Penne with Roasted Eggplant, Chile, and Mint

1 and 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 4 medium), cut into 1-inch cubes
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
1 very large ripe tomato, cored and diced (1 and 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound dried penne
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 anchovy fillets
Large pinch chile flakes
2 tablespoons drained capers
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On rimmed baking sheet, toss together eggplant, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread into one layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until the eggplant is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Place tomato in large bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne to al dente according to package instructions; drain well.

While pasta cooks, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in garlic, anchovies and chile flakes, and cook until golden and soft, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and, using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to cutting board. Let garlic cool for a few minutes, then chop up and add back to the oil. Pour garlic-chile into bowl with tomatoes. Add eggplant and capers, and toss well.

Add pasta to bowl with eggplant and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste, and drizzle generously with oil. Toss in herbs and serve warm or at room temperature.

Cucumber Salad with Roasted Peanuts and Chili

6 Persian cucumbers (about 1 pound), cut lengthwise into thin spears, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1/4 cup salted, roasted peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 small garlic clove, grated
Chile oil, store-bought or homemade, for serving (optional)

Toss cucumbers with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Set aside to drain.
Chop peanuts, cilantro and red-pepper flakes together until very fine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Add up to 1 tablespoon water, if needed to thin mixture. Transfer salted cucumbers to the bowl with dressing and toss to coat.

Leek Risotto With Asparagus

FOR THE RISOTTO
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 large leek, cleaned and chopped (1 cup)
1 cup white arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine, such as chardonnay
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces grated pecorino-Romano cheese(3/4 cup), plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

FOR THE ASPARAGUS
8 ounces thin asparagus stalks, washed and dried; tough ends trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
For the risotto: Combine the broth and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. (You’ll gradually add this to the rice as it cooks.)

Switch gears for a moment to the asparagus: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle it with the oil and season with the salt and a few grinds of black pepper, then toss it all together with your hands until evenly coated. Pop it in the oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until fork-tender. Let the asparagus cool on the pan.

Meanwhile, let’s get that risotto going: Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped leek and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes, until the rice is starting to turn light brown. Pour in the wine (enjoy that pleasant sizzle!) and cook until that liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Now, here’s where you’ll start adding the hot liquid. Stir in one ladleful, along with the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add the next ladleful. Continue this way for about 12 minutes, adding the liquid and stirring it in, and then start tasting. You’re looking for grains that are creamy but have just a little bit of a bite in the center.

When the risotto is done, reduce the heat to low and add one more ladle of broth, the cheese and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto. (You may have just a little bit of unused broth left over: That’s okay. Save it for reheating leftovers.)

To serve, ladle the warm risotto onto plates. Use the lemon wedges to spritz the roasted asparagus with juice, then top each portion of the risotto with roasted asparagus. Garnish with the chopped parsley and additional cheese. Oh, and enjoy with the rest of the bottle of white wine.

Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachio Gremolata

1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh turmeric (from about three 3-inch pieces), or 1 teaspoon ground (or as needed to fully coat the florets)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
6 to 8 dates, such as Medjool, pitted and halved (or quartered if large)
1 large lemon (finely grated zest plus juice)
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted are ideal but roasted work too
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or to taste

Heat oven to 425°F.

Toss the cauliflower with the turmeric and olive oil on a sheet pan, season with salt, and arrange in a single, even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven.

Add the dates, toss everything together, and redistribute in a single, even layer. Continue roasting until the cauliflower is nicely browned and tender, and the dates and little bits of grated turmeric are starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes more.

Remove pan from oven, and squeeze half a lemon (zest it first—you’ll need it for the gremolata in Step 3!) over the whole dish; add more lemon juice and salt, to taste.

Meanwhile, to make the pistachio gremolata: Toast the pistachios in a small skillet over medium heat, until they’re fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and when cool enough, chop them into fine yet irregular pieces with a knife.

In a small bowl, toss together the pistachios, lemon zest, parsley, pomegranate arils, and Aleppo pepper; season with a pinch of salt.
Arrange the cauliflower and dates on a large serving platter, and scatter the pistachio gremolata over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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.

