Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

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Orecchiette from the Italian orecchia, meaning ‘ear’ and -etta, meaning ‘small’ is a pasta typical of Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. their names comes from their shape which resembles a small ear.

“My Lemon Ricotta Pasta can be done and on the table in under 30 minutes. Perfect for weeknights or to serve when entertaining. Quick and easy using a few simple ingredients. Let’s get started.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Starchy Pasta Cooking Liquid

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) saucepot, 1 (4-quart) sauce pot, hand-held juicer, Microplane, hand-held lemon zester, chef’s knife

Note: First, zest the lemons and use a lemon zester for the thin peels. Set aside.

Ingredients:
1 (16-ounce) box of Orecchiette
2 cups of good ricotta cheese, double-cream (substitute whole milk)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup of starchy pasta cooking liquid
4 lemons, 1 juiced, 3 zested, plus the fine curly peels of 1 lemon for garnish
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pecorino-Romano cheese, freshly grated

Note: I’m only using 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt in the lemon ricotta cream sauce because Pecorino-Romano cheese is a bit saltier than let’s say Parmesan, and you don’t want the dish to be too salty, plus I added salt to the pasta water so the pasta is already good and seasoned.

Directions:
In a large saucepot of boiling salted water, drop the pasta. Give a good stir and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 12 minutes. After 8 minutes test for doneness. The pasta should be al dente.

Note: If needed, add another 1/2 cup of the hot starchy pasta cooking liquid to achieve a smooth creamy consistency.

In another saucepot over medium-low heat add olive oil, grated garlic, lemon juice, the zest of 1 lemon, and red pepper flakes, stir to combine. Cook until the garlic is fragrant 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ricotta cheese and 1/2 a cup of the hot starchy pasta cooking liquid, stir to combine. Add Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, again, stir to combine.

Using a large slotted spoon, transfer pasta into the sauce. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, and the remaining Italian flat-leaf parsley. Stir to combine.

Ladle a good helping of the pasta into a porcelain serving bowl. Top with freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese. Garnish with a few thin ribbons of lemon peel and lemon slices. Serve immediately. There you have it, my Lemon Ricotta Pasta.

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Paglia e Fieno

2014-10-04 18.01.09

Better known as Straw and Hay, Paglia e Fieno is a pasta dish for the record books. The spinach pasta mixed in with the standard semolina white-colored pasta makes for a beautiful dish.

What makes this dish so delicious is the crunchy salty bite of the Prosciutto with the creaminess of the sauce. Let’s start with the Prosciutto.

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I’m using Bavette-style pasta which is a different name for a style of Linguine.

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Onions

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 26 minutes
Total Time: 31 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: large deep-sided frying pan (rondeau), 1 (6-quart) saucepot, tongs

Ingredients:
1/2 pound of linguine
1/2 pound of spinach linguine
4 slices of Proscuitto, julienned
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) container of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups of Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated, extra for serving
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
Start by rolling up the Prosciutto like a cigar, then slicing it into very thin strips or julienne. To a large cold sauté pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced Proscuitto. Turn the heat to medium and start rendering the fat from the Prosciutto by allowing the sliced Proscuitto to cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until it becomes nice and crisp. Using a slotted spoon transfer to crispy Proscuitto to a plate lined with a paper towel, set aside.

In the sauté pan with the drippings from the Prosciutto melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the diced onion, diced, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes, stir to combine, cook for 1 minute more. Next, add the heavy cream, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine.

On the back burner, have a large pot of salted boiling water ready.

Reduce the heat to medium-low add the softened mascarpone cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce thickens for 3 to 5 minutes.

Drop the pasta and stir. Add the thawed peas to the sauce, stir the peas into the sauce. Turn the heat off, before adding the Italian flat-leaf parsley and freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, stir to combine.

In a large pot of boiling salted water drop the pasta. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the pasta directly into the cream sauce. Gently stir the pasta through.

Ladle a good helping of pasta into a porcelain serving bowl. Top with a garnish of the crunchy Prosciutto and a sprinkling of Pecorino Romano. There you have it, my Paglia e Fieno, a traditional Italian pasta dish.

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Rigatoni In A Hearty Ragu

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A great pasta dish starts with a hearty ragu. I like to choose a style of pasta I know is going to work well with the type of sauce I’m making. Rigatoni will be perfect. This is my Rigatoni In A Heary Ragu.

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Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Fennel

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 52 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 2 (6-quart) saucepots, 1 (10-cup) food processor, 1 rondeau (deep-sided braising/frying pan), chef’s knife, colander spoon, Microplane

Ingredients:
1 pound of ground chicken (substitute ground turkey)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, quartered
1 large carrot peeled and chopped into thirds
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts, toasted
1 (12-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 cup of chicken broth, low-sodium
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
1 1/2 cups of Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly ground
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, julienned

Directions:
Process the Pecorino Romano cheese. Transfer to a container set aside.

Start the *sofrito.
Prepare the vegetables for the food processor. Next, process the onion, carrot, and garlic cloves until finely minced then transfer to a medium-size bowl. Finally, process the almonds and roasted Piquillo peppers together until puréed. Add the Piquillo pepper purée to the same bowl, stir to combine. Set aside.

Directions For Toasted Pine Nuts:
In a dry sauté pan, over medium heat. add the pine nuts. Shake the pan over the heat until the nuts become fragrant and golden in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a large deep-sided pan (rondeau) over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ground chicken, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Cook, breaking the meat up with the back of a wooden spoon, stirring frequently until chicken is fully cooked and brown in color, about 12 to 15 minutes.

In a large saucepot over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the prepared *sofrito, dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Stirring frequently, cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the chicken broth, cook allowing the liquid to reduce by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and brown sugar, stir to combine.

Next, add the cooked ground chicken to the pot, stir to combine. Bring up to a bubble reduce to medium-low heat, simmer for 1-hour stirring occasionally.

After 1 hour, have a large pot of salted boiling water on the stove ready to go. Drop the pasta. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until al dente. Using a colander spoon (or a colander, drain first) transfer pasta to the pot containing the ragu. Gently stir to combine.

Remove from the heat, add fresh basil, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

To serve, ladle a good helping of my Hearty Ragu With Rigatoni into a porcelain bowl. Grate more Pecorino Romano over the top.

*Sofrito: A fragrant blend of vegetables, herbs, and spices used to season countless dishes, such as stews, beans, rice, and sauces.

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