Pesto all Trapanese (Sicilian Almond Pesto)

3 medium cloves garlic
Kosher salt
2 ounces toasted blanched almonds (60g; about 1/2 cup); see note
35 large basil leaves (about 4 sprigs, weighing 25g total)
2 to 4 mint leaves (optional)
3 1/2 ounces (100g) grated cheese, preferably a milder aged pecorino or a 50/50 mix of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 pound (450g) plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 pound (450g) linguine

If Using a Mortar and Pestle: Crush the garlic in the mortar with a pinch of salt to form a paste. Add almonds and beat and crush into a rough paste. Work in basil leaves and mint (if using), pounding and crushing into tiny bits. Smash in cheese, followed by tomatoes and olive oil. The final sauce should be a rough paste. Season with salt.

If Using a Food Processor: Pulse garlic with almonds until roughly chopped. Add basil, mint (if using), cheese, tomatoes, and olive oil and process to a rough paste. Season with salt.

Transfer two-thirds of the sauce to a large heatproof serving bowl.

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook linguine until al dente. Transfer pasta to serving bowl, reserving some of the pasta-cooking water. Toss well, adding more olive oil and pasta-cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time each, until a creamy sauce forms that’s not dry but also not soupy. Season with salt, if needed. If the sauce gets too dry at any point, simply add more pasta-cooking water to loosen it.

Serve, spooning remaining sauce on top of each portion and adding more cheese as desired.

Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or trimmed thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Steamed rice, for serving

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 4 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 3 minutes.

Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, 3 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, top with the sliced scallion and serve with rice.

Dhaba Chicken Curry

3 onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup tomato sauce
Four 6-ounce chicken breast halves on the bone, skinned
Salt
1 cup water
Garam masala, for sprinkling
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

In a food processor, chop the onions. Add the garlic and ginger and process until they are finely chopped.

In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the vegetable oil. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion mixture and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the turmeric and tomato sauce and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and add them to the casserole. Coat the chicken with the sauce. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, turning a few times, until the chicken is white throughout, about 10 minutes. Season the chicken curry with salt.

Transfer the chicken and sauce to a serving bowl. Sprinkle garam masala on top, garnish with the cilantro and serve.
Serve With

Basmati rice or naan.

Pasta alla Norma

1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces penne rigate or mezze rigatoni pasta
8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 ounces ricotta salata, shredded

Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the upper-middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1½ teaspoons salt and 4 tablespoons of the oil. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until browned and tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt; cook until the pasta is al dente. Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

While the eggplant roasts and the water heats, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 1½ teaspoons salt, then cover and cook, occasionally shaking the pan, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, about 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar, then use the back of a large spoon to crush the tomatoes. Cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring, until the mixture breaks down into a lightly thickened sauce, 8 to 9 minutes.

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl

Marinade:
1/4 cup stirred coconut milk (You will use the rest of a 14 oz./400 ml can in the stock flavouring below)
3 Tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
2 Tbsp sambal oelek
8 skin-on/bone-in chicken thighs

Stock:
2 cups Chicken stock
5 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
2 pieces large carrots, cut in to 4 pieces
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced

Stock flavouring:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
5 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup stirred coconut milk (or remainder of 14oz/400ml can)

To serve:
8 oz rice noodles
2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (or flat parsley) leaves
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, salted or unsalted
slices fresh lime
Sambal oelek

Marinate the chicken: In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup coconut milk, lemongrass and sambal oelek and stir to combine. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and discard. (Use a paper towel to grab an edge and pull off). Place thighs in a large plastic storage bag and pour in marinade, tossing to coat chicken. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 8 hours).

Once chicken has marinated, remove chicken from marinade (you can discard marinade), and place chicken in a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove-top. Add the stock ingredients – the chicken stock, garlic, carrots, onion and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low (just enough to maintain a slow simmer), COVER and allow to barely for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, checking once in a while to make sure it’s just barely simmering, until chicken falls apart easily.

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Place chicken and stock ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours. Proceed as detailed below.

Remove chicken from stock and set aside. Strain remaining broth, discarding the solids and returning the clear broth to the pot. Add the stock flavouring ingredients – the soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and coconut milk. Stir to combine. Keep stock warm over low heat.

