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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Lobster Mac & Cheese

2016-10-13-17-48-42

I’m pretty confident in saying, Mac and Cheese is the 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 along with a variety of delicious cheeses and a flavorful crunchy topping complete the perfect recipe for Lobster Mac & Cheese.

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Prep Time: 1 hour (the time it takes to cook the lobsters for the casserole)
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 16-quart stockpot, 2 6-quart saucepots, 9 x 13 casserole dish, 2 large mixing bowls, colander, Microplane

Ingredients:
4 cups of lobster meat, large dice (equivalent to approx. three 1 1/2 lb lobsters)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, (4 tablespoons for greasing the baking dish)
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
4 cups of whole milk, *scalded
1 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of corn (optional)
1 cup of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of Brie cheese, without the rind, diced
2 cups of Fontina cheese, freshly grated (reserve 1 cup for the top)
3 tablespoon of fresh chives, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of tarragon leaves, chopped
2 16-ounce packages (2 pounds) of cooked Paccheri Rigati, just under al-dente ( large rigatoni shaped pasta, substitute rigatoni)

Topping:
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
3/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

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

Directions, 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 to 20 minutes, remove the lobster from the pot and set aside to cool. Repeat this process two more times.

Boil 16 ounces (1 pound) of pasta just before the al dente stage, about 8 to 10 minutes, and drain. The pasta will finish cooking during the baking process.

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

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

In a large saucepot melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Continuously whisking the flour and butter to form a *roux. Cook, whisking constantly until the mixture becomes blond in color and paste-like, about 2 minutes. Again continue whisking while slowly adding the (*scalded) hot milk. Continue to whisk as the sauce thickens. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Sprinkle in the grated nutmeg, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, continuously whisking until sauce becomes thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, switch to a wooden spoon, stir in the chopped tarragon, finely chopped chives, grated cheeses, and corn (optional). Last, add the cooked lobster meat. Mix to 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 to 40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Allow the casserole to rest for 15 minutes before serving. This is my Lobster Mac & Cheese.

*Roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces

*Scalded milk is milk heated to a near boil. Small bubbles will appear around the inner rim of the pot.

 

How To Cook and Open A Lobster

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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, 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.

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Unsalted Chicken Stock

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rigatoni

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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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 glass tight-fitting lid for 6-quart saucepot, 6-quart Dutch oven, indoor grill pan

Ingredients:
1 pound (5 links) of sweet Italian sausage
1 pound (1box) of Rigatoni
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
3 large fresh zucchinis, cut into half-moons then 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 black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 quart plus 1 cup of unsalted chicken stock
1 1/2 cups of good white wine (Pinot Grigio)
Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese (3 to 4 shaved pieces 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 and crushed red pepper flakes, cook until onions are soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Once they’ve softened, 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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Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, with work and remodeling the back yard it’s been hard for me to find the time. I’m here now and this is my Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage.

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Colander-Style Spoon

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, colander spoon, 6-quart saucepot, 12-inch sauté pan with a glass lid, large rondeau pot (deep-sided frying/braising pan with a lid)

Ingredients:
2 pounds (10 links) of sweet Italian chicken sausage
3 1/2 cups of chicken broth, low sodium
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 zucchini, diced (sliced into half-moons and quartered)
1 pint of grape tomatoes, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups of dry white wine, Pino Grigio
1 1/2 pounds (1 1/2 boxes) of (Barilla) Rigatoni
2 cups of starchy pasta cooking liquid
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Basil leaves for garnish
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated plus more for serving

Directions:
To start, pour 1/2 a cup of chicken broth into a small sauté pan. Using a fork prick 3 sets of holes in each of the sausage links on both sides. Arrange the links into the deep-sided frying pan/rondeau and cover. Over medium heat, bring the sausages up to a simmer/low boil, turning halfway through, cook for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prep all the vegetables by dicing or mincing according to the ingredient list above. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet pan, set aside.

At this point, remove all the liquid from the sauté pan, turn the heat up to medium-high and sear the sausages, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Allow the links to cool slightly then slice on the bias.

In the same pan sauté pan, over medium heat, add olive oil, tomato paste, and fennel seeds. Cook until the fennel seeds begin to *bloom and become fragrant.

To the pan add the diced onions, stirring frequently, until they soften and become translucent around 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the diced peppers, stir to combine. Add the zucchini and minced garlic, again stir to combine. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, stirring frequently until the vegetables soften, another 3 to 5 minutes.

To release all the bits from the sausage and veggies from the bottom of the pan, *deglaze with 1 1/2 cups of white wine. Using the back of a wooden spoon, scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce by half, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer everything from the sauté pan to a large rondeau (deep-sided frying pan).

Still over medium heat add the halved grape tomatoes, sliced Italian sausage, and remaining chicken broth, stir to combine. Continue to simmer while the pasta is cooking.

In a large saucepot, on the back burner, filled with salted boiling water, drop the pasta. Cook just under al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a colander spoon, transfer the pasta to the rondeau. Gently toss to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, continue to simmer together, occasionally stirring, for 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Add the chopped herbs toss to combine.

Tip: The pasta will absorb a good amount of the broth. A good tip is to always reserve 2 cups of the starchy pasta cooking liquid to add to the dish if needed.

Finally, transfer everything to a big serving platter. Grate fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese all over the top. This is my Rigatoni With Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage.

*Boom: Blooming spices, or gently frying them in oil, is a quick way to deepen their flavor. Cook just until the spices smell nice and toasty.

*Deglaze: Dilute meat sediments in (pan) in order to make a gravy or sauce, typically using wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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