Thai Basil Chicken (Or Beef) with Noodles or Rice

OR THE SAUCE
1/3 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1/3 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Thai chili sauce, or more to taste
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger root

FOR THE CHICKEN (or beef)
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 to 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Ground white pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1 cup packed Thai basil leaves
2 to 3 Thai chile pepper (may substitute 1 small jalapeño chile pepper), stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced

For the sauce: Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

For the chicken: In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of the oil and the white pepper. Add the chicken and mix well; set aside.

Heat a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the remaining 1/4 to 1/2 cup oil and add the chicken mixture; stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and stir-fry for a few minutes; the onion will not soften thoroughly. Add the sauce, stir for 1 minute and turn off the heat. Add the basil and chili pepper, stirring to combine. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

This makes plenty of sauce and can be served with noodles.

Oi Muchim (Korean Marinated Cucumbers)

ngredients
4 Persian cucumbers (about 10 1/2 ounces; 300g), sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon (8g) coarse ground gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (5g) sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon (5ml) fish sauce
1 medium garlic clove (5g), very finely minced or grated
3 tablespoons (45ml) toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon (10g) toasted sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, gochugaru, salt, and sugar. Using clean hands, massage cucumbers, squeezing and tossing them with seasoning, until cucumber is well-coated on all sides and begins to release liquid and color of gochugaru brightens to vibrant orange-red, about 1 minute.

Transfer cucumbers to a colander, then set colander inside bowl used to season cucumbers. Cut a round of parchment paper large enough to cover surface of cucumbers, and place over cucumbers. Then place a weight on top of parchment to press down on cucumbers (canned goods, a cast iron skillet, a mixing bowl filled with water, or a Chef’s Press all make for good weights). Set aside to drain for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and garlic. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in sesame oil until emulsified.

Once cucumbers have drained, remove weight and discard parchment paper. Using clean hands, squeeze cucumbers to get rid of excess moisture, then transfer to bowl with dressing; discard accumulated cucumber liquid. Toss cucumbers with dressing until well-coated all over, about 30 seconds. Add sesame seeds and toss to combine. Divide between small individual serving bowls and serve, or transfer to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Cucumber Salad with Mustard Oil

1/2 cup (2 oz; 60g) raw hazelnuts or peanuts, skinned
2 English cucumbers (25 oz; 700g)
2 tablespoons (30ml) mustard oil
2 tablespoons (30ml) lime juice, from 1 lime
2 teaspoons (1/8 oz; 4g) red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

In a small dry saucepan, toast hazelnuts over medium-high heat, until they just start to brown and become fragrant, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to mortar and crush with pestle to form coarse powder. (Alternatively, use a spice grinder.)

Trim and discard ends of cucumbers. Cut each cucumber in half lengthwise and then into thin slices. Place sliced cucumbers in a medium mixing bowl.

Using a whisk or fork, thoroughly mix mustard oil and lime juice in small bowl and pour over cucumbers. Add toasted hazelnuts and pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Classic Cauliflower Cheese

1 medium to large cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Cheese Sauce:
4 Tbsp butter salted or unsalted
3-4 Tbsp all purpose flour *see Notes
1 cup milk at least 2% b.f.
1 cup whipping cream 35% b.f. ** see Notes
2 cups aged cheddar cheese grated, well packed
Pinch nutmeg grated or powdered
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Prepare and roast the cauliflower: Remove the stem leaves and core from the cauliflower and break off the florets into large chunks. (Not sure how to cut the cauliflower? Try my easy method details in the Cook’s Noes above). If you like, you can cut away most of the stalks and just use the florets or use it stalks and all. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, but not too small.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter onto a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender (test with a knife) and golden in spots. Remove from the oven, set aside and REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 400F.
Prepare the cheese sauce: Measure out your milk and cream in a 2-cup measuring cup and set aside. Grate your cheese and have ready.

In a large saucepan (you’ll be adding the cauliflower to it later, so make sure it’s big enough), melt the butter oven medium heat.

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, or as long as you feel you can without letting it scorch.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low. Pour in a small amount of the cream/milk and whisk until a smooth paste forms.

Add the remaining milk a bit at a time and whisk until smooth, until all the milk has been added. Cook sauce over medium-low heat and whisking regularly, until the sauce noticeably thickens.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Let stand without stirring for about 2 minutes, then stir together. The cheese should have all melted in to the sauce. If by chance it hasn’t, you can return the pot to the burner over low heat to finish the melting.

