Pasta with Meat Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 pound Italian sausage, hot or mild or a mixture, cut into coins or crumbled
1 pound ground beef
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 stick cinnamon, if you have one
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, if you have them
2 teaspoons dried basil, if you have them
1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole or crushed tomatoes
1 big glug of red wine, if there is some to hand
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried pasta of your choice
1 handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn, if you have them
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Set a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and swirl into it the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant, 30 seconds or so, then add the sausage and beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat has browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off excess fat if you like, but I really never do.

Use a spoon to clear a space in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste, stirring to break it up. Then add the cinnamon, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, and dried basil, if you’re using any of those. Stir to combine, then add the tomatoes, along with the wine. Add a spray of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Lower the heat under the pan and allow the mixture to simmer quietly for 30 minutes or more, then cook the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Garnish with the fresh basil and serve alongside the Parmesan. We made it.

Rendang-Seasoned Ground Beef over Pasta

Spice paste
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
5 shallots, peeled
2 dried red chiles
2 fresh red chiles, seeded
1 1-inch piece of ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, roughly chopped

Sauce & Assembly
4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed
1 pound ground beef (preferably chuck and 20% fat)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut, toasted and blended to a paste
1 turmeric or pandan leaf, thinly sliced (optional)
8 ounces dried rigatoni

Blend all the ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor or a blender until finely minced. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water to help the mixture blend smoothly. (Alternatively, you can pound them in a mortar and pestle.)

Pour the oil into a pot, and place it over medium heat, and heat until oil starts to shimmer. Add in the spice paste and sauté gently for 6-8 minutes, or until the paste is thickened and starting to stick.

Season the ground beef evenly with 1/2 tsp salt, cumin, coriander, and fennel, then add to the pot. Combine well with the paste, and cook until beef is lightly browned and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, 1?2 cup water, brown sugar and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Give it a quick stir, then turn the heat down to low. Let the rendang simmer for at least an hour, until the coconut milk turns thick and caramelizes, and the beef becomes soft and tender (like in a bolognese). Make sure to stir the pot every 10-15 minutes so the rendang doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom.

When the rendang is almost done—the gravy should be thick, like the consistency of relish—add in the coconut paste and sliced turmeric leaf, if using, and let simmer for a final 10 minutes. If not using the rendang immediately, let cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

If having the rendang that same day, bring 4 quarts of well-salted water (estimating 1 tablespoon per quart of water) to a boil. Cook the rigatoni until al dente, then drain, reserving a cup of the pasta water.

Add the rigatoni to the rendang, and stir vigorously to bring the two together, adding pasta water if needed. Divide between bowls and serve.

Ginger-Marinated Bulgogi-Style Chicken

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted-sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast cutlets, pounded 1/3 inch thick
Vegetable oil, for brushing

In a resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, vinegar, pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 4 hours.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Oil the grates. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brush lightly with oil. Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, thinly slice and serve.

Korean Sizzling Beef

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
One 2 1/2-pound beef flank steak, cut across the grain into twenty 1/4-inch-thick slices
16 scallions
Vegetable oil, for rubbing
Salt

Steamed rice, for serving

In a large, shallow dish, combine the soy sauce with the sugar, white wine, chopped garlic, toasted sesame oil and crushed red pepper, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the sliced flank steak and coat thoroughly in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate the steak for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Light a grill or heat a griddle. Rub the scallions all over with vegetable oil and grill them over high heat, turning once, until the scallions are just softened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.

Working in batches, grill the steak over high heat until the slices are richly browned and medium-rare, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer the steak to a serving platter and serve with the grilled scallions and steamed rice.

Grilled Vegetables with Agrodolce and Burrata

FOR THE AGRODOLCE SAUCE:
1/4 cup chopped raisins, preferably golden, or dried apricots
2/3 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar (or a combination)
2 tablespoons honey, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon fish sauce or colatura (optional)
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Pinch of fine sea salt

FOR THE VEGETABLES (USE ANY OR ALL):
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 bell peppers, quartered, stems and seeds removed
1 to 2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced diagonally 1/2-inch thick
1 small eggplant, sliced diagonally 1/2-inch thick
2 to 4 ears yellow corn, shucked
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and halved or quartered
1 bunch thick asparagus, ends snapped
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, preferably still on the vine

FOR SERVING:
2 small burrata or fresh mozzarella balls, or 2 cups fresh ricotta
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil or mint leaves, for serving
Crusty bread slices

Make the sauce: Put raisins or apricots in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, honey, fish sauce or colatura (if using), red-pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a boil, then let simmer until the mixture reduces slightly, about 3 minutes. Immediately pour over the raisins and let cool. Taste and stir in a little more honey if the sauce is too harsh. (Sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)

Prepare the vegetables: Oil the grill grate and light the grill. Have a serving platter at the ready.

