This is the simplest of all sauces to make, and none has a purer, more irresistibly sweet tomato taste. I have known people to skip the pasta and eat the sauce directly out of the pot with a spoon.Reprinted with permission from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. Copyright 1992 by Marcella Hazan. Published by Knopf.
Roasting beets brings out their earthy sweetness, leaving them tender and easy to peel. A vibrant dressing and generous crumbles of fresh cheese complete this elegant side dish.
No matter what vegetables you have, here's how to store it to get the most out of your precious produce.
For the last few years, I’ve taught a gardening class at my kids’ elementary school. There are few things more satisfying than planting seeds and seedlings with children and watching the tiny sprouts transform into towering Moulin Rouge sunflowers, juicy cherry tomatoes, and sweet peas suspended on a trellis for the snacking.The weekly afternoon class always seemed to arrive at an inconvenient time. I’d have a few minutes to race to the greenhouse, pack up a wheelbarrow with kid-sized garden gloves and tools, and speed to our designated plot, making up the lesson along the way. I typically felt harried and foolish for signing up for something that made my day more fractured. At least, that’s how I’d feel before the class. But each and every time, a bit of magic would happen that would leave me smiling, like watching kids devour radishes they’d grown themselves (on baguettes slathered with butter and sprinkled with flaky salt) or judging who had harvested the fattest champion carrot. On those warm spring days, it was a blessing to get to buzz around outdoors for 30 minutes and to see the green and growing world through the eyes of the kids.Despite my best efforts, I could never quite get the kids to embrace one of my favorite spring bloomers—artichokes. Have you seen their spectacular purple flowers? The spiky blooms earned a few oohs of admiration, but they failed to rouse the children's appetites like basil leaves or snap peas. In fact, the kids had a hard time believing the weird-looking plant could become anything delicious. An edible member of the thistle family, artichokes have an otherworldly beauty and an ancient pedigree (artichokes were beloved by ancient Greeks and Romans). Like most truly special things, they require a bit of effort to enjoy, but the resulting spring feast is entirely worth it. Artichokes transform any meal into a luxurious occasion.Artichokes are at their best—and easiest to prepare—when cooked quickly over a hot fire, particularly when served with luscious lemon aioli made with the smoky juices and pulp of grilled lemons. You can serve the creamy dressing on the side for dipping, but I prefer to toss it with the artichokes so it seeps into every crack and crevice. With grilled slices of my husband’s levain, one artichoke per person makes a meal at our house, along with a bottle or two of your favorite pink wine, of course!
Tomato paste is a versatile, cheap pantry staple. Here's what to do with it.
Removing the outer leaves and inner thistle of each baby artichoke reveals its lightly astringent, mildly sweet core, tender enough for quick cooking. Be careful to wash your cutting board and knife well after preparing the baby artichokes as they can leave behind a bitter residue.
Shiro dashi is a concentrated soup base combining dashi, white soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. It brings a sweet, savory depth of flavor to the wild mushroom and onion mixture. Chicken stock can be substituted if shiro dashi is unavailable.
My mother grew up in Sri Lanka, but it wasn’t until she emigrated to the United States in the 1970s and started building a family that she began cooking her native cuisine in earnest. When I was old enough, I started paying attention as she prepared elaborate, traditional meals for my family. That’s when I learned about tempering.Tempering is one of the most valuable tenets of Sri Lankan cooking I learned from my mother. The process is quite simple. Whole spices, like cumin and mustard seeds, get a quick swirl in hot oil, toasting them just enough to impart big flavor in minimal time. This flavorful cooking medium is then used as the base for any number of dishes; meats especially get beautiful color when seared in oil heavily flavored by chiles, onion, curry leaves, and ginger. You can also use it at the very end of a recipe. Some of my favorite dishes get a splash of this flavorful oil before serving; it’s a dramatically delicious way to finish a dish.The versatility of the technique can unlock a whole new world of options at your dinner table. It’s a fast way to introduce a balancing element of bitterness, earthiness, or brightness to the simplest of dishes, making it handy for quick weeknight meals.These tempered sweet potatoes illustrate how transformative the technique is. Hearty, filling, and packed with the flavors of my mother’s kitchen—onion, ginger, and chile flakes—they’re my cold-weather go-to. While my mother made this dish with russet potatoes or Yukon golds, I like using sweet potatoes because they are both firm and forgiving, making them ideal for soaking up the chile-and-spice-laden oil.
For the thinnest, most even slices, rely on a mandoline to cut the layered vegetables in this tian. Spungen recommends a cut-resistant glove to use with your mandoline; they’re simple and safe, and they enable you to slice with confidence.
Soy-and-vinegar-marinated shiitakes give this easy riff on steamed buns punchy, bold flavor while also making this vegan recipe substantial and hearty.
