Scacciata is a sought-after Sicilian street food featuring a light and crispy bread dough stuffed with a variety of fillings. Valeria Messina fills this version with gooey provolone cheese, tender broccoli florets, Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives. This savory pie was originally made during the winter as a holiday food, using the humble dough mixed for the household's everyday bread and filling it with seasonal vegetables and cheese (plus cured meats or charcuterie, when available and affordable). The version here is perfect for the winter: In the summer, it's usually filled with grilled peppers, capers, almonds, and basil or stuffed "alla Norma" with grilled eggplants, tomato, ricotta salata, and basil.
Inspired by the classic Italian wedding soup, this heartier risotto is filled with just-wilted spinach and topped with crispy, garlicky meatballs. Use a cookie scoop to quickly portion out the meatballs; make a double batch and freeze half to whip up this risotto in a flash. Remove the risotto from the heat while it's still a little soupy—it will thicken slightly as it rests.
Alexander Hardy infuses flavor into each layer of this golden galette. The crust, seasoned with turmeric and garlic, surrounds a savory blend of green seasoning–spiked chicken thighs, roasted sweet potatoes, and sweet mixed bell peppers. Choose jarred sofrito for a shortcut, or make the piquant, herbal green seasoning from scratch.
My old Brazilian nanny, feeling displaced and perpetually homesick (Brazilians call it saudade), would only crack a smile when I made Brazil's national dish feijoada, which, for the sake of my family's happiness, turned out to be a weekly occurrence. It's a hearty stew made with black beans, pork shoulder, carne seca (dried beef like beef jerky), linguiça calabresa (a pork sausage like kielbasa) and hunks of slab bacon. It's quite a project—one that I reserve for the weekend. But saudade doesn't differentiate between weekday and weekend, so I found myself making a fast version. I like to use canned beans, serrano ham, prosciutto or bresaola (Italian air-dried beef) because it most closely approximates carne seca's slightly-gamey, meaty flavor.
Venison is similar to lean, grass-fed beef with a finer texture. It's very low in fat, and because it is denser than beef, you can fill up on less. Cookbook author Hank Shaw likes to use ground venison for his British take on cocktail meatballs. He seasons them with warming spices and herbs and leavens them with ground oats—a Scottish twist that also makes them gluten-free. Because ground venison tends to be quite lean, Shaw includes the succulent fat from thick-cut bacon, which lends a pleasing richness and rounded flavor, and serves the meatballs in his version of the classic Cumberland sauce. You can find frozen venison in many Whole Foods markets and also independent butcher shops. Texas-based Broken Arrow Ranch and New Jersey–based D'Artagnan Foods sell venison online.
Made with Lisa Ludwinski's Sister Pie All-Butter Pie Dough, the golden, crispy pastry encasing these savory hand pies shatters almost like a croissant. Lightly mashed sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, tangy sour cream, and aged cheddar make up the creamy-cheesy filling. It's a simple mixture, but it tastes like a handheld bite of Thanksgiving. If the Brussels sprouts are large, quarter them instead of halving.
More Comfort Food
The deep woodsy flavor of fresh mushrooms is reinforced with dried porcini mushrooms in this gorgeous meatless pot pie worthy of a celebration. The recipe calls for purchased puff pastry, which is not only a relief to those who get nervous by the prospect of having to make their own pastry, but it also cuts out a lot of prep time. Use whatever fresh mushrooms you can find, keeping in mind that a nice mixture will add more flavor and texture to the pie.