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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce

2015-01-14 13.53.16

I’ve been working on some new recipes for, my daughter, Melissa to try. It’s my Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce. Melissa’s led a meat-free lifestyle for quite a few years. Now, as far as any gluten allergies, Melissa doesn’t have any but Tonya, a good friend of mine, believes she may. My Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce is gluten-free. I think it’s really helpful to have someone that’s happy to try a new recipe I’m testing and get their input.

I knew this recipe needed to have great flavor, this way, the lack of having any type of meat wouldn’t be missed at all. I’m not saying that this dish is for everyone, but if you choose a meat-free and gluten-free lifestyle, I can tell you this dish does not disappoint. Also for the meat lover who just wants to cut down on the amount of meat in your diet, this is a great alternative.

Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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thyme (1)

thyme (2)

Oregano

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Prep Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 day plus 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields: 36 meatballs
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 10-cup food processor, large mixing bowl, 6-quart Dutch oven, chef’s knife

Ingredients For Roasted Eggplant and Cremini Mushrooms:
1 whole eggplant, top removed and sliced in half
1/4 cup of olive oil, divided evenly between the halves, plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided evenly between the halves
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, divided evenly between the halves

Ingredients For Roasted Eggplant Meatballs:
1 roasted eggplant, puréed
1 pint of roasted cremini mushrooms, puréed
1 12-ounce jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 jar of marinated artichokes with their oil, puréed
1 15-ounce can of Cannellini beans, puréed
1 onion diced, purèed
3 whole garlic cloves, roughly chopped and purèed
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of oregano leaves, roughly chopped
3 tablespoon of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups of bread crumbs, gluten-free

Ingredients For Marinara Sauce:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth, unsalted
2 28-ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes
1 8-ounce jar Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly torn basil leaves, (plus basil for garnish)

Directions For Roasting Eggplant:
The day before serving this dish you want to make the vegetarian meatballs.
Step 1: Roast the eggplant and cremini mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Start by cutting the top off the eggplant then slicing a whole eggplant in half.  Drizzle each half with olive oil then sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper. Place the eggplant halves on a rimmed baking sheet pan, cut side down, roast for 20 to 25 minutes.

At the same time, spread sliced cremini mushrooms onto a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil toss to coat then spread out into one even layer. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

This step needs to be done in two batches. Add half of the following ingredients to the food processor at a time. Start with the Cannellini beans, marinated artichokes with their oil, roasted Piquillo peppers, whole garlic cloves, diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Pulse until combined. Refer to the picture above. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat this process with the remaining half until all the ingredients are puréed.

Once the eggplant has finished cooking, remove the flesh from each half along with the cremini mushrooms into the food processor. Pulse until combined. Refer to the picture above. Add the eggplant mixture to the rest of the processed vegetables. Refer to the picture above.

To the same bowl add a beaten egg, gluten-free bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Using your hands, mix to combine.

To ensure all of the vegetarian meatballs are the same size, use a 2-ounce cookie-dough scoop. Scoop and form the vegetable mixture into golf-size balls. Place them on baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Transfer the vegetarian balls to the refrigerator to set overnight.

Next-Day:
Preheat a large Dutch oven (or heavy bottom pot with a lid) over medium heat. Add olive oil and the diced onions. Sauté the onions until they become translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add tomato paste, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried basil, brown sugar, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, stirring all the ingredients as they cook for another 5 minutes.

For the liquids, add chicken broth allow to come up to a bubble then let reduce by half. Next, add the crushed tomatoes and puréed Piquillo peppers, stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer for 40 minutes. Turn the heat off.

Remove the pot from the heat and add torn basil leaves, stir to combine. Cover to keep warm.

Preheat oven to 275-degrees F.
Remove the vegetarian meatballs from the refrigerator. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of each of the veggie balls. Transfer the pans of the vegetarian meatballs on the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes, just until they’re warmed through. Keep a close eye on them.

