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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Lobster Mac And Cheese

2016-10-13-17-48-42

I’m pretty confident in saying, Mac and Cheese is a favorite comfort food for people of all ages. There are so many recipes out there from the classic version to endless variations of the classic. Chorizo and smoked Gouda, or how about butternut squash mac and cheese! The one I like to serve, when entertaining is my Lobster Mac And Cheese. The lobster adds a delicate sweetness, and then complimented by a variety of awesome cheeses that go into my recipe. Let me show you how I make my Lobster Mac And Cheese.

2016-10-13-17-48-42

Equipment:
16 quart stock pot, 9 x 13 casserole dish
yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups of lobster meat, large dice (approx. 3- 1 1/2 lb lobsters)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
4 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup of corn (optional)
1 cup of Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup of Brie cheese, without the rind
2 cups of shredded Fontina cheese ( reserve 1 cup for the top)
3 tablespoon of freshly finely chopped chives
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped tarragon
2-16 ounce packages of cooked just under al-dente Paccheri Rigati ( large rigatoni shaped pasta)
Topping:
4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
Butter casserole dish.
For 1-1/2 pound lobsters, cook time is 15-20 minutes. Note: They need to be a vibrant red color when fully cooked.

Directions On How To Cook A Lobster:
Note: I prefer to cook lobsters one at a time.
Bring a 16 quart pot (a little over half filled) of well salted water up to a rapid  boil. Drop the lobster into the pot, quickly place the lid on. Using a towel, hold the lid in place for just a minute, giving the water a chance to come back up to a boil,  then start the cooking time. After about 15-20 minutes, remove the lobster from the pot and set aside to cool.

Boil 16 ounces of pasta just before the al dente stage, and drain. the pasta will finish cooking during the baking process.

Remove the lobster meat from the tail and claws. Chop the lobster meat into large chunks and place into a bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Next, to make the cheese sauce, melt the butter whisk in the flour in a large saucepan. Cook for 1 minute over medium, heat. Slowly add in the whole milk. Sprinkle in the grated nutmeg, Kosher salt, and black pepper, continuously whisking until sauce becomes thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped tarragon, finely chopped chives, cheeses, and (optional) corn. Last, add in the cooked lobster meat. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Add the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce stirring gently not to break up the pasta. Pour the entire mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the reserved Fontina cheese evenly over the top.

For the crumb topping, add the melted butter to the Panko bread crumbs. Mix in  the Italian flat leaf parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Sausage And Zucchini

2015-04-08 18.05.25

This dish is one of Steve’s favorites. Loaded with sweet Italian sausage, sweet bell peppers, zucchini,, canned diced tomatoes, and shavings of Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese. The dish comes together with it’s garlic and white wine sauce that’s light and flavorful.

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Preparing all the veggies for this dish in a small dice. Onions, sweet bell peppers, zucchini, and minced garlic. Next for the sausage. Whenever I cook my sausage, the first step I take is to prick holes in the links with a fork to allow the inside of the sausages to get a head start on cooking. After that, I place them all into a large saute pan that has a tight fitting lid. I add in around a 1/2 a cup of low sodium chicken broth to the pan with the sausages. On med high heat, with the lid on the saute pan, I let the sausages steam in the liquid for around 15 minutes, turning them over half way through. This gives some extra flavor to the sausages and ensures that the sausages will be completely throughout.

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For the next step I take the sausages out and set them onto a plate. I get my grill pan out and heated up for the next stage of cooking the sausage.

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Once the grill pan is nice and hot, I place the steamed sausages on the grill. This takes around 3-4 minutes per side with the grill pan on med high heat. Once all the sausages have those beautiful grill marks all over, I let them cool down for about 10 minutes. Next I slice the sausages on the bias for this recipe. Now that all the components are ready, it’s time to start putting this dish together.

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In a large Dutch oven on med heat, I have some olive oil and the diced onions sauteing until the onions are soft. Next I add in all the other veggies on the plate, stirring them around until they just start to soften, around 5-7 minutes. At this point I season with some Kosher salt, pepper, and dried oregano.

