epending on where you are, you might be feeling a bit of spring right now: there’s a whisper of chill in the air, but the sun is bright, and maybe it’s time to think about planting pansies and begonias in pots outside. It feels like a hopeful moment.
This week’s list includes two pasta recipes because sometimes isn’t that just what you need? Consider them cosy bookends to your busy week.
And if that’s not your thing, that’s OK, too. Here are five dishes for the week.
Pasta with garlicky spinach and buttered pistachios
If you want to get the timing just right on this one – no wasted time! – start the sauce a few minutes after you’ve dropped the pasta into the boiling water. Your spinach should be wilted right around the time the pasta is al dente. If that feels too stressful, or the spinach wilts before the pasta is ready, simply turn the heat under the pan all the way down to low and keep it warm while the pasta finishes. Don’t count this recipe out if you’re not fond of capers. They add a hint of salty brininess without being in-your-face caper-y. A pound of pasta is a lot to toss around, especially with 2 bunches of spinach in the mix, so save that extra quarter-box for your next pot of pasta e fagioli.
By: Dawn Perry
Makes: 4 servings
Total time: 25 minutes
Salt and black pepper
340g rigatoni or other short pasta
4tbsp unsalted butter
75g roasted salted pistachios, almonds or hazelnuts, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2tbsp capers, drained
340g spinach, stems trimmed to 2.5cm length, or swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
Grated parmesan, for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
2. After pasta has been cooking for about two minutes, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pistachios, garlic and capers and cook, stirring to keep the garlic from scorching, until fragrant – about one minute.
3. Add spinach to the pan one handful at a time, season with salt and cook, tossing, until wilted (about one or two minutes).
4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to the pan along with half a cup of pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium-high, tossing, until liquid reduces and coats the pasta (two to three minutes); season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with parmesan.
Roasted salmon with asparagus, lemon and brown butter
Ready in just 15 minutes, this fast dinner combines silky salmon with a vibrant green medley of asparagus and peas. While the fish roasts, the vegetables and sauce come together in one pan on the stovetop. Thinly slicing the asparagus is the trick to maintaining a crisp texture that complements the tender salmon, while bright lemon juice and zingy capers balance the nutty brown butter sauce. Parsley is used here to finish, but dill or tarragon would also be lovely. Leftover vegetables make a fantastic omelette filling the next day.
By: Kay Chun
Makes: 4 servings
Total time: 15 minutes
4 skin-on salmon fillets
2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
450g asparagus, tough stems trimmed, stalks sliced ½cm-thick on a slight bias (leave tips whole)
4tbsp unsalted butter
1tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
2tbsp drained capers
75g thawed frozen peas
15g coarsely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1. Heat oven to 230C. Rub salmon all over with one tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange skin side-down on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until medium (eight to 10 minutes).
2. While the salmon roasts, prepare the asparagus: in a large frying pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high. Add asparagus, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender (about three minutes). Transfer asparagus to a plate.
3. Reduce heat to medium and add butter to skillet. Cook, stirring, until foam subsides and butter is deep golden brown (two to three minutes), being careful not to burn. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice, capers, peas, parsley and cooked asparagus. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide vegetables among plates. Top with salmon and spoon over any remaining pan sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
Caramelised plantains with beans, spring onions and lemon
Bright and earthy flavours complement each another in this easy dish in which cooked beans are tossed with lemon zest, olive oil and cayenne, and roasted sweet plantains are coated in a brown sugar, ginger and lemon glaze. Go with ripe plantains for this recipe, yellow and spotted with large black dots. You’ll need your oven’s grill setting to help caramelise the sugary coating on the plantains, and to char the spring onion garnish. This dish is the perfect breakfast topped with a jammy egg, a quick lunch over a bed of fresh greens, or a satisfying side to roast chicken.
By: Yewande Komolafe
Makes: 4 servings
Total time: 1 hour
4 medium-size ripe plantains, yellow and spotted with large black dots
6tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2tbsp dark brown sugar
1tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 lemon, zested and juiced, plus more as needed
1 400g can drained cooked beans, such as haricot, cannellini, black-eyed peas or butter beans
13g minced red onion
½tsp ground cayenne
2 bunches spring onions (about 10 to 12 spring onions), trimmed
5g fresh dill fronds
5g fresh coriander, leaves and tender stems
1. Heat the oven to 175C. Leaving the plantain skin on, cut each plantain in half, lengthwise down the middle. Place the plantains cut-side up on a baking tray. Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil and bake until tender, and a skewer or knife inserted goes all the way through (about 40 minutes). Remove the plantains and set the grill to high with a rack 15cm to 20cm from the heat source.
2. While the plantains are baking, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, ginger and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Whisk to dissolve the brown sugar, then stir in two tablespoons of olive oil.