The confusion goes all the way back to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
In America, hummus has largely been designated as a snack food—a little nosh to tide you over until the next meal or to absentmindedly nibble while focusing on something else. I often turn to hummus and veggies as a makeshift appetizer while cooking. It’s substantial enough to quiet a rumbling belly while light enough to not ruin dinner.But sometimes hummus itself is dinner—full stop and with no regrets. Because when you abandon the store-bought tubs and make your own hummus, whipped and dreamy with formidable glugs of tahini and olive oil and just enough lemon and garlic to highlight the decadence of it all, everyone’s favorite appetizer suddenly becomes worthy of main-dish status.Serving hummus at the center of the table is common practice in the Middle East, where it’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The creamy chickpea spread is often topped with sautéed mushrooms or eggplant, browned ground lamb and onions, saucy fava beans, or similar hearty add-ons. I’ve tried (and adored) all of these versions, but the dinner hummus of my dreams is capped with a generous layer of chicken and cauliflower. Flavored with a shawarma-inspired array of spices—cumin, smoked paprika, coriander—and sautéed with plenty of onions, buttery pine nuts, and sweet-tart currents, hummus is transformed into a fully satisfying meal.Just like snack-time hummus, dinner hummus tastes best with pita (though if a gluten-free friend is joining the dinner table, I also make sure to have a sturdy gluten-free cracker on hand so they can dip with abandon). Start with pita that is either super fresh and plush or cut into wedges, drizzled with a little olive oil, and lightly toasted until crisp and golden. With a few pita rounds between us, my husband and I can swipe our way through an embarrassing amount of this hummus. With a glass of wine in hand and, if I’m feeling up to the task, a green salad on the table, dinner is served.
Blanching and shocking the collards preserves their vibrant color in the pesto and removes the greens’ slight bitter edge. Use best-quality peanuts; their toasty, nutty flavor is the foundation of the creamy pesto.
Don’t toss those veggie scraps! Scallions, along with a number of other common vegetables in your kitchen, can regenerate all on their own with just a little water and sunshine.
Here’s what you need to know.
Be sure to choose a heavy-bottomed skillet with a light interior—it will make it easier to monitor the browned bits in the bottom of the pan to avoid scorching the onions.
Comfort food takes many forms. For me, it’s a Sunday sauce. One filled with fat tomatoes and that has simmered all day, deepening in flavor, its scent perfuming my home. But on weeknights after work, when I need that slow-cooked comfort most, I want it in a hurry. That’s when I look for a quick but intense cooking method that builds flavor fast.Cue the broiler, which I use to infuse my hearty vegetarian ragù with smoky richness. I set the roughly chopped mirepoix (a combination of yellow onion, celery, and carrots, with some portobellos and garlic for good measure) under the broiler to create a charred crust that adds layers of smoky flavor. Plenty of cremini mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and dry red wine round out the sauce on the stove. Ladled over a pile of tagliatelle and topped with more cheese, this nourishing sauce tastes slow-cooked and comforting, especially on a wintry weeknight.
Unsweetened coconut milk and refined coconut oil combine to add a creamy richness to this vegan Swiss chard side from chef Rocco DiSpirito. Reducing the coconut milk deepens its flavor and lends a velvety texture that truly mimics dairy.
Rocco DiSpirito’s vegetarian “tartare” of shredded raw beets develops a slightly spicy depth from the horseradish and Dijon, while creamy carrot “egg yolk” brings bright flavor to beets’ natural earthy sweetness.
Cooking smarter—not harder—is my mantra these days, and when I get an idea in my head, I tumble it around until I have it honed, rounded, and polished. I knock off the excess, shave off the gratuitous frills, and try to pare down the idea to the essentials: how can I make it delicious, make it easy, and cook it as simply as possible?The idea for this Roasted Butternut Squash Parmesan occurred as I was making butternut squash schnitzel. Cut into planks, dipped in egg, dredged through panko, and fried, this was more or less the base layer for parm, except I used squash instead of eggplant (or chicken). I started thinking about how the sweetness of the squash paired with the acidity of marinara and the decadence of the melted cheese … I mean, what could not be amazing about this partnership? And flavor aside, if I could make a really great vegetarian parm without the hassle and mess of frying, it more or less qualifies me for sainthood, right?I decided to try roasting the squash sheet pan–style from the bottom up, layering it with marinara, cheese, and finally a super, umami-packed toasted breadcrumb topping (thank you garlic, Parmesan, and nutritional yeast!). First, the squash: I roasted it until just tender—about 15 minutes—and then slicked it with soy sauce–spiked marinara (a trick I discovered when I was working on my book, Umami Bomb). Then it got showered with generous amounts of shredded fontina, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Back into the oven it went until the cheese was molten, golden, and browned.It was so good (I mean, those breadcrumbs … I could eat them by the handful like granola). But there was one problem—since I made it all on a sheet pan, the squash was in a single layer and gave off side-dish vibes. So the next time, after sheet-panning the squash, I layered it traditional-style in a baking dish. So instead of an open-faced parm, this was now a double-decker of squash–marinara–oozy cheese with main-dish gravitas. It was hearty, way less fussy than making a traditional parm, and my stovetop didn’t need to be degreased post-cooking.
For a more traditional latke, grate the potatoes and onions by hand; they’ll release more moisture before frying and be slightly denser. Using a food processor will result in a thicker cut and a more hash brown–style fritter.
The key to tender parsnips is removing the fibrous core. It’s simple to do once the parsnips are quartered; just slice away the tough center of each piece. Barberries offer a punchy sourness to these earthy, sweetly spiced parsnips. Substitute unsweetened dried cranberries or cherries if barberries are unavailable.
An update on the classic broccoli-cheese casserole, these individual servings of bubbly lager-spiked Red Leicester cheese sauce over broccoli with crunchy croutons are crowd-pleasers.
This sweet, tart, and creamy jewel-toned slaw is filled with freshly shredded beets and carrots and tangy labneh. Make fast work of shredding carrots and beets using a food processor fitted with a grating attachment. Separating the grated vegetables helps keep their rich colors from mixing and muddling. Use rainbow carrots for more color, or swap out the red beets for Chioggia and their pink-and-white swirls.