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To the vegetables, I add back in the sliced sausage and stir that all through. Next for some liquid.  I add in some white wine and let that go for just a couple of minutes, coating and flavoring all the ingredients, before adding in the drained canned diced tomatoes and low sodium chicken stock. I am using chicken stock and not broth for this recipe. It has a deeper flavor and I thought it would be a perfect accompaniment for the other ingredients. Still on med heat, I let everything come up to a good simmer and this will allow time for the pasta to cook.The pasta will take about 10-12 minutes according to the box, which is the perfect amount of time for the sausage, peppers, and zucchini to be doing their thing.

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Once the pasta is al dente, I drain the pasta and place some of that beautiful Rigatoni into a bowl.  Next, I ladle the sausage, zucchini all over the top of the pasta, making sure that I get plenty of that delicious broth too. Finally adding a few shavings of Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese over the top.

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To garnish, a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes ( this includes time for sausage to steam and grill)
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients:
1 package of sweet Italian sausage ( 5 links)
1 box of Rigatoni
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 package of fresh zucchini diced (3 large zucchinis)
1 yellow onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 yellow bell pepper diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 quart of low sodium or unsalted chicken stock (1/2 a cup for steaming the sausage)
1 -1/2 cups of good white wine ( Pinot Grigio)
Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese (3-4 shaved pieces per serving)
1/2 a cup of freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley (garnish)
Directions:
While the sausage is steaming in the pan, dice up all the veggies and set them aside on a plate. When the sausage has steamed for a good 15 minutes, take them out and start heating up a grill pan. If you don’t have a grill pan, you can roast them off in a cast iron skillet in a very hot oven. I would say 425 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until the internal temp is 155 degrees. Let them rest for about 15 minutes before slicing. Once you have grilled all the sausages and they have grill marks on all sides. This again will take about 3-4 minutes per side, then take them off and let cool down before trying to slice them on the bias. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot add the olive oil in a pot that’s been heating up on med heat. Add the onions in first. Once they’ve softened, add in all the other veggies. This is when I season with the Kosher salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir all the veggies around and let them go for about 5-7 minutes. Next add in the wine and let that bubble for a couple of minutes before adding in the sliced sausage pieces and the drained diced tomatoes. Stir that all through and then add in the remainder of the quart of chicken stock. Have a large pot of boiling salted water ready for the pasta on the back burner. Let all this simmer on med heat while you get the pasta ready. The pasta takes about 10-12 minutes and I like the pasta to be al dente. Drain off the pasta and place the hot pasta in the bottom of your serving bowls. Next ladle on some of the delicious sausage and zucchini over the pasta. Using a peeler, shave some of the cheese over the top. Finally garnish with the parsley. If you are not going to be needing all that pasta at one time, maybe because there are only two of you, a good tip is, to rinse the pasta off really well with a bit of cold water. Place the pasta in a large Tupperware container, and then add in some olive oil. This will prevent the pasta from clumping up until the next time your going to use it. Then all you need to do is have some boiling water on the stove and place the cooked pasta in for just a minute to get it hot for your next helping.

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Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, but with work and the remodeling that’s going on, It’s really been hard for me to find the time to blog lately. I’m here now so here it goes. I start by pouring 1/2 a cup of low sodium chicken broth into a saute pan, and bringing that up to a slow boil. I take a fork and prick all the sausages so they will get a head start cooking on the inside which helps this dish along.

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I simmer this on the stove for around 20 minutes so I can start prepping my veggies. I chose 1 each of red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, 2 zucchini, 1 large sweet onion, 1 pint of grape tomatoes that I halved, and 3 cloves of garlic that I minced. For the veggies I diced them all relatively the same size so they would cook evenly.

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At this point the sausages were ready to be seared on all sides, so I drained them from the chicken broth, and transferred them into a larger non stick saute pan that I had getting hot on the stove. I then started to sear them on all sides.

