Pasta without tomato sauce or garlic?? According to Milk Street where we found this dish, they say don’t be fooled by the name. Ironically, it is not pasta with Genovese basil pesto, nor is it from Genoa. Rather, the sauce is an onion-based ragù and a classic in the Neapolitan culinary repertoire.
Some versions of pasta alla genovese are meat-free, others include a small amount of beef or veal as a flavoring, but never as a key ingredient. Taking a cue from A Cucina Ra Casa Mia in Naples, this recipe uses boneless beef short ribs. The beef is combined, cut into chunks, with carrots, celery and a mountain of onions in a Dutch oven. The pot goes into the oven, where the heat is slow and steady, until the meat is rendered tender enough to fall apart when prodded with a fork.
TIPS: Slicing 3 pounds of onions by hand is a good opportunity to hone your knife skills, but if you prefer, they can be sliced on a mandoline. The ragù can be made up to three days ahead, then reheated gently before tossing with just-cooked pasta.
Don’t be concerned that there’s so little liquid in the pot after adding the onions and beef. Warmed by the oven heat, the vegetables and meat will release moisture that becomes the braising liquid in the covered pot. But for the second half of cooking, please don’t forget to uncover the pot. This allows some of that liquid to evaporate for a richer, more concentrated flavor and consistency.
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
4 oz. pancetta, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
3 lbs. yellow onions, halved and sliced
1½ lbs. boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
¾ tsp. red pepper flakes
2-inch piece Parmesan rind, plus 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 lb. pasta such as rigatoni or penne rigati
½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat the oven to 325°F with the rack in the lower-middle position. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the carrots and celery, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by about half, about 3 minutes.
Add the onions, beef, pepper flakes, Parmesan rind, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper, then stir to combine. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir. Return to the oven, uncovered, and cook until stewy and the meat falls apart when pressed with a fork, about another 1½ hours. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Cover and set aside while you cook the pasta.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
Add the pasta to the Dutch oven and toss to combine with the sauce, adding about ½ cup of reserved pasta water. Add the parsley and half the grated Parmesan, then toss again; add more reserved water as needed so the sauce coats the pasta. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve with the remaining Parmesan.
Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a meal that is not only good for you, but is art to the eyes and music to the taste buds—plus, comes together quickly with a short list of ingredients. Here, Milk Street riffs on Laura Calder’s recipe for a simple yet elegant one-skillet, six-ingredient (not counting the salt and pepper) sautéed fish supper from “French Food at Home.”
This version yields a slightly more substantial vegetable accompaniment to serve with the fillets but is equally easy to prepare. Green beans are used, but if you prefer, use pencil-thin asparagus instead. However, Milk Street notes it serves four, and while we halved the amount of snapper for the two of us, the full amount of green beans and tomatoes was kept intact, yet we consumed all of them between the two of us. If serving a starch such as rice or potatoes, it probably won’t be much of an issue.
Red snapper is a mild, firm-textured white fish that holds up nicely to sautéing. Flounder is a good alternative, as it typically is of the same thickness as snapper. Halibut works nicely, too, but the fillets are thicker (and more expensive!) and therefore require a few more minutes in the pan. One misstep on our end was forgetting to remove the fish skin which caused the fillets to curl in the pan.
Tip: Don’t fuss with the fish once it’s in the skillet. Allowing the fillets to cook undisturbed for a few minutes gives them a chance to develop a well-browned crust. To flip each one, slide a metal spatula underneath and, as you turn it, support the fillet your free hand. Gentle handling helps prevent the flaky flesh from breaking.
4 6-oz. skinless red snapper fillets (½ to 1 inch thick)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 2 pieces
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the beans and cook, stirring only once or twice, until spottily browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to char and burst and the beans are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter.
In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the fillets skinned side up and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip each fillet, then add the butter while swirling the pan. Cook over medium-high, occasionally basting the fish with the fat, until the fillets are opaque throughout, about another 3 minutes. Using the spatula, place the fillets on top of the vegetables.
Set the skillet over medium, add the vinegar and cook, stirring to combine with the fat, just until heated through, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour the mixture over the fish.
Ginger-Cumin Beef Curry — Bhuna is a type of South Asian curry that’s especially intense and flavorful because the aromatics and a generous amount of spices are fried in oil and only a little liquid is added to simmer the meat. This version we found in a recent issue of Milk Street.