Add the nutmeg and stir in. Taste the sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to completely coat the cauliflower. Spoon the cauliflower cheese mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet (to catch any bubble overs).

Place into the preheated 400F and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and deep golden on top. Let stand a few minutes before serving, to allow the sauce to set up a bit.

Notes: If using heavy cream, you should be good with 3 Tbsp of flour. If using a lighter cream, whole milk or you’re using cream, but want a thicker sauce, go with the 4 Tbsp of flour.
** Heavy whipping cream will produce the best results, but if you prefer, you could use a lighter cream, such as table cream (18% b.f) or half and half cream (10% b.f.)

Roast the cauliflower just until tender with just a few golden spots. Test it with a knife to be sure it’s tender, then remove. You don’t want to roast all of the moisture out of it.

Add the milk/cream mixture in small increments (a scant 1/4 cup-ish at a time), to ensure a smooth sauce.

Be sure to properly season your dish, starting with seasoning the cauliflower before roasting and ending with tasting and seasoning the cheese sauce at the end of cooking it on the stove-top, to really bring out the flavours.

Turning off the heat under your pot (or removing it from the burner if you have an electric stovetop) immediately after adding the cheese helps to ensure a smooth and creamy sauce, as the cheese is allowed to melt slowly from the residual heat in the sauce.

Fish-Fragrant Eggplant

1 pound 5 ounces (600g) eggplants (1–2 large)
Salt
Cooking oil, for deep-frying
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan chile bean paste
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
10 tablespoons (150ml) hot stock or water
4 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese light soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon potato starch, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
6 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens

Cut the eggplants into batons about 3/4 inch (2cm) thick and 2 3/4 inches (7cm) long. Sprinkle with salt, mix well and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Rinse the eggplant, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the deep-frying oil to around 390°F (200°C) (hot enough to sizzle vigorously around a test piece of eggplant). Add the eggplant, in two or three batches, and deep-fry for about 3 minutes, until tender and a little golden. Drain well on paper towels and set aside.

Carefully pour off all but 3 tablespoons oil from the wok and return to medium heat. Add the chile bean paste and stir-fry until the oil is red and fragrant: take care not to burn the paste (move the wok away from the burner if you think it might be overheating). Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until they smell delicious.

Tip in the stock or water, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then add the eggplant, nudging the batons gently into the sauce so they do not break apart. Simmer for a minute or so to allow the eggplant to absorb the flavors.

Give the potato starch mixture a stir and add it gradually, in about three stages, adding just enough to thicken the sauce to a luxurious gravy (you probably won’t need it all). Tip in the vinegar and all but 1 tablespoon of the scallion greens, then stir for a few seconds to fuse the flavors.

Turn out onto a serving dish, scatter over the remaining scallion greens and serve.

Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup

5 ears yellow or bicolor corn (or 5 cups frozen corn kernels)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 serrano chile (or other chile), minced
2 small red potatoes (6 to 8 ounces total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 1/2 cups of hot water whisked with 1 1/2 teaspoons jarred bouillon)
1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
Kosher salt, to season
Torn cilantro leaves, toasted coconut flakes, chopped roasted peanuts, crispy fried shallots, lime wedges and more sliced Serrano chiles, to serve (optional)

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and transfer to a bowl. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape the cobs so that all of the milky juices collect in the bowl and the cobs look completely dry, like wrung-out sponges. Set aside. (If using frozen kernels, skip this step.)

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, ginger and chile, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add corn kernels and juices to the pot, and sauté until the corn is softer and brighter, about 3 minutes more.

Add potato pieces, and stir to coat, 1 to 2 minutes.

Now, pour in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender all the way through.

Use an immersion blender to roughly purée the soup, so that it’s creamy with some kernels of corn, chunks of potato, and chile flecks remaining. (Alternatively, ladle about half of the soup into a blender, blend until smooth, and return to the pot.) Season with lime juice and salt, and mix to combine. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with toppings of your choice.

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.

Modern Pasta Alla Norma

Kosher salt
10 ounces mezzi rigatoni or rigatoni
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Black pepper
3 ounces prosciutto, roughly chopped into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 fresno or serrano chile, seeded, if you like, and thinly sliced into rings
1 1/2 pounds Sun Gold, cherry or grape tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and mint
Flaky salt, for serving (optional)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a large rimmed sheet pan, toss the eggplant with ¼ cup olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread everything evenly in one layer and roast until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure even browning.