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I then transferred them onto a plate to cool before slicing. Now in the same pan that the sausages cooked in I’m going to cook all the veggies.Going forward, I add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan while I have it on med to med high heat. I add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 2 tablespoon of fennel seeds. I let those bloom in the oil until its nice and fragrant.

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So now I start adding the veggies, starting with the diced onion, then the peppers, then the minced garlic, and finally the zucchini. I like to sprinkle a little Kosher salt and black pepper after each vegetable goes in to season each layer.  I don’t actually measure the salt and pepper, I just sprinkle a little each time I add a new vegetable in to the pan and stirring them consistently so they get some good color on them.

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At this point I add in the grape tomatoes and stir them through before adding my liquids for the sauce.

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Now to release all the bits from the sausage and veggies from the bottom of the pan, I’m going to deglaze with 1-1/2 cups of white wine and some chicken broth.

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These liquids are going to make the sauce for this dish. After adding the white wine I let that reduce by half, so while that’s happening I can slice the sausages on the bias and add those in before adding 2-1/2 cup of the chicken broth.

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As you can see the wine had reduced and the chicken broth has been simmering with all the ingredients, so now it’s time for the rigatoni. I had a large pot on the back burner filled with salted boiling water waiting for me to add the pasta in. I follow the directions on the box but take the pasta out a few minutes before because when I add it to the other ingredients it will finish cooking there.

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Now for the fresh herbs, my oregano and basil. I will chop these up and add it to the dish after the pasta goes in and I’ve turned of the heat. Oh a good tip is to always save 2 cups of the starchy pasta cooking liquid to add to the dish if you need to because the pasta will absorb a lot of the liquid that already there.

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Finally after the pasta has been add along with the herbs, I transfer everything onto a big serving platter and shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano all over the top.

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Garnish with some fresh basil and who wouldn’t want this for dinner.

 

 

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Hearty Ragu With Rigatoni

2014-03-28 17.05.52This dish came to me while remembering some of the pasta dishes that my grandmother and mother made. Both of their versions of meaty pasta dishes we so delicious that I thought I should have my own. First I start with the sofrito,  which is the base to my sauce. Now I remember there was not a lot of measuring when my family used to do this. So here it goes. I put these ingredients into a food processor, but I chopped them up a little to help the processor out. 1 large carrot peeled, 1 large onion, 4 garlic cloves, and then processed  those. Then I took a small jar of roasted red peppers and a small handful blanched almonds and processed them. The almonds give the final sauce a texture somewhat like a Romesco would. This sauce is pretty complex but, I promise you won’t taste the nuts. 2014-03-28 16.12.072014-03-28 16.14.442014-03-28 16.22.30 HDR I placed all of my sofrito in a large pot and added 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. I sauteed all of this until the veggies just started to soften and then added 1 cup of chicken stock to that and let this all reduce and absorb the liquid. Then I added 1- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes to that and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, and let this all simmer together.2014-03-28 16.24.27 In a separate pan I sauteed 1 pound of ground turkey with 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds, and I tablespoon of Kosher salt, and a teaspoon of black pepper until the turkey was nice and brown in color.2014-03-28 16.18.55  After the turkey was cooked I added it to the sofrito.  Then I let this all simmer together on med heat for around 1 hour stirring occasionally so all the flavors could marry together.2014-03-28 16.26.53 After about an hour the sauce will thicken and absorb a lot of the liquid and that’t what you want. While this is happening and the sauce is where I want it, I start cooking the Rigatoni. 2014-03-28 16.47.06 I cook the pasta short of it’s cooking time on the box because when I add it to the ragu it will continue cooking and then will be at the perfect place when I serve the dish. I then add fresh basil and grate on some Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese and sprinkle on freshly chopped basil from my garden. This dish is so good and so hearty, you’ll want to call your friends over so you can share it. Serve it with some cheesy garlic bread they will ask you for seconds.2014-03-28 17.05.52

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