Over the course of cooking, the liquid is allowed to reduce, resulting in deep, bold, concentrated flavors and a thick, rich sauce. According to some sources, the term bhuna refers to the cooking technique employed to make the dish. The Instant Pot is well-suited to making bhuna-style beef curry: the pressure cooker function cooks the meat without any added liquid at all and the slow cooker function simmers it gently and steadily with only a small amount of added moisture.
If you prefer more vegetables, you could incorporate carrots and/or broccoli. We simply paired ours with a side salad. Serve the curry garnished with thinly sliced red onion and with basmati rice on the side.
Don’t forget to add ⅓ cup water if slow-cooking. The liquid, added just before the pot is sealed, helps the beef mixture come to temperature more quickly, for a slightly shorter overall cooking time. The water is not needed if using the pressure-cooker function.
2 serrano chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2½-3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1½- to 2-inch chunks
1/3 cup water (unless using a stove-top pressure cooker)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select More/High Sauté. Heat the ghee until shimmering, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the ginger, garlic, cardamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, peppercorns and bay, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chilies and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beef and distribute in an even layer.
Press Cancel, lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 40 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, let the pressure reduce naturally for 15 minutes, then release any remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the solids to a medium bowl. Remove and discard the bay. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid (or use a fat separator).
Select More/High Sauté, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Return the meat to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Press Cancel.
Stir in the lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.
Milk Street, where this recipe hails from, explains that Jerusalem mixed grill is a popular Israeli street food, one that is said to originate in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market. The term “mixed” refers to the sundry ingredients that go into the dish—chicken meat, hearts, spleen and liver, along with bits of lamb, plus onions and spices. Now don’t get all squeamish over the innards because…
…To re-create a simplified mixed grill at home, Milk Street (MS) borrowed from chef Daniel Alt’s version at The Barbary and Omri Mcnabb’s take on it at The Palomar, two London restaurants that serve up modern Levantine and Middle Eastern cuisine. MS then limited the meat to boneless, skinless chicken thighs and seasoned them assertively with select spices. You can now let out a collective sigh.
In place of a grill, a nonstick skillet on the stovetop is used. Amba, a pickled mango condiment, is commonly served with mixed grill to offset the richness of the meat. Here however, quick-pickle sliced red onion offers a similar acidity and brightness. Nutty, creamy tahini sauce is non-negotiable, and a necessary requirement for the full experience. Serve the chicken with warmed pita.
Be mindful NOT to stir the chicken-onion mixture too often while cooking; doing so disrupts browning. Intermittent stirring—no more than every 2 to 3 minutes—allows the chicken to develop nice, deep, flavor-building char.
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
Multi-grain pita pickets, warmed in oven wrapped in tinfoil, (optional)
In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in 1 cup of sliced onion; set aside. In another small bowl, mix together the tahini and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, then whisk in 6 tablespoons water. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of oil, the coriander, allspice, turmeric, cinnamon and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the chicken and the remaining sliced onion, then stir until evenly coated.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken mixture in an even layer and cook, uncovered and stirring only every 2 to 3 minutes, until the chicken is well browned all over and no longer is pink when cut into, 10 to 12 minutes.
Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle lightly with some of the tahini sauce and top with the pickled onion. Serve the remaining tahini sauce on the side.
At nearly $30 per pound for sea scallops, you want to ensure that the end result is going to be worth your hard-earned dollars. On top of being quick-cooking and easy, there’s little more than a handful of ingredients. Plus, you’ll enjoy a crisp sear on the outside and tender, juicy insides with this Lemon Scallops recipe. And trust us, you’ll be wanting for more—we bought one pound and ate them all!
Make sure to cook in at least two batches so that you don’t crowd the pan and risk not getting that golden crisp sear on the exteriors. The recipe indicates this should take about 2 minutes per side, but in our case it was closer to 1 1/2 minutes per side. For the smoothest, velvety sauce, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to eliminate blackened bits and/or garlic chunks before adding the butter.
Paired with a Citrus Couscous Salad, it was a perfect dinner to kick off the Spring season. We both agreed, they were among the BEST scallops we’ve ever eaten—even taking into account upscale seafood restaurants!
Pat scallops dry. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate. Chill, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove and let stand 30 minutes.
Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. To check when hot enough, add a large drop of water (1/8 teaspoon) to the skillet. When it rolls around the pan like a bead of mercury, it is ready. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat; add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Return to medium-high heat. Add scallops, half at a time (don’t crowd the pan). Cook for 2 minutes or until a crust forms (be patient; the scallops will release when they’re ready to be turned). Turn and cook for 2 minutes more or until scallops are crusted on the second side and turn opaque.
Remove scallops from skillet to a plate; cover loosely. Remove skillet from heat. Carefully add wine, broth, lemon juice, and garlic (mixture will spatter). Return to heat. Bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Boil gently, uncovered, 5 minutes or until reduced by about half. Remove from heat.
Strain over a fine mesh sieve to remove any blackened bits and garlic chunks, then whisk in the butter for a velvety sauce.
Spoon sauce over scallops to serve. Sprinkle with mint.
Lemon and Shrimp Risotto with Fresh Basil is a lovely dish that becomes even more flavorful if you use your own homemade shellfish stock. Don’t fret however if you don’t have any, you can always create a flavorful broth for simmering the risotto by steeping the shrimp shells and strips of lemon zest in water, as suggested in the directions below.
Another option, bring two 8-ounce bottles clam juice, 3 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt and the zest strips to a simmer in the saucepan and cook, covered, for 10 minutes to infuse, then strain as directed.
Milk Street’s version of the Italian risotto di limone is finished with an egg yolk and cream that enrich a lush, velvety risotto brightened with lemon zest and juice. For citrus notes that register at every level, stir in bright, puckery lemon juice and floral, fragrant grated zest just before serving.
Our notes: We increased the amount of shrimp from 12 ounces to 1 pound, and used a large yellow onion instead of a small one. It’s up to you how much shrimp and the size of the onion to incorporate. You might even consider using only 4 cups of liquid as opposed to 5, because it was still a bit too soupy for our liking — although the next day, the leftovers had thickened.
Don’t uncover the pot for at least 5 minutes after adding the shrimp. Lifting the lid releases some of the residual heat that’s needed to cook the shrimp.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 1 of the lemons in long, wide strips; try to remove only the colored portion of the peel, not the bitter white pith just underneath. Using a rasp-style grater, grate the zest from the remaining lemon; set aside separately. Halve the lemons and squeeze ¼ cup juice; set the juice aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium, heat 2 teaspoons oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring constantly, until pink, 1 to 2 minutes. (If you are using your own homemade shellfish stock, you can omit this step.)
Add 5 cups water (or your own shellfish stock), the zest strips and 1 teaspoon salt, then bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce to low and cook for 10 minutes.
Pour the broth through a strainer set over a medium bowl; rinse out the pan. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible, then discard. Return the broth to the pan, cover and set over low to keep warm.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are translucent at the edges, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes.
Add 3 cups of the hot broth and cook, stirring often and briskly, until a spoon drawn through the mixture leaves a trail, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the remaining broth and cook, stirring, until the rice is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the shrimp. Cover and let stand until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the lemon juice, egg yolk, cream, basil, and the grated zest. The risotto should be loose but not soupy. Taste and season with salt. Serve drizzled with additional oil.
Sweet, Sour and Hot… no, this is not a romantic novel review. Hitting all the right notes, this quick and easy stir-fry, packs in savoriness from fish sauce and garlic, sweetness from a little sugar and spicy heat from pepper flakes. Thin slices of ultra-tender pork contrast the crisp snap of green beans, preferably haricot verts.
We took it a step further and added a bunch of scallions, the white and light green parts were stir-fried with the green beans, and the dark green slices were added as a garnish along with the chopped cilantro. Next time we intend to toss in some red bell pepper strips too, which will add a nice pop of color along with extra nutrients.
In addition, we doubled the sauce, which at first we thought might have been too much. But in the end, it was the perfect amount to coat the pork and veggies. I made the adjustments in the list of ingredients below. Serve with steamed rice, and if you like, additional fish sauce at the table.
Caution, don’t stir the beans and pork too often. Stirring just once or twice during cooking allows them to char and develop flavor. Also, don’t forget to stir the sauce mixture just before adding it to the skillet, as the cornstarch settles to the bottom upon standing. In our opinion, we feel using a wok is a much better vehicle for getting a good char when stir-frying.
8 oz. green beans, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly, white and light green parts divided from dark green
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, halved and cut into 1/4″ slices (optional)
1¼ pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, sugar, pepper flakes and ¼ cup water. Set aside.
