Japanese-Style Tuna Noodle Salad

FOR THE SALAD:
8 ounces dried udon noodles
1 to 2 tablespoons furikake or sesame seeds
10 to 12 ounces tuna in oil, drained
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

FOR THE DRESSING:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sweet miso

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: In a measuring cup or bowl, whisk to combine the sesame oil, canola oil, rice wine vinegar, mirin, soy sauce and miso; set aside.

In a small skillet, lightly toast the sesame seeds, if using, over medium-low heat until fragrant; set aside.

Drain the cooked noodles in the colander, then transfer to a wide, shallow serving bowl. Add the wakame and about 3/4 of the dressing, and toss to coat. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Top each portion with tuna, drizzle with the remaining dressing, then sprinkle with the scallions and furikake or sesame seeds. Serve hot, cold or anywhere in between.

Pasta with ‘Nduja Sauce

1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots (about 3 ounces; 90g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
One (24.5-ounce; 700g) bottle tomato passata (see note)
4 ounces (1/2 cup; 115g) ‘nduja (see note)
1 pound (450g) dried ziti, candele (broken into 3-inch pieces) or other short tubular pasta
2 ounces (60g) finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until shallots are softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add passata, and make sure to use up all of the tomato in the bottle by adding 1/4 cup (60ml) water to the empty bottle, screwing on the lid, shaking the contents, and then adding tomato-water mixture to the skillet. Bring to simmer, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is slightly thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

Add ‘nduja, and use wooden spoon to break up and stir into sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until ‘nduja is fully emulsified and incorporated in sauce, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until just softened on the exterior, but well shy of al dente, and still uncooked in the center (about 3 minutes less than the package directs). Using a spider skimmer, transfer pasta to sauce, along with 1/2 cup (120ml) pasta cooking water. Alternatively, drain pasta using a colander or fine-mesh strainer, making sure to reserve at least 1 cup (240ml) pasta cooking water.

Increase heat to high and cook, stirring and tossing rapidly, until pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened and coats noodles, about 2 minutes, adding more pasta cooking water in 1/4 cup (60ml) increments as needed. Remove from heat, add half of grated cheese, and stir rapidly to incorporate. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately, passing remaining grated cheese at the table.

Pressure Cooker Mattar Paneer

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup chopped paneer (soft Indian cheese) or firm tofu (if you are dairy-free)
1/4 cup heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 (12-ounce) package frozen peas

Directions
In the Instant Pot, combine the onions, tomatoes, 1/4+cup of the water, the oil, ginger, garlic, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne. Stir well to combine.

Secure the lid on the pot. Close the pressure-release valve. Select MANUAL and set the pot at HIGH pressure for 5 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, allow the pot to rest undisturbed for 5 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.

Select SAUTÉ. Add the remaining ½ cup water, the paneer, cream, cilantro, and peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 5 to 8 minutes. Select CANCEL.

Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Salt
8 ounces (about) rice noodles (vermicelli or sticks, as you like)
8 ounces bean sprouts
4 eggs
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
2 small hot red chiles (like Thai bird or Fresno), seeded if you like and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the noodles in a large bowl. When the water boils, add enough water to the bowl to cover, stir, then let the noodles soak until they are soft and pliable. Start checking after 3 minutes; thicker noodles could take up to 15.

When the noodles are nearly tender, add the sprouts to soak for a minute or reserve 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, then transfer everything to a colander, run under cold water for 1 minute, and shake off any excess water.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining water back to a boil, carefully add the eggs, cover, and turn off the heat. Steep the eggs for 9 minutes, then drain and run under cold water until cool.

Whisk together the peanut butter, sugar, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of the chiles, and the lime juice in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and continue to whisk. The dressing should easily coat the back of a spoon. If it’s too thick, whisk in more hot water 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lime juice, chiles, and salt if you’d like.

Combine the noodles and sprouts with half the dressing in a large bowl and toss gently with 2 forks.

Peel the eggs and halve lengthwise.

Garnish the noodles with the eggs, scallions, and peanuts and serve at room temperature, passing the lime wedges and the remaining dressing and chiles at the table.

Smacked Zucchini Salad With Chile Oil & Black Vinegar

4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chile crisp (or chile oil with its sediment)
2 teaspoons black vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 large garlic clove, Microplaned or minced
2 zucchinis (totaling at about 12 ounces)
1 pinch kosher or flaky salt (if needed)

Combine the soy sauce, chile crisp, black vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.