While the eggplant roasts, make your sauce: In a deep, 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to crisp and brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the shallot, garlic and chile to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot has softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they start to burst, pressing the tomatoes gently down with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon to help them along, 5 to 7 minutes. You want some of them to collapse and some to maintain their structure. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices and season with salt and pepper. Simmer while the eggplant finishes roasting, about 15 minutes more. If the sauce appears dry, add ¼ cup pasta water.

While you’re making the sauce, bring a large pot of well-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 pasta.

When the eggplant is done, add it to the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss until everything is well coated with sauce, adding more pasta water if needed. Stir in the mozzarella and toss until it begins to melt.

Serve in the skillet or in bowls and top each portion with crispy prosciutto and fresh herbs. Season with flaky salt, if using.

Pasta with Seared Scallops and Cherry Tomatoes

Kosher salt
1 pound linguine fini or other long, thin pasta
1 pound large sea scallops, patted dry
Black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1 1/4 pounds Sun Gold, cherry or grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped mixed herbs, such as tarragon, mint, parsley and chives, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (2 heaping tablespoons kosher salt to about 7 quarts water) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

Season the scallops well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high until very hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, add the scallops (working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, if necessary) and cook until golden brown and crisp, flipping once, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm while you make the sauce.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add the shallots and cook until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to burst, 5 to 7 minutes. Add about 1/3 cup reserved pasta water and press the tomatoes gently with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon to get them nice and jammy. Stir in the garlic and red-pepper flakes, if using, and cook, allowing the sauce to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta, 1 ½ cups herbs and ¼ cup reserved pasta water and toss to coat, adding additional pasta water if needed. Divide the pasta among shallow bowls and top with scallops. Garnish with additional herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Butter Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes

Beans

Handful of oregano sprigs
Handful of thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
8 oz. dried butter beans, rinsed, soaked overnight if possible
1 medium onion, halved
1 large carrot, scrubbed, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Vinaigrette and Assembly

10 oz. cherry tomatoes or 1½ cups chopped heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
? cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
2 lb. assorted heirloom, beefsteak, and/or cherry tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of basil leaves
Mild red pepper flakes (such as Aleppo-style or Maras)

Beans:

Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with kitchen twine. Combine beans, onion, carrot, and herbs in a medium pot. Pour in water to cover beans by about 4″ and bring to a very gentle simmer over medium-high heat.

Immediately reduce heat and cook at the barest of simmers, stirring hardly at all, until beans are creamy and tender at the center but not falling apart or mushy, about 1 1/2 hours (this could take longer, depending on the beans). The key is to not agitate, which will help the beans maintain their shape.

Remove pot from heat; season beans aggressively with salt.

Gently stir in oil. Let cool. Drain beans; discard onion, carrot, and herbs.

Do Ahead: Beans can be made 2 days ahead. Keep in liquid; cover and chill.

Vinaigrette and Assembly:

Purée cherry tomatoes in a blender. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in garlic, vinegar, and ? cup oil; season with salt. Let sit 15–20 minutes, then pluck out garlic.

Transfer drained beans to a medium bowl and add vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Slice, halve, or quarter heirloom tomatoes and arrange on a platter or divide among individual plates. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Spoon beans along with plenty of vinaigrette over; top with basil and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

Green Summer Mole with Tomatillos and Pistachios

FOR THE SQUASH:
3 to 4 zucchini or any variety of summer squashes, cut into 1-inch pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper

FOR THE MOLE:
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 small white onion, roughly chopped
1 small garlic clove, sliced
1 poblano chile, sliced
1 güero chile, banana pepper or New Mexico yellow chile, sliced
1 cup finely diced tomatillos
1 cup roasted shelled pistachios
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 fresh or dried hoja santa leaves
1/2 cup baby spinach

FOR SERVING:
1 cup assorted greens, such as cilantro leaves, amaranth leaves or purslane
2 cups cooked white rice
Corn tortillas

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast until lightly brown, about 15 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the mole: In a pot, heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chiles and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatillos and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add ? cup water and the pistachios and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender along with the cilantro, hoja santa and spinach. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Serve the mole warm, with the roasted zucchini. Top with greens and serve rice and tortillas alongside.