In a 12-inch skillet over high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the beans and scallion whites and light green slices. Cook, stirring once or twice, until charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
If you are using red bell pepper, stir-fry them next as you did the green beans. When slightly charred, add to same bowl as beans.
In the same pan over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until barely smoking. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the pork in an even layer. Cook, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Return the beans (and red pepper, if using) to the pan, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Whisk the fish sauce mixture to recombine, then add to the pan and reduce to medium. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce thickens slightly and clings to the meat, about 60 seconds. Off heat, stir in the cilantro. Garnish with scallion greens.
LOVE this main dish inspired by classic Eastern European cabbage rolls. The super-cozy bake from recipe developer Asha Loupy takes a spin from the lasagna handbook—a Polish Lasagna if you will. Blanched cabbage leaves are stacked with spiced beef ragù and lemony herbed rice for a casserole that’s chock-full of all the flavors of cabbage rolls, without the rolling.
Asha shows us two tricks for the perfect cabbage roll casserole—no mushy rice or soggy bottoms here, thank you. First, reduce the tomatoes until they reach a thick, almost paste-like consistency. This ensures that you’ll get neat slices, without a runny, liquidy sauce. Second, parboil the rice (as you would for tahdig or biryani) and sprinkle it lightly between the layers. This gives the grains room to cook to fluffy perfection while baking.
It took both of us two full hours from start to finish, so it’s not necessarily a quick, easy weeknight meal. However, some make-aheads are the meat sauce, parboiling the rice, and blanching the cabbage leaves up to three days ahead. Cover and chill separately. Then when ready, assemble the casserole just before baking.
If you are not a red meat eater, switch out the ground beef for ground turkey or even plant-based meat to make it vegetarian.
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for pan
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 large head of savoy or green cabbage
1¼ cups long-grain rice (such as basmati)
1 lemon, zested over cooked rice (see Step 7)
8 oz. crème fraîche
8 oz. shredded, low-moisture mozzarella
Heat oven to 400°. Start by prepping the beef filling. Coarsely chop 1 large bunch dill (you should get about ¾ cup), then crush and finely chop 3 large garlic cloves. Transfer a third of dill and a third of garlic to a large bowl. Add 1½ lb. ground beef or plant-based meat, 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ kosher salt, and ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper and mix with your hands to incorporate. Set remaining dill and garlic aside separately.
Heat 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high until shimmering. Add half of beef mixture, dropping into pot in small clumps. Cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned underneath, about 5 minutes (or about 3 minutes if using plant-based meat). Stir and continue to cook 1 minute (it’s okay if the meat is not fully cooked through, it’ll finish cooking in the sauce). Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef mixture. Wipe out pot.
While the meat is cooking, finely chop 1 large onion.
Heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in same pot over medium. Add onion and remaining 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt. Cook onion, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until softened and starting to turn golden, 6–8 minutes. Add ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, and reserved garlic, and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
Return beef mixture to pot and add one 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes. Break up meat and tomatoes into smaller pieces with spoon. Add ½ cup water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is cooked off and mixture is just a little looser than tomato paste, 20–25 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, line a large rimmed baking sheet with kitchen towels and bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Using a paring knife, cut about 1″ deep circle around core of 1 large head of savoy or green cabbage. Gently pull off 16–20 cabbage leaves, cutting away from core if needed. (Save any extra cabbage for another use.) Cut a small V in the bottom of each leaf, about ½” big, to remove the thickest part of the fibrous stalk. Working in batches of 3–4 leaves at a time, cook cabbage until just pliable, 10–15 seconds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet with tongs. Pat leaves dry.
Return water to a boil, add rice, and cook, stirring occasionally, until barely al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain rice and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Shake rice well to remove most of the water, then transfer to a medium bowl. Finely grate zest of 1 lemon on Microplane over rice and add reserved dill; mix well to combine.
Rub bottom and sides of a 9×13″ deep lasagna dish with oil. Cover bottom of dish with a single layer of cabbage leaves, overlapping slightly. Set ½ cup sauce aside and spread half of remaining sauce over cabbage. Sprinkle half of rice mixture evenly over sauce. Top with another layer of cabbage leaves, then remaining half of sauce, and remaining rice. Top with a final layer of cabbage leaves.
Spread 8 oz. crème fraîche evenly over cabbage. Dollop reserved sauce on top. Grate 8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella on the large holes of a box grater and sprinkle over. Cover dish with foil and set on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover dish and increase oven temperature to 425°. Continue to bake until cheese is golden brown and bubbling, 18–20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish lightly with dill fronds.
