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.

Rigatoni with Cauliflower and Prosciutto

3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound rigatoni
One 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons

Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the rigatoni until al dente; about 6 minutes before the rigatoni is done, add the cauliflower florets to the pot. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the panko with the Parmigiano cheese and the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Return the rigatoni and cauliflower to the pot. Add the garlic cream, the prosciutto and the reserved pasta water and toss until the pasta is coated. Scrape the pasta into a large shallow baking dish and sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the top. Broil for about 2 minutes, rotating constantly, until the topping is evenly browned. Serve hot.

Smothered Cauliflower with Eggs

One 10-ounce head of cauliflower—leaves removed, head cut into slabs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow tomatoes, cored and finely chopped (3 cups)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
4 large eggs Marjoram leaves and herb flowers (optional), for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the flour, tapping off the excess.

Step 2
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned. Add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper and lemon zest to the skillet and season with salt. Cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes have broken down, 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small, dry skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Let cool.

Using a spoon, make 4 wells in the tomato sauce. Crack the eggs into the wells, cover and cook over moderately low heat until the eggs are just set, 3 minutes. Garnish the eggs with the almonds, marjoram leaves and flowers and serve right away with crusty bread.

Cauliflower Cheddar Casserole

4 cups cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head cauliflower)
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup coarsely grated mild white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a shallow 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the cauliflower until just tender, 4 minutes. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, sour cream, half the cheese, paprika, thyme, salt and red pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Sheet Pan Sausage with Grapes an Onions

1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups seedless red grapes (1 1/4 pounds), destemmed
1 teaspoon fennel, coriander, cumin or caraway seeds, lightly crushed
1 pound any sausages, poked all over with a fork
1/2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 teaspoons rice vinegar or sherry vinegar, plus more to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a large (13-by-18-inch) rimmed baking sheet, toss together onion slices, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper, and spread in an even layer. Roast for 8 to 12 minutes, until the onions turn translucent and the thinnest pieces take on a pale gold color at the edges.

After 10 minutes, add grapes, seeds and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan with onions, and toss well. Spread in an even layer and nestle sausage into the mixture.

Roast until sausage has browned, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping sausage and tossing grapes and onions halfway through.

Transfer sausages to a platter or to individual plates. Add parsley and chives to pan with grapes and onions and gently toss (this warms up and wilts the herbs). Use a slotted spoon to transfer grapes and onions to plates with the sausages.

Add vinegar to rimmed baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits on the tray. Drizzle pan juices over the grapes and sausages, taste, and sprinkle more salt or vinegar on top, if desired.

Note:

You can use any kind of sausages in this cozy, autumnal dish, filled with roasted sweet grapes and vinegar-spiked onions. Spicy Italian sausages made from pork, chicken or turkey, fresh chorizo or merguez, will give the dish a kick, while milder sausages like chicken and apple, bratwurst or Weisswurst make for a gentler meal. Serve this on a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes, or with some crusty bread to sop up the vinegary, sausage-rich pan juices, and a green salad on the side. If you want to halve this recipe, reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees; otherwise the smaller amount of food in the pan might get too brown.

Sheet Pan Sausage and Butternut Squash

1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 pound spicy sausage (fresh chorizo, Italian, Andouille or otherwise)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cup parsley leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as desired
Flaky salt, as desired

Heat the oven to 425 degrees and stick a large baking sheet in the oven. Prep the squash and sausage: Cut the squash into ½-inch-thick slices, then cut the slices crosswise in half. Transfer to a large bowl. Score the sausages in a few places on both sides, making sure not to cut all the way through. Transfer to the bowl with the squash, then stir to coat with the olive oil and fat pinches of salt and pepper.

When the oven comes to temperature, carefully dump the squash and sausage mixture onto the hot baking sheet and spread it out into a single layer. Roast, stirring every so often to coat the squash in the rendered fat, until the squash is tender and sausages are crisp and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. (To add some color, put them under the broiler for a minute or two.) Let cool slightly while you prepare the parsley.