Lay the zucchinis on a cutting board and smack with a rolling pin until they split, like a dropped watermelon at the grocery store. Now chop the smacked zucchinis into bite-size pieces with a knife. Add the zucchini to the bowl with the dressing and toss.

Taste and adjust as needed. Maybe you want the salt, or not. Maybe you want more soy sauce, or chile crisp, or vinegar, or sugar, or garlic. Adjust until it tastes very, very good to you. The longer it sits, the softer the zucchini will get, and the saucier.

Chongqing Melted Cheese

To Assemble:
1 1/2 tablespoons My Ultimate Chile Oil (recipe below), or your favorite chile oil
3/4 cup (68 g) shredded Pepper Jack cheese
3/4 cup (68 g) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch finely chopped herbs and aromatics, such as mint, parsley, and scallions
1 piece crusty bread, for serving

Ultimate Chile Oil:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup (50 g) Sichuan (spicier) or Korean (milder) chile flakes
1 star anise pod
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups (480 mL) canola oil
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons finely ground Sichuan peppercorns

Assemble:
Add the chile oil to a small, heavy skillet (7 to 8 inches/18 to 20 cm; best to use a skillet in a material that retains heat well, like cast iron) and swirl to spread it around. Scatter the cheeses on top and make a small well in the middle, then crack the egg into the well. Place over medium-low heat with the lid on and cook until the cheeses are melted and the egg is just cooked, with the yolk still runny. You can peek a couple of times during the process; it’s fine.

Crack some fresh black pepper on top and sprinkle with whatever fresh greens and herbs you have on hand, such as scallions, mint, or parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

My Ultimate Chile Oil:

Mix the soy sauce and grated garlic together. Set aside.

Using a spice grinder, grind the chile flakes, star anise pod, coriander, cumin, and curry powder into a fine powder. In a large saucepan at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep, combine the spice powder with the oil, sesame seeds, and bay leaves. Set it over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chile flakes have turned maroon in color (but not black!).

When the chile flakes have turned to the desired color, turn off the heat immediately, then add the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir and let fry in the residual heat for about 30 seconds, then add the soy sauce/garlic mixture. The oil will boil up a little due to the added moisture (which is why we’re using a deep pot). Just keep stirring until the sizzling has died down.

Let the chile oil sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours (or best overnight) before using. Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Small Batch Congee (Khao Tom)

2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
1/4 pound ground turkey or pork
1 tablespoon fish sauce (more to taste)
2 eggs
1 green onion, chopped for garish
1 handful cilantro, for garnish
1 pinch ground black pepper, to taste

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Lower to medium heat and cook the ground meat in the water for about 5 minutes, separating the meat into chunks.
Drain the meat from the boiling water and wash the pot. Add the meat and rice to the pot.

Add enough water to just cover the rice by an inch and heat to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer for another 10 minutes for rice to soften.

While the rice and meat are cooking, add fish sauce to taste. Start with 1 tablespoon and add more for more flavor.

Poach the eggs in the porridge for at least 2 minutes depending on how runny you like your eggs.

Divide into bowls and top with pepper, cilantro and chopped green onion.

Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup leftover ham, diced
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (yields about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked rice overnight long grain rice
3 eggs, beaten
Salt, to taste

Mix the soy sauce and pineapple juice together in a small bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large nonstick pan and heat it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ham and pineapples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the bell peppers. Stir a few times to mix well, then transfer everything to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic into the skillet. Stir a few times to release the fragrance. Add the rice and spread it out with your spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is lightly toasted.

Move the rice to one side of the pan and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the other side of the skillet. Add the beaten eggs onto the oil. Let it cook until the bottom sets, 30 seconds. Scramble a few times until most of the eggs are cooked but some parts are still runny. Mix the rice into the egg, chopping and stirring to mix everything together.

Move the rice to the edge of the pan to make a well in the center. Pour the soy sauce and pineapple juice into the center. Let it cook for a few seconds to evaporate the liquid. Stir everything together until the rice is evenly coated with the seasonings. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is cooked off.

Add the cooked ham mixture back into the pan. Stir everything together. Taste the rice. Add a pinch of salt and mix again, if needed.