Any leftovers can be cooled, sliced into squares, packed in lock-n-locks with a tight lid and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Do ahead: Meat sauce can be made, rice can be parboiled, and cabbage leaves can be blanched 3 days ahead. Cover and chill separately. Assemble casserole just before baking.
Or, as the French would say “Poulet au Vin Jaune de Jura” — which is the best chicken you can find slowly simmered in wine. Now obtaining the Jura wine was problematic, but we found you can substitute 1 1/3 cups white wine with 2/3 cup dry sherry (fino) for the 2 cups of vin juane de Jura. If the end result was any indication, the Jura wine was not missed at all—the meal was fabulous!
According to the online article that accompanied this recipe “The luxurious recipe typically calls for an AOP Poulet de Bresse, a super-high-quality chicken raised in the Alpine region of the same name. While some American farmers are raising the breed stateside, the original French specimens are rarely available in the United States, so in the absence of the “real deal,” use the nicest free-range chicken you can find.” And so we did…
To the sauce, add as many morels as you can afford. When in season, fresh morels are easily substituted for dry—just replace the soaking liquid in the recipe with an equal amount of chicken stock. Well, finding dried morels was easier said than done. After scouring four different grocery stores with no luck, oddly enough it was the least upscale supermarket where we finally scored!
And even though the directions do not indicate to cut the morels, ours were quite large so we quartered them after their 30-minute soak.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crusty bread, noodles, or rice, to serve
In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Inspect the morels for visible dirt or grit, and brush them off with a moist paper towel. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and add the morels to the water, and set aside to soak. (If the morels aren’t fully submerged, stir them occasionally to make sure they all become rehydrated.)
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and use kitchen shears or a boning knife to trim off the wing flats and tips, reserving them for another use. Separate the chicken into 7 pieces: 2 breasts (on the bone and connected to the wing drum), 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and the backbone. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with ¼ cup of flour and toss until the chicken is coated evenly on all sides.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble, and working in batches as needed so as to not crowd the pan, add the chicken parts (including the backbone) skin side down in one layer and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 25 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.
Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots soften and lose their color, 3–4 minutes. Using your fingers or a slotted spoon, scoop the morels out of their soaking liquid (reserving the liquid), then add them to the pot and continue cooking for another minute.
Add 1½ cups of the wine to the pot and cook for a few seconds, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Strain the reserved morel soaking liquid through a very fine mesh sieve or coffee filter and add it to the pot along with the thyme and bay leaf. Lower the heat to low, partially cover, and cook at a gentle simmer, turning the chicken occasionally until the thigh meat is very tender, 40–50 minutes.
Use tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to the platter and set aside. Return the pan to medium heat and continue simmering the cooking liquid until it has reduced by about a third, 10–12 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
On a cutting board or a plate, use a fork to mash the remaining butter and flour together to form a paste. Whisk the paste into the braising liquid and cook until it begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to low, then whisk in the crème fraîche and ¼ cup of wine. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer together until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 10–12 minutes.
Remove and discard the bay leaf, thyme stems, and chicken backbone. Add the remaining ¼ cup of wine and cook one more minute more, just to combine the flavors. (Do not cook off the alcohol in this final addition, which is meant to enhance the flavors of the wine added earlier in the process.) Serve hot, with crusty bread, noodles, or rice on the side.
*NOTE: If unable to locate Jura wine, substitute 1 1/3 cups white wine with 2/3 cup dry sherry (fino).
This savory pasta dish was inspired by kawarma, the spicy ground beef topping spooned over hummus in Israel. Milk Street re-envisioned it over pasta with just a few adjustments, resulting in a ground beef sauce seasoned with fragrant spices and generous amounts of onion and garlic, all lightened with a good dose of mint at the end.
I was scratching my head over the ingredients, wondering how they would all come together. Well we were both surprised how delicious the meal was! While we didn’t change anything dramatically, the amount of ground beef was a stretch over the one-and-a-half pounds by another four ounces, no biggie.
Milk Street warns not use ground beef fattier than 90 percent lean or the sauce will be greasy. However, we happened to have an 85 percent lean ground beef in the house and just made sure to siphon off the grease after Step 2, before adding the tomatoes. The type of pasta was switched from linguine to cellentani because that’s what we happened to have on hand, plus I think the feta clung to those curves more willingly.