Remove meat from chicken and discard bones. Shred chicken in to bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To serve: Divide noodles between serving bowls. Arrange sections on top of chicken, cucumber slices and peanuts. Garnish with green onion and cilantro. Pour 1/2 cup of the stock over-top of each bowl. Garnish with fresh lime slices and a dollop of Sambal Oelek in the middle for a little heat, if you’d like.

Vietnamese Meatball Lettuce Wraps

3 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
1 pound ground pork
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus sprigs, to serve
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 scallions, white and light green parts minced, dark green parts thinly sliced
5 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons white sugar, divided
1/2 cup lime juice
1-2 serrano chilies, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded (1 cup)
Lettuce leaves, to serve

Coat a large plate with 1 teaspoon of the oil; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, 3 tablespoons water, cilantro, pepper, minced scallions, 2 tablespoons of the fish sauce and the 2 teaspoons sugar.

Mix vigorously with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined, 20 to 30 seconds. The mixture will be soft and sticky. With lightly moistened hands, form the mixture into 20 balls and place them on the prepared plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, the 3 remaining tablespoons fish sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the chilies until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Line another plate with paper towels. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil until beginning to smoke. Add the meatballs and cook undisturbed until the bottoms are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a spatula, turn each meatball and continue to cook, adjusting the heat as needed and occasionally turning the meatballs, until golden brown all over, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, toss the shredded carrots with 2 tablespoons of the lime juice sauce. Serve the meatballs with the carrots, cilantro sprigs, sliced scallions and lettuce leaves for wrapping. The remaining sauce can be spooned onto the wraps.

Peanut Noodles

1 pound spaghetti or Chinese egg noodles
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, plus more for garnish
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Asian chili paste or to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons light or dark light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (may use natural peanut butter)
2 to 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (optional)
6 to 10 tablespoons hot water
Salt, as needed
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Cucumber slices
Carrot sticks
Red, orange or yellow bell pepper slices
Fresh cilantro or mint leaves

Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain it well. If a cold dish is desired, rinse the pasta under cold running water to cool, and drain again.

Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium-low heat, heat the peanut oil. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic and, if desired, chili paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar if desired and 6 tablespoons hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture smooths out.

Remove from the heat. If necessary, add additional hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency. Taste and add more soy sauce or salt, as needed.

Return the hot or cold noodles to the pot in which they were cooked, add the sesame oil and toss to coat. Add as much of the peanut sauce as desired and toss again to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates and sprinkle with additional scallions, sesame seeds, cucumber, carrot, bell pepper and cilantro or mint. (May cover and refrigerate up to several hours.)

Note: You can toss raw, julienne carrots and bell peppers or steamed snow peas and broccoli with the noodles and peanut sauce. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated and served with cooked rice and raw or cooked vegetables.

Chicken Fajitas

1 teaspoon pure chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 green bell pepper—cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
8 flour tortillas, warmed in the microwave
Shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream, for serving

In a resealable plastic bag, combine the chile powder with the salt, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cornstarch, water and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken, bell pepper and onion, seal and knead gently to coat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Empty the contents of the bag into the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a large bowl and serve with the warmed tortillas, lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream and lime wedges.

Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons sesame paste
2 tablespoons chili oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, de-boned and shredded
8 oz. mixed salad greens
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
Instructions

In a medium bowl, stir together the sesame paste, chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, scallions, and sesame seeds.

Add the chicken to a serving bowl, and spoon on some of the dressing.

Toss with the salad greens and herbs, and serve with any additional dressing on the side.

Quick Thai (or Holy) Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Krapow)

3 to 4 tablespoons oil
3 Thai bird or holland chilies, de-seeded (if desired) and thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound ground chicken
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth or water
1 bunch holy or Thai basil leaves

In a wok over high heat, add the oil, chilies, shallots and garlic, and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes, breaking up the chicken into small bits.

Add the sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir-fry for another minute and deglaze the pan with the broth. Because your pan is over high heat, the liquid should cook off very quickly. Add the basil, and stir-fry until wilted. Serve over rice.

Chicken with Nam Prik Pao

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and thinly sliced
5 scallions, sliced at an angle into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Thai Chili Sauce (Namprik Pao)
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Add the chicken to a bowl, along with the 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon oil. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until smoking. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, and the chicken. Stir-fry the chicken for 1-2 minutes, until well-seared.

Add the garlic, chilies (if using), bell pepper, scallions, chili sauce, and fish sauce. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes.

Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Dry-Fried Sichuan Beef

3 tablespoons oil
12 ounces flank steak, cut into ? inch thick strips
5 slices ginger, julienned
1 heaping tablespoon spicy bean sauce
1-2 stalks celery, julienned
1 small carrot, julienned
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
¾ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorn
A pinch of chili flakes (optional)
2 scallions, julienned

Heat the wok over high heat until it starts to smoke.

Add 1 tablespoon oil, and coat the wok before adding the beef. Immediately spread the beef in a single layer. (This step will prevent the beef from sticking to your wok.)

Brown the beef until the liquid cooks off and the meat is well-seared. This step should take about 2-3 minutes.

Remove the beef from the wok, and set aside.

Turn the heat down to low, and add 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok.

Crisp the ginger, and add the spicy bean sauce. Cook for about a minute until the oil turns red, adjusting the heat as needed to avoid burning.

Next, add the celery, carrot, and cooked beef. Turn the heat up to high, and stir to mix well.

Immediately add the Shaoxing wine, sugar, light soy sauce, sesame oil, ground Sichuan peppercorn, chili flakes (optional), and the scallions.

Stir quickly for about a minute and mix everything well.

Transfer to a dish and serve with plenty of rice! You’ll need it.

Avgolemono (Chicken Soup with Rice)

4 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked white rice, warmed
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled from the bones and coarsely shredded (1 pound)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

In a large saucepan, season the stock with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.

Transfer 1 cup of the hot stock to a blender.

Add 1/2 cup of the rice, the egg yolks and the lemon juice and puree until smooth.

Stir the puree into the simmering stock along with the chicken and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of rice and simmer until thickened slightly, 10 minutes.
Stir in the dill and serve.

Macaroni and Cheese with Crispy Topping

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound Colby cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the half-and-half and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add one-half of the Cheddar and Colby cheeses and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Stir in the mustard, nutmeg and cayenne; season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the elbow macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain very well. Return the macaroni to the pot. Add the cheese sauce and the remaining cheese and stir until combined. Spread the macaroni in the prepared baking dish.

Garlic and Cilantro Soup with Chickpeas (Acorda a Alentejana)

2 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (¼ cup), plus more to serve
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika, divided, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 ounces rustic bread (such as ciabatta), sliced ½ inch thick and torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
8 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
2 15 1/2 -ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 soft-cooked eggs, peeled (see note)

In a food processor, combine the cilantro, Parmesan, jalapeño, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon of the paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Process until finely chopped, about 20 seconds, scraping the sides as needed. With the machine running, add 1/2 cup of the oil and process to a pesto-like consistency, 30 to 45 seconds. Set aside.

In a small bowl, toss the bread with the remaining ¼ cup oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Toast in a large Dutch oven over medium, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, return the bread to the bowl, leaving excess oil in the pot; set the croutons aside.

Set the Dutch oven over medium and add the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth and chickpeas and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in the pureed cilantro mixture, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide the croutons among 4 serving bowls. Ladle in the soup and top each with 1 egg. Sprinkle with additional paprika and Parmesan.

Tip: Don’t skimp on the olive oil in this soup. The croutons absorb oil as they toast and the broth takes on a rich, creamy texture when the pesto is stirred in.

Meatloaf

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
Salt
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch cayenne
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons ketchup, plus more for glazing
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons crème fraîche (or whipped cream cheese)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Heat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has begun to soften and lightly caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and continue to cook until both the onion and garlic are soft and golden brown (be careful not to burn the garlic), about another 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients except for the eggs. Add a few good pinches of salt. Then mix it with two forks, combining thoroughly but not overmixing.

Gently stir in the eggs and the browned onions and garlic, mixing just until combined.

Gently shape the mixture into a rough football and nestle it snugly into a loaf pan, patting it down so the top is fairly flat. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes, then brush the top lightly with ketchup and return to the oven for 10 to 20 more minutes. The meatloaf is done when the internal temperature reaches about 145°F.

Let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Burmese Noodle Bowl

2 medium yellow onions
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (belachan)
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 14 oz can coconut milk
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 packet rice noodles
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced and fried to a crisp
3 eggs, boiled and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped fine
2 limes, quartered

Peel and chop the onions and garlic cloves into chunks. The size doesn’t matter as they are to be ground.

Place the onions, garlic, ginger, shrimp paste, and water in a blender or food processor. Pulse well till you have a smooth paste.

Clean and chop the chicken into bite size pieces. Wash well and drain.