Note: Due to the fact that these are vegetarian balls, they may flatten slightly, on the bottom, during the warming process. Halfway through the cooking process, use two spoons to gently turn them over to help keep the integrity of their shape.

To Serve: Ladle about 1/4 cup of the hot Marinara sauce on the bottom of a serving dish. Arrange the Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs on top, ladling a little of the Marinara Sauce over each one. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley and fresh basil. Serve hot.

Tip: Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs can be stored in airtight resealable bags and frozen.

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Pappardelle Alla Bolognese

2014-08-25 16.53.42

My Pappardelle Alla Bolognese will have you coming back for seconds. The beautiful thick flat pasta known as Pappardelle is perfect for this ragu, known as Bolognese, to complement these ribbons of pasta. Let me tell you how I make this delicious sauce.

I wanted to mention that whenever I make any type of tomato sauce I always have extra. This time is no different. What I decided to do is to post one or two recipes using my leftover Bolognese. At the bottom of this post is a link to one of those recipes. I hope you’ll check out my Portobello Mushroom Pizzas.

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Onions

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Red Onion

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Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Olive Oil

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Fennel

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Chicken Broth

Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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fresh basil

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Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, 6-quart Dutch oven, large slotted spoon, colander, 1 large mixing bowl, 2 medium-size bowls, 10-cup food processor, mini food processor, large stockpot

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound of (90% lean) ground sirloin
1 pound of ground pork
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 large leafy-top carrots, peeled cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1/2 a red onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3 ribs of celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of Cabernet (a good red wine)
1 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
1 (12-ounce) jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed (substitute roasted red peppers)
1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 fresh bay leaves (substitute dry)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (light or dark)
2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, extra sprigs for garnish
2 (16-ounce) packages of Pappardelle

Directions:
Here I’m using three types of meat, sweet Italian sausage, ground pork, and lean ground sirloin.

In a large sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. To the pan, add the sweet Italian sausage, ground pork, and ground sirloin. Next, add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, and 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, stir to combine. Frequently stirring, sauté the meat for 12 to 15 minutes until browned through. Turn the heat off.

Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a large platter lined with a paper towel allowing for any excess fat to drain. After the meat has drained, again using the slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a large mixing bowl.

The next step is to prepare the *sofrito (vegetable mixture) and purée the Piquillo peppers.
In a food processor add the chopped carrots, diced onions, garlic cloves, and chopped celery. Pulse the vegetables together until finely minced as seen in the picture above. Transfer the sofrito to a bowl. Next, add the Piquillo peppers to the food processor, pulse until the peppers are puréed again as seen in the picture above. Set the bowl aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute allowing the spices to *bloom (to release their essential oils).

Next, add the *sofrito, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, and tomato paste stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently allowing the vegetables to release their water and soften around 5 minutes.

At this point add the chicken broth and red wine. Stir and allow the liquids to reduce by half, 3 to 4 minutes. This completes the base for the Bolognese.

Next in the pot goes the cans of tomatoes. Add the whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and the diced fire-roasted tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon break up the whole tomatoes. Add bay leaves (don’t forget to remove the bay leaves when the sauce is done), 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, and the brown sugar. Stir to combine.

Turn the heat down to medium-low, simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Next, add the browned meat to the sauce, stir to combine. Simmer over low heat for another 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat off. Tear fresh basil leaves dropping them into the sauce, stir to combine, cover to keep hot.

In a large stockpot filled with 8 quarts of salted boiling water, drop both packages of the Pappardelle. Cook according to directions on the package,  8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain really well.

To the bottom of a large, family-style serving bowl add 1 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Add the cooked pasta to the bowl and toss coating all the pasta. Ladle 2 to 3 large ladles full of the Bolognese and toss through. Garnish with fresh basil. Top with more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve hot.

I like to serve Pappardelle Alla Bolognese family-style.

*Sofrito is generally a Caribbean sauce or Latin American sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs. In this recipe, it’s the use of carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and Piquillo peppers.

