Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020

Five-Star Pasta

Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. We are still at home, and we are still cooking. Let’s acknowledge that it can be a slog. I’ve found that it helps a little when I make a recipe that brings with it some kind of small revelation or a beat of joy: a tip acquired, textures I wouldn’t have thought to pair, a flavor I haven’t thought about in a while.

So here are five dinners that might do that for you, whether it’s a good shortcut for risotto, a recipe that honors ranch dressing, or the best pasta dish to cook while you can still buy great corn.

Tell me what you want or need this fall as we cook and cook and cook: I’m [email protected], and I’m right here with you. And a P.S.A. for parents: The Times now has a newsletter with updates on coronavirus and schools. You can sign up here. (In a similar vein, Jessica Grose’s NYT Parenting newsletter has been essential reading for me in the Covid era. Sign up for that here.)

Here are five dishes for the week:

1. Baked Risotto With Greens and Peas

Making risotto the traditional way is wonderful if you have time and want to slip away from the world by standing at the stove, endlessly stirring; it is less wonderful when dinner just needs to be done. And so I appreciate Kay Chun for eliminating the stirring in this pleasingly green recipe. I will be making it pronto.

View this recipe.

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2. Pan-Seared Ranch Chicken

I am delighted by this recipe from Ali Slagle, which deploys a quick, yogurt-based version of ranch — America’s favorite dressing — as both a sauce and a marinade. Do as some of the commenters did and thin some of the ranch with lemon juice, then use it to dress salad greens on the side.

View this recipe.

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3. Spiced Ginger Shrimp With Burst Tomatoes

This recipe by Melissa Clark is a play on shrimp scampi, and it delivers the same pleasures (juicy shrimp, buttery sauce) with more complex flavors. It also delivers delicious burst cherry tomatoes. Serve with rice or bread.

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4. Lentil and Orzo Stew With Roasted Eggplant

Eggplant can be very bad or very good, depending on how well it is cooked. Roasting it until it’s golden and adding it to a tomatoey lentil stew, by Yewande Komolafe, is an example of the very good. The lemon at the end is essential, so do not skip.

View this recipe.

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5. Creamy Corn Pasta With Basil

This recipe by Melissa Clark requires a little bit more effort on a weeknight — some sautéeing, some blending — but it is beloved on NYT Cooking and as of this writing it has five stars, with 4,319 ratings. I couldn’t let summer end without mentioning it to you.

View this recipe.

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