3. In a large bowl, combine the beans, minced onion and cayenne with two tablespoons olive oil, two tablespoons lemon juice and one tablespoon lemon zest. Toss and set aside.
4. Once cool enough to handle (about five minutes), remove the plantain skins and discard. Break each plantain into pieces, about 5cm to 7cm long, and place back on the baking tray. Drizzle the plantains with the brown sugar mixture and toss to coat. Move the plantains to one side of the baking tray. Lay the trimmed spring onions on the empty side of the sheet and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Rub the oil into the spring onions to coat evenly. Season the entire tray with salt.
5. Broil the plantains and spring onions until the glaze is set and deeply caramelised in spots, and the spring onions are charred along the length of each (about five to 12 minutes), rotating halfway through. If the plantains are at risk of burning, pull the plantains from the oven before the spring onions have finished.
6. Move the spring onions to a board, chop and add to the bowl with the beans. Season the beans with salt, toss to combine and transfer to a serving platter.
7. Top the beans with the glazed plantains. Garnish with fresh dill, coriander and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve over a bed of greens, as a vegetarian side, or topped with a jammy egg.
Pork chops with Dijon sauce
In the Burgundy region of France, home of Dijon, pork chops are traditionally served in a sauce made with mustard, cream and white wine, and there are very few pairings that are better. Richard Olney, a prominent food writer and authority on French cooking, sauteed sliced apples and chops and then baked them all together with cream and mustard dribbled on top. I prefer the method here, but you could always fry up some apples and serve them on the side (for a dish with roots closer to Normandy than Burgundy, make the same recipe but omit the mustard, deglaze the pan with Calvados instead of wine, and stir sliced sauteed Granny Smiths into the sauce itself).
By: Julia Reed
Makes: 4 servings
Total time: 35 minutes
1tbsp vegetable oil
4 3cm-thick centre-cut rib or loin pork chops, bone in
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
26g chopped spring onions or shallots
118ml dry white wine
177ml chicken or veal stock
120ml heavy cream
1tbsp Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
1tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
1. Melt butter in the oil in a large deep frying pan over high heat. Season chops with salt and pepper and add them, browning well (about two or three minutes a side), reducing the heat slightly if chops brown too quickly.
2. Remove chops to a platter and pour off most of the fat. Add spring onions or shallots and cook over medium-high heat until softened (about one minute). Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping brown bits off the bottom. Stir in the stock and return chops to the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover and cook until chops are tender (about 15 to 20 minutes).
3. Remove the chops to a warm platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Raise the heat and boil pan juices to reduce by half (about two minutes). Add cream and boil for two minutes more, until sauce reduces a bit and thickens. Remove from the heat and whisk in mustard and the parsley, if using. Taste and add more mustard if desired. Immediately spoon sauce over the chops and serve.
One-pan feta pasta with cherry tomatoes
In 2018, Finnish blogger Jenni Hayrinen posted a recipe for baked feta pasta. The dish became a full-on TikTok sensation, popular to the point that supermarkets were selling out of feta. This version streamlines her recipe. Instead of cooking the pasta separately, it’s added to the casserole dish with the baked feta and tomatoes, turning it into a cosy one-pan meal (also note that you’ll need an electric kettle to boil the water. So maybe it’s more like a 1½-pan meal). Don’t think of this as a pasta dish in an Italian, al dente sense. It’s more like a creamy casserole along the lines of mac and cheese. In any case, it’s comforting and supremely easy.
By: Melissa Clark
Makes: 4 servings
Total time: 1 hour
280g cherry tomatoes
5 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
5 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
125ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
½tsp black pepper, plus more for serving
Pinch of red-pepper flakes
340g short pasta, such as farfalle, campanelle, rotini or cavatappi
700ml boiling water
20g torn basil leaves
Flaky sea salt, for serving
1. Heat oven to 200C. In a shallow 1.9L casserole or gratin dish, or a 28cm-by-18cm baking dish, combine tomatoes, garlic, thyme, rosemary and ¾ teaspoon salt. Toss with half the olive oil to coat. Place the feta in the middle of the dish, and top with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle the black pepper and red-pepper flakes over everything. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic has softened and the tomatoes have burst their skins.
2. Add the pasta to the pan in an even layer and sprinkle with remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Pour the boiling water on top. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, carefully submerge pasta. Cover tightly with foil and bake until pasta is al dente (17 to 19 minutes). Remove from oven and let the pasta stand, covered, for five to 10 minutes to absorb the excess liquid.
3. Stir in basil until everything is well incorporated, and the tomatoes and cheese create a creamy sauce. When serving, top with more black pepper, oil and flaky sea salt.
© New York Times
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