Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Broccoli Rice Casserole

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My Broccoli Rice Casserole is a great side dish, wonderful for the holidays, and perfect for family get-togethers.

I’m using a quick-cooking long-grain white (Basmati) rice because it’s my favorite. You could definitely substitute short-grain rice like Arborio which also would be delicious, it’s a personal preference. I’m also using frozen broccoli florets for this dish.

Most Broccoli Rice Casserole recipes call for sour cream, here I’m substituting Mascarpone cheese because whenever I can add Mascarpone to dishes, sweet or savory, I do.

One other option I’ve added to this recipe is to add a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs over the top of this dish, totally up to you. Let’s get started.

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Basmati Rice

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Tuscan Soup (6)

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Breadcrumbs

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (2-quart) casserole dish, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, colander, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, aluminum foil, medium-size mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, chef’s knife

Note: One bag of rice makes about 2 cups of cooked rice. I made both bags of rice to ensure I’d have 2 cups of cooked rice.

Ingredients:
1 pound (16 ounces) of frozen broccoli florets, thawed, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups of long-grain white rice, parboiled (Basmati, Success Boil-in-a-bag)
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (substitute short-grain rice, Arborio rice)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, extra butter for greasing baking dish
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 cups of chicken broth/stock, reduced-sodium or unsalted (substitute vegetarian broth)
2 cups of whole milk (substitute 2%)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
2/3 cup of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature (substitute sour cream)
1 cup (8 ounces) of mild Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese mix (substitute sharp cheddar)

Topping: optional
Combine
1/4 cup each of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs and Panko
2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for topping (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by buttering the baking dish and placing it onto a rimmed baking sheet pan. Fill a large pot with water. Submerge the 2 bags of quick-cooking rice. Bring up to a boil, add a pinch of salt, cook the rice, according to box directions, only half the time, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, remove the 2 bags, allow the water to drain, open, and dump the parboiled rice into a medium-size mixing bowl. To the same pot of hot boiling water add the broccoli, stir, for 1 minute, drain into a colander, transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

In the same pot, add the butter, onions, and garlic and sweat them for a few minutes or until translucent (you don’t need to develop any color)n add the flour, stir it all in for a minute then add the milk and stock. Whisk well to get rid of any flour lumps and simmer while stirring the whole time until the mixture thickens.

Add the seasonings, whisk them in to combine really well, then add the 2/3 of the cheese and Mascarpone cheese followed by the partially cooked and drained rice and broccoli.

Give everything a big stir (at this point the mixture is runny and that’s exactly what you want because the rice will soak up the sauce as it cooks) pour into the buttered baking dish, cover with foil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese (this would be the time to add the seasoned breadcrumb mixture over the top if desired) place back into the oven, and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot. There you have it my Broccoli Rice Casserole.

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Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Can you think of anything better than a Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese? I’ll bet your answer is no, and I agree.

Meatloaf Withh Sundried Tomatoes (2)

Meatloaf Withh Sundried Tomatoes (1)

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Mac & Cheese (4)

Mac & Cheese (6)

Mac & Cheese (7)

Mac & Cheese (5)

Mascarpone Cheese

Mac & Cheese (2)

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Mac & Cheese (8)

Mac & Cheese (3)

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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (3)

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (1)

Homestyle Mac & Cheese

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Meatloaf Withh Sundried Tomatoes (2)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 13) baking dish, 2 (6-quart) saucepots, whisk

Ingredients:
1 box or pound of Cavatappi (or elbow macaroni)
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter plus 6 tablespoons, unsalted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12-ounces (4 cups) Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
8 ounces (2 cups) white cheddar, freshly grated
4 ounces Mascarpone, room temperature
1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded for garnish on top
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon sweet Paprika (substitute smoked paprika)
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (reserve 1/4 cup for breadcrumbs)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook according to the instructions of the box, 6 to 8 minutes, drain really well.