In a small bowl, mix together the parsley and lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Slice the sausage diagonally in thirds. Serve the sausage and squash on a platter with a pile of parsley on top and sprinkled with an extra squeeze of lemon and flaky salt, if desired.

Tip
The squash and sausage can be roasted 3 days in advance. Reheat in a low oven before serving.

Feel free to switch up the squash for carrots, broccoli, potatoes: Any vegetables that are good roasted will work well in that liquid gold. If the meal seems light, bulk it up by topping with a cup of feta or rinsed canned chickpeas, adding arugula or watercress to the parsley, or serving it all on a bed of kale or mustard greens, like a warm salad.

One-Pot Chicken and Rice

1/4 cup ghee (or use unsalted butter)
1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
6 green cardamom pods, crushed
3 whole star anise
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup sliced raw almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

In a medium saucepan with a lid, melt ghee over medium-high heat. Add onions, cardamom, star anise and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and a very deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, lowering heat if necessary to keep from burning them. Add garlic and turmeric; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until very fragrant. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes, stirring to coat chicken with the onion mixture.

Add stock and remaining salt, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Add rice, stir and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice has absorbed liquid, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 12 minutes. Remove lid and fluff rice with a fork.

Transfer chicken and rice to a bowl, taking care to remove and discard cardamom pods and star anise. Garnish with apricots, almonds and cilantro. Serve at once.

Pressure Cooker Polenta

Ingredients
1 cup polenta rough-ground cornmeal/
4 cups Chicken Broth
Salt
3-4 teaspoons Butter
1/2 cup Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
1/4 cup half and half

Turn Instant Pot on sauté and add the chicken broth and polenta and whisk together.

As soon as it starts to boil, place and seal the lid, and set your Instant Pot on high pressure for 7 minutes and allow it to release pressure naturally when done.

When you open the lid there will be some excess water in it. Using your whisk, blend in the butter, cheese, and half and half. The polenta will thicken as you whisk it all together. Allow it to rest for a little longer.

Pressure Cooker Polenta Cacio e Pepe

1 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces Pecorino and/or Parmesan, finely grated, plus more

Whisk polenta and 4 cups water in Instant Pot until combined. Season with 1 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high, whisk again, then seal pressure cooker according to manufacturer’s directions. Cook at high pressure for 9 minutes. When timer goes off, manually release pressure. Carefully open lid and whisk polenta until homogenous and creamy.

Whisk butter into polenta, then gradually add 4 oz. Pecorino, whisking until melted. Taste and season with more salt, if needed, and lots of pepper.

Transfer polenta to a wide shallow bowl. Top with more cheese and coarsely grind more pepper over.

Tomato Rice with Cheddar

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small Indian green chile or Serrano chile, finely chopped
10 plum tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups cooked basmati rice (from about 1 cup dry rice)
1 cup shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese

Adjust an oven rack to the highest position and heat the oven to 500 degrees.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and chile, spread them out in an even layer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent and starts to lightly char, 5 to 7 minutes.

Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes, using the back of a wooden spoon to lightly crush them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down into a chunky sauce, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the salt and remove from heat.

Stir in the cooked rice and transfer to an 8-inch square (or similar size) baking dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top in an even layer.

Switch the oven to broil and place the baking dish on the oven rack closest to the broiler. Broil until the top bubbles and turns golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 serrano chile with seeds, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
Salt
4 cups finely shredded green cabbage (from 1/2 small head)
2 carrots, finely shredded
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (from 1/2 chicken)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, water, chile and garlic and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the dressing stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the shallots on paper towels; reserve the oil for another use. Sprinkle the shallots with salt and let cool.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, red onion, cilantro, mint and shredded chicken. Add the olive oil and the dressing and toss. Sprinkle with the peanuts and fried shallots and serve the chicken salad with lime wedges.