Steamed Mussels With ‘Nduja

For the Mussels:
1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots (3 ounces; 85g), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves (10g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
2 ounces (1/4 cup; 60g) ‘nduja (see note)
1 cup (240ml) dry white wine
2 pounds (900g) mussels, scrubbed and debearded (see note)
1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice and 1 teaspoon (2g) finely grated zest from one lemon

For Serving:
1 loaf rustic sourdough bread, thickly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and broiled until heavily toasted

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and garlic, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add ‘nduja and, using a wooden spoon, break it into pieces and stir vigorously to combine with shallots and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fat from ‘nduja separates and shallots and garlic are stained red and fully coated with ‘nduja, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add wine, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Add mussels, stir, cover, and cook, shaking pan constantly and peeking every 30 seconds to stir. Cook just until all the mussels are open, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and using tongs, quickly transfer mussels to a warmed heatproof serving bowl. Cover mussels with saucepan lid to keep warm. Add parsley, lemon juice, and zest to saucepan and stir to combine. Taste the liquid, and adjust seasoning with salt if needed.

For Serving: Remove lid from the serving bowl, and pour contents of saucepan over mussels. Serve immediately, passing toasted bread at the table along with a large empty bowl for collecting spent mussel shells.

Sheet Pan Spiced Cauliflower and Tofu with Ginger-Yogurt Sauce

1 large head cauliflower
5 tablespoons (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 3/4 teaspoons store-bought ras el hanout, divided (see note)
Kosher salt
2 (12-ounce; 340g) packs extra-firm tofu
2 cups (475ml) full-fat Greek yogurt
One (3-inch) piece fresh ginger (about 2 ounces; 55g), peeled and finely grated or minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion (8 ounces; 225g), sliced about 1/8 inch-thick and soaked for at least 10 minutes in ice water
3 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves and cilantro sprigs (about one-half bunch cilantro and one bunch mint)
One preserved lemon, seeds removed and flesh and peel finely diced (optional; see note)
Dried ground sumac, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 475°F (245°C) with a clean rimmed baking sheet set on the middle rack. While the oven heats, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout; season with salt.

Add cauliflower to heated baking sheet, carefully spreading it in a single even layer; set bowl aside. Return baking sheet to oven and roast cauliflower until it is just tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

While cauliflower is cooking, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Drain tofu and cut it into 1- by 3/4-inch planks. Place tofu pieces in a colander in the sink and pour the boiling water all over them.

Transfer tofu to work surface lined with paper towels. Arrange tofu pieces in an even layer, then lay more paper towels on top and press down to absorb excess water. Add tofu to the same mixing bowl used for cauliflower and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon ras el hanout. Season with salt.

When cauliflower is cooked, transfer to platter to cool; wipe baking sheet to ensure any stray bits of cauliflower are removed. Arrange tofu on now-empty baking sheet in a single even layer, then roast, flipping once halfway through, until crispy on both sides, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, stir together yogurt and ginger. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

In a separate medium bowl, drain red onion, making sure to remove any stray pieces of ice. Sprinkle all over with salt, and using your fingers, rub salt into the onion slices. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.

To serve, dollop a generous amount of ginger yogurt onto each serving plate or bowl. Mound the cauliflower and tofu on top. Drizzle with fresh olive oil and scatter preserved lemon on top, if using. Drain onions of any accumulated liquid, then toss with cilantro sprigs and mint. Mound herb salad on top of cauliflower and tofu, and sprinkle with sumac, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: Ras el hanout is a complex mix of spices hailing from North Africa. While recipes vary, it typically blends warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom with paprika, black pepper, and turmeric; some versions also include floral notes from dried rosebuds. You can buy it online and at well-stocked supermarket spice aisles, or make an easy substitute by mixing 3/4 teaspoons sweet or hot paprika with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and cardamom.

The cauliflower and tofu are best roasted shortly before serving. You can make the ginger yogurt up to 1 day in advance

Sopa de Ajo (Basque Garlic Soup)

4 ounces high-quality baguette
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 garlic head (about 12 cloves), peeled and finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
8 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place baguette on a baking sheet, and toast in preheated oven until very browned and almost burnt, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool. Break or slice bread into 2-inch pieces.

Heat 7 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add bread pieces, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning often to allow bread to toast and soak up oil, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove bread, and set aside. Wipe pot clean.

Add garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot. Cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in paprika. Add broth and salt; bring to a boil.