At the same time, heat the milk and heavy cream in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Melt 8 tablespoons (1-stick) in a large (6-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes while whisking, until it’s light blond in color. Whisk in the hot milk and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and grated nutmeg, continue whisking until sauce thickens and becomes smooth.

Off the heat, switch to a wooden spoon, add the Mascarpone first, stir to combine. Next, add the grated Gruyére, white Cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, again stir to combine. Add the cooked macaroni, 1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, mix to combine. Pour into a 9 x 13 buttered baking dish.

Topping:
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan. Add the Panko breadcrumbs, Paprika, remaining Italian flat-leaf parsley, toss to coat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top of the casserole. *Dot the top with the remaining butter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and macaroni is browned on top. Optional, sprinkle finely shredded Parmesan cheese and Italian flat-leaf parsley over the top while hot.

Serve hot.

*Dot: To scatter bits of butter over food.

Meatloaf With Sundried Tomatoes

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Pasta Carbonara Souffle

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Eggs and bacon mixed with pasta that dates back for many years. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Making Pasta Carbonara into a casserole, even better. This is my Pasta Carbonara Souffle. Let’s get started.

eggs

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All-Purpose Flour

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 48 to 50 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (3-quart) baking dish (15″ x  9 1/2″ x  2 1/2 “high), 6-quart saucepot, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, colander, 1 (10-inch) sauté pan, large mixing bowl, hand-held electric mixer, Microplane.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1 pound (1 box) of Barilla Cellentani (corkscrew pasta) slightly undercooked, rinsed, and cooled (substitute gluten-free pasta)
3 cups of whole milk, room temperature (substitute 2%)
1 cup of half-and-half, room temperature
1/2 a stick (4 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, plus 3 tablespoons for the top (extra for greasing the baking dish)
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, (substitute gluten-free flour)
5 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (reserve 1/4 cup for topping)
4 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley plus 2 tablespoons for garnish, finely chopped
1 (8-ounce) package of the ‘Italian blend’ shredded cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
First butter the bottom and sides of the baking dish.

Start with a small cold sauté pan add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and diced pancetta. Cook over medium heat allowing all the fat to render out and the pancetta to become crisp, around 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crisp diced pancetta to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain any extra grease. Set aside.

Place 4 egg whites in a clean glass bowl. I’m looking for them to be nice and frothy. With the mixer on low, beat the whites until they become frothy but not quite to the soft peaks stage. At this point, add the cream of tartar. Continue beating the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted add the flour (optional, gluten-free flour). Continuously whisking until the raw flour is cooked out and becomes blonde in color and paste-like forming a *roux.

In a 3-quart saucepot bring milk and half-and-half (*scald) up to temperature. Pour the hot milk mixture into the *roux all at once. Add 1 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Double-check the thickness by dipping a wooden spoon into the sauce. Take your finger and make a line down the back of the spoon, if the sauce stays separated and doesn’t run together. Turn the heat off.

Remove the pot from the heat, then add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. Switch to a spatula, stir to combine. Next, gently *fold in the egg whites.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta one-minute shy of al dente according to the package instructions for about 8 minutes. The pasta will finish cooking during the baking process.

Drain the pasta into a large colander. Rinse the pasta under some cold water to stop the cooking process for just a minute before adding it into the casserole dish. Once the pasta is somewhat cooled, it’s time to put this together.

To assemble, add half the cooled pasta, then half of the cheesy souffle sauce. On top of that, sprinkle half of the cooked Pancetta. Repeat this process one more time. Now for the topping, add the finely shredded Italian cheese blend, a little more of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. *Dot the top all over with butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until brown and bubbly. Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes. You want the dish to rise beautifully as a souffle should.

Allow the dish to rest for 15 to 20 minutes to set.

*Dot is to place little pieces of butter on the top of a casserole dish or pie.

*Fold or folding is a very precise term in cooking and baking. It meat that you have to carefully combine two mixtures of different thickness and weight into one (relatively) smooth mixture. This is accomplished by a specific technique of using a spatula to lift the two mixtures together, turning them over so they combine.

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

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

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