Deconstructed, double pork lasagna; sans ricotta

so, I don’t know what to call this. I have been making this for some time now. it was born out of a need for cheesy, spicy, pasta bake when I didn’t have any lasagna noodles. It varies with every repeat but the gist of it goes like this:

1lb of noddles (penne rigate usually…i just like the way the slide onto my fork for easy upward motion to my mouth)


spicy meat mixture

cheese/bread crumb topping.

It’s everything you need on one dish, creamy and comforting, good texture from the topping and spicy kick from the meat mixture. Today (I’m a bit under the weather and took the day to re-coup) I had some various pork products sitting in the fridge that needed to be used up. Bacon and prosciutto. I dare not put Jamón Ibérico Bellota into the mix but I did toy with the notion briefly.

So, I fried up the bacon, when it was crispy I threw in the prosciutto, shallots, garlic, oregano, basil, black pepper, red pepper flakes and pinch of sugar. Once all the flavors mangled together, I toppled in a can of tomato paste and thinned with a bit of stock. Note: I put A LOT of red/black pepper in that mix. It is way too spicy to eat with just pasta…I would not recommend it.

Then the basic bechamel. When desired consistency reached I shredded some Grandpa Ed and parmigiano reggiano into it (about a cup all together).

Par boiled the pasta for about 4 minutes. i like my pasta cruchy. al dente is a bit too soft for me. weird, huh. it’s a texture thing.

Then, in a gratin dish I spooned in some bechamel, then a layer of noodles, then some spicy pork mixture….and repeated until all used up. (lasagna-ish aspect of the dish) Put a lid of parm/some kind of hard cow’s milk cheese I found in the fridge that Si brought home that I don’t know the name of and some bread crumbs on the top and popped in a 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.

it’s good.


this little piggy went to market

It’s March. It’s St. Louis. It’s cold…but according to Mother Nature, Spring Equinox is slated for March 20, 2008. uh..right.


All I know is that the River Hills Farmer’s Market opening day is tomorrow. If you have never been to the River Hills Farmer’s Market, located just about 70 miles NW of St. Louis in the quaint little town of Silex, MO…you should come with me tomorrow. It seems that on Saturdays into the 1930s the city fathers would gate off Main Street into stock pens so butcher stock could be loaded onto the Short Line. Eggs and cream were bartered for essentials, and horses and mules were traded on one end of town. Inspired by this in its search of a community-service project, the Silex 4-H Flyers club decided to recreate the traditions of a Saturday Market Day and thus, River Hills Farmers Market was born.

Amish baked goods, green beans and tomatoes, table eggs and hatching eggs, baby chicks, peafowl, goats and sheep are just a few of the weekly offerings. I can’t wait to gas up the truck and head up north for a day of fun in Silex.


River Hills Farmers Market is entering our 18th year. We are open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday, starting March the 8th. We offer a variety of market items, from Heritage poultry to Heirloom vegetables. On any given Saturday you can find Welsummer chickens, fresh country eggs, honey, fresh baked goods, Royal Palm Turkeys, local fruits and vegetables.

The Cheesemonger will be at the shop that day and unable to travel to the market. That means I will be left to my own devices. muuwhaaaahaaa!

**we will be leaving St. Louis at approx 8:45 am from Clayton.