And by all means, make sure to use authentic Greek block feta, not the already crumbled bits packaged in plastic containers—the taste is immeasurably more pleasant. Rather than sprinkle the feta as a garnish, it is tossed in with the just-cooked noodles so it melts and coats the strands, or in our case, the cork screws because we used cellentani pasta.
Perhaps because of the extra beef and thicker pasta, our version would easily feed five.
12 oz. cellentani, linguine, or your choice of pasta
8 oz. block feta cheese, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
1 cup chopped fresh mint
In a medium bowl, combine the beef, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper and ¼ cup water. Mix with your hands until homogenous.
Add the beef mixture, onion and garlic to a 12-inch skillet. Set the pan over medium-high and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spatula, until the onion has softened and the beef is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes with juices and bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium and cook uncovered, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt; cook until the pasta is al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water (you probably won’t need it all), then drain the pasta.
Return the pasta to the pot. Add about ¾ of the feta and toss. Taste and season with salt and pepper, add reserved pasta water a bit at a time to loosen if needed, then transfer to a platter.
Stir the mint into the sauce, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining feta.
We’ve been particularly enamored of Mediterranean-inspired dishes as of late and this vegetarian pasta dish is loaded with the robust flavors of that region. It’s a riff on a recipe from “The Italian Country Table” by Lynn Rosetto Kasper, who found inspiration for the citrusy, savory tomato sauce in the markets of Siracusa, on the island of Sicily.
We found this recipe in a recent copy of Milk Street Magazine where they prefer the meaty, concentrated flavor of oil-cured black olives, but insist milder green olives (such as Castelvetrano) work well, too. Having oil-cured black olives on hand, we used them. The only major difference we made was to use fresh oregano at a ratio of 3-to-1, that is 1 tablespoon of fresh for the 1 teaspoon of dried.
The sharp tang of pecorino Romano cheese is an especially good match for the fruity, herbal flavors. While warm, crusty bread makes a nice partner to the dish, we opted for less carbs and paired the pasta with a side salad.
It was wonderful again the next day for lunch. Just drizzle a little EVOO over the top, cover and microwave for a few minutes, top with more grated cheese.
TIP: Don’t boil the pasta until al dente. Drain it when it’s a few minutes shy of al dente, but don’t forget to reserve about 1 cup of cooking water first. The pasta will finish cooking directly in the sauce, which allows the noodles to absorb flavor.
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest, plus ½ cup orange juice
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 pints grape tomatoes
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn into small pieces
½ cup pitted oil-cured black olives or green olives, finely chopped
2 oz. pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, orange zest, oregano and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and orange juice, cover and cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 4 minutes.
Reduce to medium, then press on any whole tomatoes with the back of a spoon so they burst. If the pasta is not yet done, remove the skillet from the heat, cover and set aside.
To the skillet, add the drained pasta and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Bring to a simmer over medium and cook, tossing with tongs, until the pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
Off heat, add the basil, olives and half of the cheese, then toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water if needed so the sauce coats the noodles. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and drizzle with additional oil.
The Hubs was thrilled with this recipe because it has clams, and we rarely cook anything with clams because I don’t eat them. It’s a consistency thing with me. I enjoy their broth, and when they’re cut up and chopped into things, but not whole clams.
The Spanish dish—Merluza en Salsa Verde con Almejas, or hake in green sauce with clams—is a classic dish from the Basque Country in northern Spain. Hake has been one of my favorite white flaky fishes ever sinceI enjoyed it for the very first time in Northern Spain in 2013.Problem is, it’s near impossible to source in these parts, so cod is a reasonable substitute.
In this recipe, fish fillets are gently simmered until flaky in a parsley, garlic and olive oil sauce, then are finished with cooked clams in their shells. Milk Street adapted this formula from seaside restaurant Txoko Getaria, and devised a method that requires only a food processor and a skillet but yields delicious results in only about an hour.
The cubanelle pepper (or jalapeño chili) is a stand-in for hard-to-source Basque guindilla chilies. And if you cannot find Idiazabal cheese, a Basque sheep’s-milk cheese with a subtle smokiness, Manchego is a good substitute.
Don’t omit the cheese. The pairing of fish and cheese is indeed unusual but the Idiazábal lends complex flavor without tasting distinctly cheesy. After adding the fish to the skillet, don’t allow the poaching liquid to reach a full simmer; slow, gentle bubbling is best to ensure the fillets are perfectly cooked.
