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.