicious and satisfying. My favorite pasta is pappardelle. It only made sense to me that I bring them together. This is my Pappardelle With Portobello Mushrooms In A Garlic Cream Sauce.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: one 3-quart saucepot, two 6-quart saucepots, colander spoon, whisk, Microplane, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
9 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned, gills removed and sliced
8 cloves of garlic (4 freshly grated, 4 minced)
4-ounce package of fresh baby spinach
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 quart of whole milk
1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 package of Pappardelle pasta (reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta cooking liquid)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf Parsley for garnish

Directions:
Start by removing the stems and gills of the Portobello mushroom. Next, using a damp cloth wipe off any dirt from the caps. Slice them about 1-inch in thickness. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Peel 8 garlic cloves, grate four and mince four. Set aside.

In a 3-quart saucepot over low heat, add the grated garlic to 1 quart of whole milk. Heat for 3 to 4 minutes allowing the garlic flavor to infuse into the milk. You don’t want the milk to come to a boil. After 3 to 4 minutes turn the heat off allowing the garlic to steep in the milk.

In another large saucepot over medium-high heat, melt butter of unsalted butter with 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Next, add the sliced mushrooms. Stirring frequently, cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until they’ve released their water and browned nicely. Add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine, cook for 1 minute more or until garlic becomes fragrant.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour to the mushrooms, stir to combine until the raw flour becomes past-like 1 to 2 minutes.

Next, combine the flavored milk to the pot containing the cooked mushrooms. Whisk the milk until it starts to thicken. As the milk sauce starts to thicken add the baby spinach. Switch back to a wooden spoon, grate fresh nutmeg into the sauce stir to combine.

Turn the heat off. Remove the pot from the heat before adding the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Stir to combine.

In a large pot of salted boiling water drop the pappardelle. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until just al dente. Combine the cooked pasta into the pot with the mushroom and spinach cream sauce. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley.

Tip: Reserve a cup of the starchy pasta cooking liquid to help thin out the sauce if needed.

Ladle a good helping of my Pappardelle With Portobello Mushrooms In A Garlic Cream Sauce in a beautiful porcelain pasta bowl.

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