Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: St. Joseph's Sawdust with Pasta

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I know sawdust doesn't sound the least bit appetizing, but don't worry—this only looks like wood shavings. It's actually a highly flavored recipe with bread crumbs from John Besh's My New Orleans, and I couldn't wait to try it with pasta. The crumbs easily soak up whatever tossed on them—which in this recipe included pine nuts, parmesan, dried currents, cinnamon, crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano—making for a cheap and tasty meal.

It was only after I had combined the pasta and the bread crumb mixture that I realized the sawdust was just one component of a much more complex recipe. I was missing a horribly intense ragu! But by that point I didn't care.

This may not have been what Besh originally called for, but it's quick and astonishingly delicious recipe. The balance of sweet and spice makes for a layered and rich bite, even if most of the ingredients come from the pantry.

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