Tip
Leftover mole can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. To reheat, add a bit of water and warm in a pot over medium heat.

Miso Roasted Eggplant

Small japanese eggplants
Neutral flavored oil
White miso
Sesame oil
Rice wine
Soy sauce
Black pepper
Sesame seeds

Grab some small eggplants — the Japanese variety is a good option — and cut them on the bias into little steaks.

Drizzle them with neutral oil and roast in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or so, turning them once or twice, until they’re soft.

Then crank the oven to broil, and paint them with white miso that’s been cut with splashes of sesame oil and rice wine, a smaller splash of soy and a few grinds of black pepper.

Let that get going until the skin begins to pop, then serve those little vegetarian flavor steaks over rice, with a spray of sesame seeds over the top.

Ginger Beef with Peppers and Bok Choy

1 lb (450 g) flank steak cut to 1/2-inch thick strips
1/3 cup cornstarch

Marinade
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauce
1/3 cup broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Beef and stir-fry
1/3 cup peanut oil
3 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 thumb ginger, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 baby bok choy, quartered

Beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sliced beef, vegetable oil, and salt. Mix well and let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.

Combine everything for the sauce in a big bowl and mix well.

When you’re ready to cook, add the cornstarch. Stir to coat the beef, until it forms an uneven coating with a little dry cornstarch left unattached.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet (or a cast iron paover medium-high heat until hot. Add the beef and spread it into a single layer in the skillet. Separate the beef pieces with a pair of tongs or chopsticks.

Cook without touching the beef for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottom turns golden. Flip to brown the other side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the beef to a big plate and remove the pan from the stove. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

Place the pan back onto the stove and turn to medium heat. You should still have 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan. If not, add more.

Add the green onion, ginger, and garlic. Stir a few times to release the fragrance.
Add the bell pepper and baby bok choy. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely. Pour into the pan. Stir and cook until it thickens a bit.
Add back the beef pieces. Stir to coat the beef with sauce.

Transfer everything to a plate immediately and garnish with roasted sesame seeds, if using.

Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Pork Chops with Salted Plums

2 bone-in pork chops (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch thick, about 1 1/2 pounds total)
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1 pound medium plums, pitted and sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar or fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Olive oil, for drizzling

Season pork with salt and pepper; set aside.

Combine the plums and onion in a medium bowl along with vinegar and fish sauce, if using. Season with salt and pepper and try a plum; they should be relatively tangy and salty. Add more vinegar or salt, if needed, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook, without moving, until well browned on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip chops and cook until well browned on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer pork chops to a cutting board to rest. Add plum and onion mixture to the skillet and remove from heat. Give everything a toss, just to deglaze the skillet and scrape up any of those browned bits, slightly wilting the onion and letting some of those plum juices run free.

Slice pork chops to your desired thickness and transfer to a large serving platter. Scatter with plum mixture, top with mint and give everything a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Triple-Cheese Cheesecake with Amaretti Crust

AMARETTI CRUST
3 ounces amaretti cookies (about 20)
2 ounces honey graham crackers (about 4 whole crackers), coarsely crushed
Pinch of kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CHEESECAKE
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

HONEYED APRICOTS
3/4 cup honey
Three 3-inch rosemary sprigs
6 ounces dried California apricots

Step 1: make the crust
Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a food processor, pulse the amaretti with the graham crackers and salt until finely ground.

Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter.

Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and halfway up the side of an 8-inch springform pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is set. Cool on a rack.

Step 2: make the cheesecake
In a microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form; refrigerate.

Step 3: make the cheesecake
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the mascarpone and lemon juice.

Step 4: make the cheesecake
Microwave the gelatin until melted, 5 seconds; scrape into the cream cheese mixture and beat until incorporated.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the surface. Refrigerate the cake until firm and set, 3 hours.

Step 5: make the honeyed apricots
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey with 3 cups of water and the rosemary.

Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey is dissolved.

Add the apricots and simmer until tender, 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a bowl. Boil the rosemary syrup until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain the syrup over the apricots and let cool.

Step 6: make the honeyed apricots
Unmold the cheesecake and serve with the honeyed apricots.