Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

I’m not sure what it is about baked pasta dishes, but I can’t think of one that isn’t comfort food. Rich, creamy dishes like macaroni & cheese and pastitsio readily pop into my head. Another common craving: lasagna. I didn’t feel like putting in the time to make a good bolognese sauce to make that lasagna happen, so instead I opted for a lasagna with a bit of an autumny twist. The usual pasta, Bechamel, and cheese remain, but in place of a meaty, tomatoey sauce, I cooked up a butternut squash-centric sauce with a bit of Italian sausage.

Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

The sauce reminded me a bit of a hearty squash soup I had made last season. It had sweet, smoky, spicy notes that warm… click to read more…

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Guanciale

It wasn’t very long ago when I had no idea what guanciale was. It sounded exotic, and while I know I’d heard the term here and there, I truly had no idea what it was, where to get it, or why I’d care. Being the curious food person I now am though, I learned a bit more about it, and now, with access to fantastic, locally raised pork, sought to make my own. So if you’re in the same boat I was and are wondering what guanciale is, the answer is simple: awesome.

Guanciale

If “awesome” didn’t do it for you, in more descriptive terms, guanciale is lightly seasoned, air-dried, cured pork jowl. Many people try to compare the end product to prosciutto or bacon. While those are both wonderful things, they really are nothing alike and if you have any inkling that they are adequate substitutes, dash that… click to read more…

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Grilled Beer Bratwurst with Tangy Apple Slaw

While I try to have a lot of variety in my cooking, there’s still a ton I haven’t tried. For some reason, German food has been stuck in this category for a long time and I’ve been meaning to remedy this for…just as long a time. Finally though, after hearing mention of beer brats at work, I couldn’t take it any more and decided to try to dress up this comfort food to be more than what most view it as: a glorified hot dog (so don’t go putting bratwurst in hotdog buns! Its better than that!).

Grilled Beer Brats with Tangy Apple Slaw

This is a simple meal to prepare, and its really big on flavor. The brats are parboiled in a mixture of beer, shallots, and spices (think the sweet but savory, clean flavors of juniper and caraway) before they get crisped up with the smoky flavor of the grill, leaving the beer mixture to reduce to a thick sauce. These are served alongside… click to read more…

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Penne with Ragù of Roasted Tomato and Sausage

There’s something homey and comforting about a good pasta dish. I’m not sure what it is, but its the kind of meal that just always does it for me. While I had visions of bolognese sauce dancing in my head, I knew I didn’t have the time to make it this week, so instead, I opted for something with a similar feel that was a bit more summery fare. Plus, after seeing Jeff’s roasted tomato & sausage penne, my mind was pretty much set that I had to do something similar.

Penne with Ragù of Roasted Tomato and Sausage

With tomato season coming to a slow end, I can’t find myself getting enough of them. In sandwiches, salads, or sauces, I just need more. I’ve never had tomatoes like I get here in North Carolina. So with my usual, weekly bounty of approximately waymorethanIshouldhavebought, I thought a… click to read more…

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Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Mustard and Swiss Cheese Sauce…and a giveaway!

A while back, I was contacted by the folks behind Saucy Mama, a purveyor of sauces, marinades, and the like. They very generously sent a sizable package of goodies my way, and while I am always happy to have free food sent my way, I tend to approach it with a bit of skepticism. I curiously popped open the jar of chipotle mustard since that caught my eye and quickly had visions of pork chops dancing in my head (ever since trying the chops and more offered by my new favorite pig farmer, it seems that many things prompt me to think about pork chops, lol). After a quick trip to the farmer’s market, I had everything I needed for an amazingly delicious and fast meal.

Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Mustard and Swiss Cheese Sauce

The pork chops were massaged with… click to read more…

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Crown Roast of Pork with Tart Tomato Stuffing and Juniper Pan Gravy

Normally, a crown roast is a holiday sort of dish–its an impressive presentation for a glorious cut of meat, shaped to resemble a crown. You have a tender, succulent cut of both the loin and ribs, loaded with (typically) a very flavorful stuffing. Pork, lamb, and veal are the common options. Whatever meat you go with, a crown roast is easy to cook, looks awesome, and serves a good number of people–hence the holiday popularity. I had no special occasion for this though beyond stumbling across a nice cut of pork that I decided I must eat, lol. So eager to take on a more butchery-centric project, I focused on more summery flavors to make this pork shine.

Crown Roast of Pork with Tart Tomato Stuffing and Juniper Pan Gravy

This was an incredible dinner. You have the tenderloin–meaty and soft–mixed with the juicy, unctuous, richly porky flavored rib meat. Its like having a super pork chop. I’d compare it to eating chicken thighs/drum sticks cooked separately compared to when you… click to read more…

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