Hi, and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. Emily is off so I’m stepping in for her today.
The New York Times announced this week that we won’t be returning to our Times Square offices any sooner than July 6, 2021. I am happy that our company is prioritizing our safety, but also sad because I won’t get to see my beloved NYT Cooking colleagues in the flesh for many more months. (They are truly the best, most fun people. Vaughn Vreeland is just one delightful example.) But do you know what else it means? Three more seasons of cooking three meals a day for my family. (Cue Beethoven’s Fifth.) I foresee a lot of pasta with jarred sauce and sheet-pan meals in our future, and there is no shame in that. But I’m going to do my best to cook something a little different each week — like one of the new-to-me recipes below — to keep things lively.
Here are five dishes for the week:
This one-pan dinner from Yewande Komolafe is, as one reader put it, “delicious as written but endlessly adaptable,” which is just what I look for in a weeknight recipe because who knows what’s in my fridge. You can substitute feta for the halloumi, and fish or tofu for the chicken. Don’t skip the extra squeeze of lemon juice at the end. It really brightens everything up.
This vegan slow cooker recipe from Sarah DiGregorio is the kind you dream about: Put everything in the crock, turn it on and come back hungry in 8 hours. That’s it. I think I’ll make it for my kids’ home-school pod, and put out bowls of sliced avocado, pickled red onion and crushed tortilla chips for topping. If you don’t have a slow cooker, this spicy-sweet chili can also be made on the stovetop.
You either love broccoli rabe, or you hate it. I’m a lover, but if you’re not, chopped broccoli (or any sturdy green) can stand in for it in this delicious pasta dish from Lidey Heuck. She calls for chickpeas here, but I like cannellini beans for their creaminess factor. Whatever you do, don’t be stingy about stirring in the butter just before serving. That simple step takes this recipe, and practically any pasta, to the next level.
How beautiful is this 30-minute soup from Alexa Weibel? It comes together with just a handful of ingredients — canned white beans, celery, shallots, garlic, some herbs and stock — whizzed in a blender, then artfully drizzled with a homemade spicy paprika oil. (Use store-bought Chinese chile oil or olive oil if you’re in a rush.) Serve the soup alongside a crisp green salad, with hunks of good bread and butter.