Basque-Style Fish and Clams in Parsley-Garlic Sauce
4 6-oz. firm white fish fillets (about 1” thick), such as hake, cod or grouper
5 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Cubanelle pepper or jalapeño chili, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into thin half rings
1 cup dry white wine
2 lbs. hardshell clams (about 1½” in diameter), such as manila or littleneck
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
In a food processor, combine the cheese, almonds and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until finely chopped, about 20 seconds. Add the parsley and process until chopped, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ½ cup oil, then process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl as needed; set aside.
Season the fish all over with salt. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, combine the remaining ¼ cup oil, the garlic and Cubanelle pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic begins to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the wine reduces by half, about 4 minutes.
Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover and cook, occasionally shaking the skillet, until the clams have opened, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a bowl, discarding any that have not opened; cover to keep warm.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour and ½ cup of the broth mixture until smooth, then whisk the mixture into the broth in the skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium, stirring often; the liquid will thicken. Add the fish skin/skinned side up, then cover, reduce to low and cook for 4 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a very gentle simmer.
Using a wide metal spatula, carefully flip the fillets. Re-cover and cook until the centers of the fillets are opaque and reach 120°F, another 2 to 4 minutes. Using the spatula, transfer the fillets to serving bowls.
Return the sauce to a simmer over medium, then stir in the parsley puree and remove from the heat. Taste and season with salt. Pour the sauce over the fish and top with the clams.
This dish may sound French, but the starting point for Milk Street was the Portuguese classic called frango na púcara, or chicken in a clay pot. For quick and easy weeknight cooking, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are used instead of bone-in parts. All gets cooked in one Dutch oven on the stovetop—always a plus when it comes to clean up.
Because our chicken thighs were of two different thicknesses, I had to remove the two smaller pieces to a platter, cover with foil, and let the thicker thighs cook a few minutes longer. And yes, you may have noticed from the ingredients photo below, I did increase the amount of garlic cloves.
Cherry tomatoes can be used in place of grape tomatoes, but they tend to be larger, so cut them in half before adding them to the pot. We used the variety pack of tomatoes that contained four different colors, adding to the overall color palette. Serve with warm, crusty bread, roasted potatoes, rice, or as in our case, farro.
Speaking of farro, the kind that’s most commonly found in the US and Europe is emmer wheat. It’s sold dry and prepared by cooking it in water until it’s soft and chewy. Before it’s cooked it looks similar to wheat berries, but afterward it looks similar to barley. It’s a small, light-brown grain with a noticeable outer layer of bran. Farro is loved for its nutty flavor and unique, chewy texture. It’s a great alternative to other popular grains, such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat and barley, among others.
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
⅓ cup brandy
1 pint grape tomatoes
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the mustard and brandy, then cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes and broth, then nestle the chicken in the liquid. Bring to a simmer, reduce to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Using tongs, flip the chicken and simmer, uncovered, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, another 5 to 8 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and tent with foil. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring often, until thickened and the tomatoes have softened, 5 to 8 minutes.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with the parsley.
Treat yourself like company with this Mediterranean-inspired Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives recipe. In less than an hour, this one pan wonder works well for a weeknight dinner. It’s a mash-up from America’s Test Kitchen and Molly Stevens cookbooks. The revised recipe noted below serves six, but we halved it for just the two of us.
Cooking the tenderloins until buttery-smooth is key, and roasting them atop a bed of vegetables buffers the heat to ensure juicy meat all the way through. Rather than searing the meat, it is rubbed with a spice mixture. The Mediterranean seasoning inspires the selection of vegetables: sweet, delicately flavored fennel, earthy artichoke hearts, and briny olives.
After softening the fennel in the microwave, toss it with the other vegetables and olive oil, and spread the mixture into the roasting pan, placing the tenderloins on top. The vegetables are nearly cooked when the pork was done, so remove the meat, add in juicy halved cherry tomatoes and orange zest, and let the vegetables finish in the oven while the meat rests.
Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives
2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick strips
12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry; or 6 oz. jarred packed in brine
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
18 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450°. Pat pork dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, combine thyme, 2 teaspoons of the orange zest, cumin, pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Combine thoroughly and rub all over both tenderloins.