Add bread to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and maintain a simmer. Add vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up bread, until flavors meld, about 25 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

When ready to serve, bring soup to a simmer over medium-high. Stirring constantly, slowly pour beaten eggs into hot soup. If any large pieces of bread remain, cut with kitchen scissors, or break apart with a spoon. Serve hot.

Notes: Soup can be prepared through step 4 up to 2 days in advance. Bring to a simmer, and add beaten eggs just before serving.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Chili-Lemon Vinaigrette

2 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes or small (1- to 1 1/2-inch) Yukon Gold potatoes
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
3 rosemary sprigs
Kosher salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small jalapeño or Fresno chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large pot over high, bring 2 quarts water to boil. Add the potatoes, garlic, rosemary and 1 cup salt, then cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the largest potato meets no resistance, 18 to 22 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet; place the garlic in a small bowl; remove and discard the rosemary. Let the potatoes cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, using a fork, mash the garlic to a paste, then stir in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of oil, followed by the chilies; set aside.

After the potatoes have cooled slightly carefully remove the rack from the baking sheet. Wipe away any moisture on the baking sheet and place the potatoes in an even layer directly on the sheet. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup or ramekin, press down on each potato so it is slightly flattened and splits open but remains intact. Brush the tops of the potatoes with the remaining 4 tablespoons oil.

Roast the potatoes without moving them until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer to a serving platter, then sprinkle with the parsley and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Grilled Flank Steak with Worcestershire Butter

FOR THE STEAK:
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, finely grated or mashed to a paste
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons minced chives, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
3 ripe plum tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
Handful of torn fresh basil, plus more for serving

FOR THE WORCESTERSHIRE BUTTER:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, grated or mashed to a paste
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Season steak all over with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a bowl or resealable bag, combine thyme, garlic, jalapeño, chives, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and lemon juice. Add meat and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Prepare the Worcestershire butter: In a bowl, mash together the butter, thyme, chives, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Spoon the butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, form into a log and wrap well. Chill for at least 2 hours before using.

Light the grill or heat the broiler, arranging the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. Grill tomatoes, or broil them on a rimmed baking pan, turning them, until charred on all sides, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board to cool.

Brush off any pieces of marinade clinging to the steak, pat steak dry and coat it lightly with oil. Grill or broil steak until it reaches desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare (125 degrees).

Transfer steak to a cutting board. Slice butter into coins and place them on the steak to melt slightly. Let steak rest for 5 minutes while you prepare the tomatoes.

Roughly chop tomatoes and place in a bowl with scallions, basil, a pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss well, adding more salt or lemon juice, or both, to taste.

Slice the steak thinly, across the grain, and serve with the charred tomato mixture spooned on top. Garnish with more chives and torn basil, if you like.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Gnocchi

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 (18-ounce) package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon honey
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Trim and halve the brussels sprouts. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thick strips of lemon zest, then coarsely chop. (You should have about 2 teaspoons chopped zest.)

In a large (preferably 12-inch) skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the brussels sprouts, season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, then arrange the brussels sprouts in an even layer, cut-side down. Scatter the lemon zest over the top and cook, undisturbed, until the brussels sprouts are well browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red-pepper flakes, stir and cook until the brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high. Break up any gnocchi that are stuck together, add them to the pan and cook, covered and undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the butter and honey, season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the butter is golden, nutty smelling and foaming, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the brussels sprouts until warmed through. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Ricotta Dumplings with Peas and Asparagus

2 cups whole-milk ricotta
2 large eggs
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
3 cups pea shoots or leaves, thick stems removed
1/4 cup parsley or mint leaves, for serving
Parmesan or pecorino, for serving

Options: This dish is a truly excellent canvas for anything seasonal (asparagus and peas in the spring, cherry tomatoes in the summer, mushrooms in the fall, squash in the winter), so adjust as you like.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Combine ricotta and eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using a large wooden or metal spoon, gently mix in the flour, taking care not to overmix (which could result in tough dumplings).

Meanwhile, heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks have softened completely and are starting to pick up some color, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add asparagus and peas to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until asparagus is just tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on its thickness. Remove from heat while you cook the dumplings.

When the water is at a nice steady boil, drop the ricotta mixture into the pot by the heaping spoonful. (The dumplings will expand in the water, so make them slightly smaller than you’d like them to end up.) Be careful not to crowd the pot; cook the dumplings in batches if need be.