Heat canola and sesame oils in a Dutch oven. Add the onion paste and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes to get the rawness out of the onions.

Add turmeric and chili powder. Stir to incorporate them into onion mix.

The chicken goes in next. Sauté the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring well to coat with spice mixture.

Add coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Stir well and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the flame, and let the soup come to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fill a large, deep saucepan with water and bring to a boil on a high flame. Add rice noodles to the boiling water. Take the saucepan off the heat and let rice noodles steep in water for 20 minutes. Drain well and keep aside.

Assemble the soup with a large helping of rice noodles in a soup bowl. Top with ladlefuls of soup. The noodles should swim in coconut broth.

Add pieces of chicken. Garnish with fried shallots, chopped egg, a sprinkling of chili powder, some cilantro, and a large squirt of lime juice.

Red Curry Chicken Noodle Soup

1/2 cup cilantro leaves with stems, loosely packed
1/4 cup water
1 medium shallot, roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
One 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder (or other milder chile powder)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 Thai chile, roughly chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
One 14 ounce can light coconut milk
One 14 1/2 ounce can chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup shredded, cooked chicken (preferably dark meat)
3-4 ounces thin dried Chinese egg noodles (or in a pinch, sub angel hair pasta)
Fresh cilantro, Thai basil, thinly sliced shallot, sliced thai chile, chile oil, and lime wedges for serving

In a food processor, combine the cilantro, water, shallot, garlic, ginger, chile powder, cumin, turmeric, and Thai chile (if using). Process until a paste is formed.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pot over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the paste and cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, lime juice, fish sauce, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the chicken and dried noodles, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are cooked.

Divide soup between three to four bowls and top with fresh cilantro, Thai basil, sliced shallot, sliced chiles, a drizzle of chile oil, and a lime wedge. Serve immediately.

Italian Pantry Soup

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for garnish
2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced fennel or celery
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 large thyme sprig
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 quarts/12 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
2 pounds medium-size starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds or russets, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks (or beans or lentils)
8 ounces kale or chard, stems removed, leaves sliced across into 1/2-inch ribbons (about 4 cups total)
1/2 pound dried pennette, orecchiette or other small pasta
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or marjoram, for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Other options: for example, more vegetables, like celery and carrot; some tomato, a little or a lot; bacon or pancetta or ham; or beef or chicken broth.

In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion, carrot and fennel, stir, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and golden, 5 to 10 minutes.

Adjust the heat to prevent vegetables from browning or scorching.
Stir in bay leaf, thyme sprig, garlic, paprika and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add broth, potatoes and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a brisk simmer. Cook until potatoes are cooked through but still firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Stir in kale and pasta and simmer another 10 minutes, or until greens are well cooked and pasta is done. (Soup can be made up to this point, without the pasta, cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with chopped rosemary and Parmesan. Drizzle each serving with a teaspoon of olive oil. Pass extra Parmesan at the table.

Classic Butter Chicken

The dish was created as a way to keep cooked/leftover tandoori chicken from drying out. In case you have not already made Tandoori Chicken (see related recipe), this recipe includes simple instructions for cooking the chicken. The result is not as good as if you make the proper Tandoori Chicken first, but it is simpler.

Serve with finely chopped cilantro, chopped green chile peppers, naan, rice and a good Indian chutney.

Make Ahead: The dish tastes even better after a day’s refrigeration; you may need to add a little cream or water to thin the sauce, which will thicken when once it’s chilled.

FOR THE CHICKEN
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (white and/or dark meat), cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder (may substitute a combination of 2 teaspoons paprika and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger root

FOR THE SAUCE
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, hulled and chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons peeled minced fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon bright red chili powder, such as Kashmiri chili powder (may substitute a combination of chili powder and paprika; see headnote)
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons salted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with cooking oil spray.

Combine the chicken meat with lime juice, chili powder, garam masala, salt, yogurt, garlic and ginger in a mixing bowl, then spread evenly over the baking sheet. Roast (middle rack) for 15 to 18 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the tomato; cook for 10 to 12 minutes.

Use a spatula to press the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer back into the pot, or puree with an immersion (stick) blender right in the pot. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chile powder, garam masala and cumin until well blended, then add the chicken, stirring to coat it with sauce. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, just until heated through.

Just before serving, add the butter. Once it has melted, stir in the cream, until well incorporated. Immediately remove from the heat; serve warm.