Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash

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This Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash is a delicious summertime vegetarian dish. The extra flavor from the bruschetta topping adds beautiful color and pairs perfectly with the zucchini and yellow squash.

You’ll notice below I’ve made extra bruschetta topping, I’ll explain the reason, in my notes, in the post below. Adding shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the dish adds another layer of unforgettable flavor.

I garnish every dish with a large sprig of fresh basil giving you the choice to add torn fresh basil leaves through the pasta.

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Zucchini And Yellow Squash

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Olive Oil

Frezno Chili

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Ciabatta (2)

Toasted Ciabatta Bread

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Diced Mozzarella Cheese

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: veggie spiral machine, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, vegetable peeler, long-handled tongs, chef’s knife, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl

4 zucchini, ends removed, cut in half and spiraled
4 yellow squash, ends removed, cut in half and spiraled
1 pound box of spaghetti
2/3 cup of good olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and finely minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Large sprigs of fresh basil for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shavings for garnish
*E.V.O.O. for garnish

Ingredients For Bruschetta Topping:
16 Roma tomatoes, cut in half, seeded and finely diced
1 (16-ounce) package of Galbani mozzarella cheese, finely diced (low moisture, whole-milk variety)
1/2 cup of fresh basil, sliced chiffonade style
*E.V.O.O. for garnish
1 loaf of Tuscan garlic Ciabatta, toasted (yields 16 slices) OPTIONAL

Note: I’ve made extra bruschetta topping not only used as the garnish for this dish but to also serve on top of the toasted Tuscan garlic Ciabatta bread. I can’t get enough of that delicious basil, mozzarella, and tomato topping with a tiny little drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Bruschetta Topping:
Slice the Roma tomatoes in half, spoon out the seeds, and finely dice. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Next, finely dice the mozzarella cheese and add to the diced tomatoes. Finely add the chiffonade style basil toss everything to combine. Set aside.

Directions For Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash:
Start by spiraling the zucchini and yellow squash and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Next, prep the Fresno chili and garlic, set aside.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water drop the spaghetti. Cook between 8 to 12 minutes or until al dente.

Note: As soon as the zucchini and yellow squash spaghetti start to wilt and soften slightly turn the heat off. You want them to keep their crunchiness and integrity. All you’re really doing is making sure they are well coated with the flavored oil.

In the meantime, in a saucepot over medium heat add the olive oil minced Fresno chili and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the spiraled zucchini, yellow squash, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Using your tongs, toss the spiraled zucchini and yellow squash with the oil, garlic, and minced chilies. Cook, continuously tossing, for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the vegetable spaghetti to begin to wilt and soften slightly as they become evenly coated with the flavored oil. Immediately turn the heat off.

Again using the long-handled tongs, transfer the cooked spaghetti to the saucepot. Toss to combine the vegetable spaghetti and pasta together. Continue to toss until the pasta is evenly distributed.

Ladle a good helping into a porcelain serving bowl and garnish with a large sprig of fresh basil. There you have it, my Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash.

Directions For Toasted Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Sweet Italian Sausage With Roasted Vegetables Over Creamy Polenta

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My recipe for Sweet Italian Sausage With Roasted Vegetables Over Creamy Polenta is one that brings bold flavors and comfort food together. Isn’t that really what you want to achieve in any dish? There are three components to this dish. Let me explain/show you how I pull this all together.



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Sweet Italian Sausage (4)


Sweet Italian Sausage (5)

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Mascarpone Cheese



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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley



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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 2 sheet pans, 1 large saucepan, indoor grill pan, grill-pan

2 packages (10 links) of sweet Italian sausage, grilled and sliced on the bias
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (or broth), unsalted
2 cups of zucchini, 1-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, seeded, and 1-inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, and 1-inch dice
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and 1-inch dice
1 red onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Creamy Polenta (recipe below)

Directions For the Sausage:
In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Using a fork, prick all the sausage links on both sides (3 sets on each side) for faster cooking.  Turn the heat to medium-high, place add the links to the saucepan, and cover. Bring the chicken stock up to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, poaching for about 10 minutes, turning them once halfway through the process. Transfer the sausage links onto a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess liquid.