Grill the peppers, zucchini, eggplant and corn directly on the grate, in batches if necessary, and turning them as needed. Move them around the grate so they cook evenly. Cook until they are lightly charred, watching them carefully, 5 to 12 minutes, depending on the vegetable.

To grill the mushrooms and asparagus, place them in a grilling basket if you have one, or put directly on the grill. (Arrange the asparagus perpendicular to the grates so they don’t fall through.) Grill, turning as needed, until charred all over, 6 to 10 minutes. Grill the cherry tomatoes, using the vine as a handle if possible, for 1 to 2 minutes, until they start to burst and char slightly. Transfer all the vegetables as they cook directly to the serving platter.

Add the cheese to the platter next to the vegetables. Immediately drizzle everything with some of the sauce, stirring it up to get the raisins, and with olive oil. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and pepper and scatter the herbs generously on top. Serve the extra sauce and the bread alongside for making crostini with some of the vegetables and more of the tangy sauce.

Tip:
To make this using a broiler, spread the vegetables on a rimmed sheet pan, drizzle with oil and broil until browned on top, then flip and broil until browned on the other side. The timing will depend on the vegetable, so stick with one kind per baking pan. You’ll need to do this in batches. You can also use a grill pan.

Vegetable Yakisoba

2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (vegan Worcestershire if making vegetarian)
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 medium carrot (julienned)
1 cup green cabbage (julienned)
1/2 red bell pepper (julienned)
1 pound fresh yakisoba noodles (450g)
3 scallions (julienned)
toasted sesame seeds (optional garnish)

In a small bowl, mix together the mirin, Ponzu sauce, oyster sauce, and Worcestershire sauce until thoroughly combined.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok. Stir-fry for 2 minutes and then add the onions, carrots, cabbage, and bell pepper.

Stir-fry for another 2 minutes, and then add the noodles. Pour the sauce mixture over the noodles. The liquid will help break them up.

Continue to stir-fry the mixture for another 2-3 minutes until the noodles are heated through. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 1 more minute. Serve, garnished with black sesame seeds if desired.

Chicken Yakisoba

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
8 oz. sliced chicken thighs or breast (225g)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons oil (plus 2 teaspoons, divided)
1 small onion (thinly sliced)
1 medium carrot (julienned)
2 cups cabbage (julienned)
12 oz. fresh yakisoba noodles (340g)
2 scallions (julienned)

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, combine the sliced chicken with 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 2 teaspoons oil. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat. Add the chicken in one layer and allow to sear for 1 minute. Stir-fry for another minute, remove from the wok, and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok, along with the shiitake mushrooms. Stir-fry for 2 minutes and then add the onions, carrots, and cabbage. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes, and then add the noodles, seared chicken, scallions, and the sauce mixture. Continue to stir-fry the mixture for another 2-3 minutes until the noodles are heated through.

Yaki Udon

1 pound frozen udon noodles (450g, or 200g dry udon noodles)
2 tablespoons butter (30g)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons dashi powder
1 tablespoon oil
4 ounces pork shoulder (115g, julienned; can substitute chicken, beef, seafood, pressed tofu, or more vegetables)2 tablespoons mirin
2 cups cabbage (shredded)
1 medium carrot (julienned)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 scallions (julienned)

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles. Boil for 30 seconds – 1 minute to loosen them. If using dried noodles, cook according to package instructions. Drain, rinse in cold water to remove excess starch, and drain thoroughly again. Set aside.

Place a large Dutch oven, non-stick pot, or large cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the pan is heated, add the butter. Once partially melted, stir in the garlic and dashi granules. Cook for 30 seconds, until the dashi partially dissolves. At this point, the butter should be a light brown color.

Add the drained noodles and toss to coat them in the butter. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, until the noodles have dried out and are slightly crisped. Remove and set aside.

Add a tablespoon of oil to the pot, along with the pork shoulder. Brown the pork until crisp on the edges. Add mirin, and cook until caramelized.

Add the cabbage, carrot, pepper, soy sauce, and water. Stir-fry until the vegetables are wilted, and add the noodles back in, along with the scallions. Stir-fry for ano