*Bloom is a term used in cooking. Blooming spices or herbs in fat before the liquid goes into the pot can extract far more flavor than by simply simmering these ingredients in water.

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

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Pappardelle With A Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu

Braised Beef Short Ribs With Parpadelle

Short Rib Ragu With Pappardelle

This dish is one you’ll want to serve to family and friends. I just loved the response I received. I know that once you make my Pappardelle With A Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu you’ll make again and again. Let’s get started.

The star of this dish is the beef short ribs. I want to let you know that this cut of meat can be expensive. My butcher happens to carry both styles of beef short ribs, bone-in and boneless. The boneless type of beef short ribs is cut from either chuck or plate and consists of rib meat. I’m going to use both bone-in and boneless beef short ribs in my Pappardelle With A Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu.

Whenever you’re planning on making this type of dish, it’s important to prep all the vegetables in advance.

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Rosemary

Thyme

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I have 2 pounds of boneless beef short ribs and 2 pounds of bone-in beef short ribs. Above you will see that I’ve set the meat out on a couple of paper towels to pat them completely dry on all sides. The reason for this is to get a good sear on the outside of the meat.

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This is what they will look like when they’ve been seared off in the oven.

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WOW! Does this look amazing?

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Start ladling the veggies into the processor.

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This is what the thickened sauce will look like when you’re done.

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This Artisanal pasta cooks for only 8 minutes. You want to cook the pasta to the al-dente stage.

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Braised Beef Short Ribs With Parpadelle

 

 

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 10-cup food processor, 6-quart stockpot, Microplane or vegetable peeler

Ingredients:
2 pounds of boneless beef short ribs
2 pounds of bone-in beef short ribs
1/3 cup of good olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoon of good olive oil
5 large cloves whole garlic, peeled
2 ribs of celery, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled 2 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium-size carrots, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 orange bell pepper, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves, substitute dried
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 cups of Cabernet Sauvignon
3 cups of beef stock, unsalted
Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Garnish with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 packages (2 pounds) of Pappardelle

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.

Lay all the short ribs in a single layer onto paper towels. Take another paper towel and pat the tops dry too. Once dry, transfer the short ribs to a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Toss together until all the ribs are coated.

Lay the seasoned short ribs in a single layer onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until caramelized.

While the short ribs are roasting dice the vegetables, tie the herbs up together with kitchen twine (herb bouquet), and have all the liquids premeasured for the dish.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onions, sweet potato, carrots, celery, and bell peppers. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until softened and golden brown.

Add tomato paste to the pot, stir to combine. Add 1 cup of the Cabernet, stirring and scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining red wine and simmer until the wine reduces by half. Add the whole garlic cloves, beef stock, and the *bouquet garni of fresh herbs.

Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.

Remove the short ribs from the oven, transfer them to the pot. Over medium-high heat bring the liquid to a boil. Turn the heat off. Cover and transfer pot into the oven. Cook until the short ribs are tender, 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours.

Carefully remove the cooked short ribs from the pot. Let cool down enough before handling. As soon as the ribs are cool enough, remove the meat from those that have bones. Using two forks shred all the meat into small pieces.

Thicken the sauce in small batches. First, remove the herb bouquet. Ladle 1/3 of the cooking liquid and vegetables into the food processor.

Note: Be very careful when processing hot liquids. Place the lid on, cover with a dish towel, hold your hand over the top opening.

Pulse until smooth. Transfer the processed sauce to a large bowl. Repeat this process until all the cooking liquid and vegetables are processed.

Return the thickened sauce back into the pot along with the shredded beef short ribs, stir to combine. Cover to stay hot while making the pasta. If you have a burner with a “warm” setting, that’s perfect.

Fill a large stockpot with water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Salt well and stir in pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta. Add the drained pasta to a large serving platter. Ladle the Beef Short Rib Ragu over the pasta and gently toss.

Garnish the Beef Short Rib Ragu With Pappardelle with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve immediately.

*bouquet garni is a bunch of herbs typically encased in a cheesecloth bag, used for flavoring soups or stews.

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