Preheat an indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the links placing a grill-press on top. Grill the sausages for 3 to 5 minutes per side. You may need to do this in two batches. Once the links all have nice grill marks, transfer to a cutting board and slice on the bias. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.
Place the vegetables, minced garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper into a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour the vegetables onto two sheet pans, spread out evenly into one layer ( this way they will roast and not steam!). Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing occasionally until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown.

Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.
Add the slices of grilled Italian sausage, to the pans, with the roasted veggies, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Ingredients For Creamy Parmesan Polenta:
3 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
3 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated
1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter, diced

Directions For Creamy Polenta:
Combine the chicken stock, half-and-half, and garlic in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and very slowly add the cornmeal, whisking continuously to make sure there are no lumps.

Switch to a wooden spoon, add 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons pepper, and simmer over very low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. (cooking time may vary slightly). Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while stirring. Off the heat add the Mascarpone, Parmesan cheese, and butter. Taste for seasoning.

Transfer all veggies and sausage to a large bowl, add Italian flat-leaf parsley and toss. Serve over hot creamy Polenta. There you have it, my Sweet Italian Sausage With Roasted Vegetables Over Creamy Polenta.

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Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Italian Sausage And Pears

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My favorite part of any stuffing is the crunchy and caramelized topping that occurs in the last minutes of cooking. How the croutons become golden brown, the pears release their sugars and glisten from that slight char along with the crunchy exterior of the sweet Italian sausage. Yet inside, the stuffing is soft and flavorful. What I’m describing is my Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Italian Sausage And Pears.

Let me start by showing you how roasting winter squashes brings out their flavor. Then I’m going to go a step further and fill them with savory sausage and sweet pears.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) non-stick sauté pan, 4 rimmed baking sheet pans, chef’s knife, small mixing bowl, whisk, pastry brush

4 acorn squash, seeded and tops and bottoms cut
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 stick of butter, unsalted, melted
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 cup of light brown sugar

1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed
1 sprig plus 1 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves, julienned
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 diced Bosc pears
1 diced zucchini
6 cremini mushrooms, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of chili powder
3 heaping cups of Homemade Ciabatta Croutons, 1 /1/2 inch bread cubes
1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
Bib (Boston lettuce) lettuce and fresh sage for garnish

Directions For The Homemade Ciabatta Croutons:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to coat. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to making sure they brown evenly.  Leave on sheet pans to cool.

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by cutting the tops off the 4 squash. Next, clean the seeds out of the inside. Then cut a thin slice off the bottom of each one so they will sit upright on the baking sheets. Place 2 on each sheet tray. On the inside of each acorn squash add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until fork-tender. Melt the butter then transfer the melted butter to a small mixing bowl. Add chili powder and brown sugar, whisk to combine. Brush the inside of each squash with the flavored butter mixture. Return to the oven for another 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the squash for the last few minutes of cooking. You don’t want them to burn. Remove the squash from the oven, Set aside.

In a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat (no oil needed) add the skinless sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon, start breaking up the sausage. Cook the sausage for 15 minutes until brown, crumbly, and there is no pink. Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel allowing the fat to drain, set aside.

Tip: Take a paper towel and wipe out the sauté pan. No reason to dirty another pan.

Using the same sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter, olive oil, and chopped sage leaves. Once the sage becomes fragrant add the diced cremini mushrooms, zucchini, celery, onions, Bosc pears, minced garlic, chili powder, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Once the veggies start to soften, then add in the diced pears. Stir and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cooked sausage back to the pan, stir to combine. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Tip: It’s important that all the veggies are relatively cut the same size ensuring they’ll cook at the same time.

At this point, add the sausage and vegetable mixture to the bowl with the croutons. Add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese, gently toss to combine.

Fill each of the squash with the filling. Any extra filling place into an oven-safe baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the top of each one and place back into the oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the tops become golden brown and caramelized.

First, place the leafy greens on the plate. Arrange the Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Italian Sausage And Pears on top, garnish with a sprig of fresh sage. Serve hot.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

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