Combine fennel and 2 tablespoons water in bowl, cover, and microwave until softened, about 5 minutes; drain well. Toss drained fennel, artichokes, olives, and oil together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Spread vegetables into 16 by 12-inch roasting pan and lay pork on top. Roast until pork registers 140 to 145 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, turning tenderloins over halfway through roasting.
Remove pan from oven. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir cherry tomatoes and remaining teaspoon orange zest into vegetables and continue to roast until fennel is tender and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes more.
Remove pan from oven. Stir parsley into roasted vegetables. Slice pork into ½-inch-thick slices and serve with vegetables.
A sense of satisfaction comes from the way the spice-infused red wine permeates the beefy ribs and provides a backdrop for the earthy porcini mushrooms and fresh piney taste of rosemary. Truly a cool weather, down-home meal if there ever was one.
Thanks to Molly Stevens, we obtained this Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini recipe from her “All About Braising” cookbook.
A classic trio for braising beef—red wine, tomatoes and mushrooms—there’s no cut more suited to this treatment than beefy short ribs. No need to break the bank when choosing the wine, just look for a big red that can hold its own without too much tannin or bitterness, such as Shiraz, Zinfandel (which we used), or a Rhone blend.
DO AHEAD: Keep in mind that the ribs need to marinate for 12 to 24 hours, so you may want to do this step a day (or two) ahead of the planned dinner (or very early the morning of). In addition, the flavor of the short ribs improves if they are braised 1 to 2 days before you serve them. In this case, complete the recipe through Step 6, and after braising, let them cool to room temperature in their braising liquid. Once cool, transfer ribs and sauce to a glass container, cover tightly and refrigerate.
When ready to cook, scrape off almost all of the solidified fat from the surface. Arrange the ribs in a shallow baking dish, along with the sauce; discard spice pack. Cover with foil and bake in center of oven at 375° for 15 minutes. Remove foil, taste sauce for salt and pepper, and baste ribs with sauce. Place back in oven uncovered, to heat for another 10 minutes before serving.
BTW, beef short ribs should not be confused with back ribs or beef spareribs. These two cuts (one from the back and one from the belly) are what are referred to in the trade as “scalped” ribs, meaning nearly all of the meat has been stripped from the bone and there is very little left to eat—not exactly a hearty meal for company.
You’ll want a bed of creamy polenta or silken mashed potatoes over which to ladle the beef and sauce when ready. Our choice was a potato, celery root mash combo along with roasted carrots and cauliflower.
Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini
1 bottle dry robust red wine, such as Zinfandel or Shiraz
3 1/2-4 lbs. meaty beef short ribs, thick fat trimmed away and silver skin
AROMATICS & BRAISINGLIQUID:
1/2 oz. dried poricni mushrooms
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. evoo
1 large onion, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 1/2 oz. canned whole tomatoes, chopped and juice reserved or 1 lb plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped w/ juice
2- 3-4″ sprigs fresh rosemary
Marinade: place bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns and cloves wrapped up in a piece of cheesecloth; tie up.
Sauté onion, celery, carrot and garlic; add wine and cheesecloth bundle. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
Place ribs in a baking dish, season and pour over marinade. Cover and marinate 12-24 hours.
Just before braising, soak mushrooms 20-30 minutes.
Remove ribs from marinade and strain marinade into a bowl. Reserve liquid and cheesecloth bundle; discard vegetables. The ribs will have absorbed a lot of the marinade so you should have about 1 cup marinade.
Make sure ribs are dry and season. Sear until deeply browned on all sides; remove to a plate.
Preheat oven to 375°
Drain mushrooms and squeeze dry; reserve liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms and strain liquid through a coffee filter to catch any dirt or grit; reserve liquid.
Sauté onions; add garlic, tomatoes with juice and mushrooms. Add mushroom and wine liquids and boil until reduce by half. (Since we had no liquid left at the end, we recommend not reducing this liquid.) Return short ribs to pot with any juices. Tuck spice bundle in between ribs and cover with parchment, pressing down.
Cover with a lid and braise on lower rack of oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn every 40-45 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove lid and see if liquid is simmering too fast, if so turn down heat.
Remove ribs from pot and discard spice bundle. Remove top layer of fat from liquid. Season remaining liquid. Spoon over ribs. NOTE: We had no liquid left in the pot, just fat and veggies. So we first spooned off as much fat as possible. Then we added a cup of warm water, scraped down the browned bits from the side, covered and let the mixture meld, with a few stirs in between.