Once the dumplings rise to the top, let them boil until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. (You can always pull one out and cut it in half to test its doneness; the texture will go from dense and doughy to light and pillowy.)

As the dumplings finish cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the skillet with the peas and asparagus. Once they’re all in there, give everything a quick toss over medium heat just to evenly coat the dumplings in the buttery sauce. Add pea shoots and toss just to wilt slightly.

Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter and top with parsley, cheese and more olive oil, if you like.

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
4 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar (about 16 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
2 cups shredded Colby Jack (about 8 ounces)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions until a little under al dente, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add cooked macaroni, 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, melted butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and stir until well combined.

Add half the macaroni mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups Colby Jack evenly on top. Spread the remaining macaroni mixture on top in an even layer. Cover with aluminum foil, transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Carefully remove and discard the aluminum foil. Top the macaroni mixture with the remaining 2 cups Cheddar and ½ cup Colby Jack. Broil on top rack until cheese is browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. (The broiled cheese can go from golden to burnt fairly quickly, so keep a close eye on it.)

Remove from oven and let cool until the macaroni and cheese is fully set, 10 to 15 minutes. (The mixture may first appear jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.) Serve warm.

Notes: Extra-sharp Cheddar adds tartness and a layer of Colby Jack creates a gooey, molten center. If you can’t find a Colby Jack blend, shredded mozzarella or a Mexican-style blend will work in its place.

Creamy Chickpea Pasta with Spinach and Rosemary

Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
Black pepper
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Lemon wedges, for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high.

In a wide, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the chickpeas, rosemary and Aleppo pepper, if using. Season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas start to caramelize at their edges and pop, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about half the chickpeas to a bowl. Reserve for garnish.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots and garlic to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the pasta until a couple minutes short of al dente according to package instructions, about 5 minutes. Do not drain the pasta, but using tongs, transfer the pasta directly from the pot to the spinach and cream sauce. Add 1 cup pasta cooking water and the Parmesan, and cook over medium-high, stirring vigorously with the tongs, until the sauce is thickened and the noodles are al dente, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of pasta water to loosen sauce, if needed.

Transfer to bowls, and top with reserved chickpeas, rosemary and black pepper. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.

Note: this went viral from the NYTimes

Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon

Kosher salt
1 pound short, ribbed pasta, like gemelli or penne
1 cup whole-milk ricotta (8 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino (2 ounces), plus more for serving
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
Black pepper
Red-pepper flakes, for serving
1/4 cup thinly sliced or torn basil leaves, for serving
Optional: To make it more filling, peas, asparagus or spinach (add in the last few minutes of the pasta boiling), or fresh arugula or watercress (stir in with the sauce in Step 3)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

In the same pot, make the sauce: Add the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and stir until well combined.

Add 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce and stir until smooth. Add the pasta and continue to stir vigorously until the noodles are well coated. Add more pasta water as needed for a smooth sauce.

Divide the pasta among bowls and top with some of the sauce that’s pooled at the bottom of the pot. Garnish with grated Parmesan, black pepper, red-pepper flakes and basil, if using.

Cauliflower, Potato, and Pea Curry

1/4 cup cooking oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into large florets (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes (about 4), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen petite peas

In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and red-pepper flakes and stir. Add the cauliflower and potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the cilantro, the water, and the salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the peas and the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and cook, covered, until the peas are tender, about 2 minutes longer.

Variation: If you like, you can add three tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut to the curry. Put it in at the same time as the peas.

Baked Shells with Cauliflower and Taleggio

Salt
1 medium head of cauliflower (1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch florets
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons minced rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (6 ounces)
1/2 pound Taleggio cheese—rind discarded, cheese cubed
1 pound large shells, such as conchiglioni
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 450°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with cold water. Boil the cauliflower until tender, 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to the cold water and let cool slightly. Drain and pat dry; keep the cooking water hot.

In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and rosemary, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and boil until evaporated. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cream, 1 cup of the Parmigiano and the Taleggio.

Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Scrape the cauliflower and cheese sauce into the pasta and toss well. Spread half of the pasta into a 3-quart baking dish and top with 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs. Top with the remaining pasta, 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of Parmigiano.

Bake the pasta for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden and crisp. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead: The unbaked assembled pasta dish can be refrigerated overnight. Return the pasta to room temperature before baking.