Moussaka

Eggplant and Lamb

8 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped mint, divided
2 tablespoons chopped oregano, divided
3 medium eggplants (about 3½ pounds total), sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
2 pounds ground lamb
2 medium onions, chopped
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 Fresno chiles, finely chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

Béchamel and Assembly

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/3 cups whole milk, warmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces farmer cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
2 ounces Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated (about 1¾ cups), divided
3 large egg yolks, beaten to blend

Eggplant and Lamb

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 475°. Whisk half of the garlic, ½ cup oil, 1 Tbsp. mint, and 1 Tbsp. oregano in a small bowl. Brush both sides of eggplant rounds with herb oil, making sure to get all the herbs and garlic onto eggplant; season with salt and pepper. Transfer eggplant to a rimmed baking sheet (it’s okay to pile the rounds on top of each other) and roast until tender and browned, 35–45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large wide pot over high. Cook lamb, breaking up with a spoon, until browned on all sides and cooked through and liquid from meat is evaporated (there will be a lot of rendered fat), 12–16 minutes. Strain fat through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean small bowl and transfer lamb to a medium bowl. Reserve 3 Tbsp. lamb fat; discard remaining fat.

Heat 2 Tbsp. lamb fat in same pot over medium-high (reserve remaining 1 Tbsp. lamb fat for assembling the moussaka). Add onion, cinnamon, 2½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and translucent, 8–10 minutes. Add chiles and remaining garlic and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and tomato paste and cook until brick red in color, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and no longer smells of alcohol, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon into small pieces (the seeds will shoot out at you if you’re too aggressive, so start slowly—puncture the tomato, then get your smash and break on!). Add lamb and remaining 1 Tbsp. mint and 1 Tbsp. oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated and mixture looks like a thick meat sauce, 5–7 minutes. Pluck out and discard cinnamon stick.

Béchamel and Assembly

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium until foaming. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in warm milk and bring sauce to a boil. Cook béchamel, whisking often, until very thick (it should have the consistency of pudding), about 5 minutes; stir in salt. Remove from heat and whisk in farmer cheese and half of the Pecorino. Let sit 10 minutes for cheese to melt, then add egg yolks and vigorously whisk until combined and béchamel is golden yellow.

Brush a 13×9″ baking pan with remaining 1 Tbsp. lamb fat. Layer half of eggplant in pan, covering the bottom entirely. Spread half of lamb mixture over eggplant in an even layer. Repeat with remaining eggplant and lamb to make another layer of each. Top with béchamel and smooth surface; sprinkle with remaining Pecorino.

Bake moussaka until bubbling vigorously and béchamel is browned in spots, 30–45 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.

Do Ahead: Moussaka can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating in a 250° oven until warmed through, about 1 hour.

Source: Bon Appetit

Cassoulet

Duck Confit:
6 duck legs
6 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 3 Tbsp. plus 2½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
4 sprigs thyme
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. juniper berries (optional)

Beans:
2 whole cloves
1 large onion, peeled, halved through root end
1 1/2 lb. dried Tarbais, corona, or cannellini beans, soaked overnight, drained
8 oz. pancetta (leave in 1 thick piece)
2 carrots, scrubbed, halved crosswise if large
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt

Pork Ragù:

1 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 1″ pieces
1 1/2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
Assembly

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 lb. fresh pork sausage (such as Toulouse, sweet Italian, or unsmoked kielbasa)
3 cups medium-fine fresh breadcrumbs, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise
1 lb. precooked garlic sausage, sliced crosswise ¼” thick (optional)

Two Days Ahead

Cure Duck Legs

Prick skin on duck legs all over with the tip of a paring knife. Rub legs with salt, making sure to massage into flesh and skin.

Place legs in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto legs. Rest a plate on top of legs and weigh down with several 28-oz. cans. Chill at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

Note: If you’re going to cook the beans and ragout and combine tomorrow, soak the beans tonight. If not, just remember to soak them the day before you want to cook them.
One Day Ahead

Confit Duck Legs

Preheat oven to 250°. Evenly scatter thyme, garlic, peppercorns, and juniper berries (if using) across a large baking dish or roasting pan and add 2 Tbsp. water.

Remove duck legs from bowl. Rinse off salt and arrange legs, skin side down, over aromatics in baking dish. Cover dish tightly with foil and weigh down with a cast-iron skillet or a heavy baking dish. Bake until fat renders out of duck and legs are submerged, about 2 hours.

Carefully remove baking dish from oven and remove skillet and foil. Turn legs skin side up and nestle back into fat. Cover dish again with foil and continue to cook legs, unweighted, until duck meat is very tender and bones wiggle easily in joints, 2–2½ hours longer.

Let legs cool in fat until you can handle them, then transfer with tongs or a spider to a plate. Strain ¼ cup fat through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and let cool. Cover and set aside for cooking the breadcrumbs. Strain remaining fat into an airtight container; cover and reserve for another use (like roasting potatoes).

Remove skin from legs, trying to keep as intact as possible; transfer skin to an airtight container. Cover and chill. Pull duck meat from bones, tearing into 2″ pieces; discard bones and cartilage. Place meat in another airtight container; cover and chill. You won’t need the skin, meat, or fat until you’re ready to assemble the cassoulet.

Do Ahead: Duck legs can be confited 3 weeks ahead. Transfer legs to a large nonreactive vessel; strain fat through a fine-mesh sieve over meat. Cover and chill. Let come to room temperature before using. Meat and skin can be prepared 3 days ahead; keep chilled.
Cook the Beans

Stick a clove into each onion half. Place in a large pot along with beans, pancetta, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf; pour in cold water to cover beans by 2″. Season with several grinds of pepper and bring to a gentle simmer. Partially cover pot and cook beans, skimming surface occasionally and adding more water as needed to keep beans submerged and seasoning with a couple of pinches of salt after about 30 minutes, until beans are tender but not falling apart, 45–60 minutes for cannellini and 1–1½ hours for Tarbais or corona. Remove pot from heat; pluck out and discard onion, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Transfer pancetta to a cutting board; let cool slightly, then cut into 1x¼” pieces. Add back to pot and let mixture cool.

Cook Ragout

Meanwhile, sprinkle pork with 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt and several grinds of pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Working in 2 batches, cook pork, turning once, until browned all over, 10–12 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate as you go.

Reduce heat to medium and place onion, carrot, and garlic in pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 8–10 minutes. Return pork to pot and add thyme, bay leaf, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover pot, and simmer gently, skimming fat occasionally, until meat is fork-tender, 1¾–2 hours. Pluck out and discard thyme and bay leaf. Let ragout cool slightly.

Combine Beans and Ragout

Using a slotted spoon, transfer bean mixture to pot with ragout. Add enough cooking liquid from beans just to cover. Pour remaining bean cooking liquid into an airtight container and chill; you may need it for finishing the cassoulet later. Let ragout mixture cool completely, then cover and chill at least 12 hours.

Do Ahead: Ragout and beans can be combined 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
The Day Of

Temper and Season Ragout Mixture

Remove ragout mixture from refrigerator and skim fat from surface; discard. Cover pot and bring ragout to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Taste and season conservatively with salt and pepper if needed (the duck will add considerable saltiness when mixed in).

Prepare Sausage and Breadcrumbs

Remove reserved duck meat and skin from refrigerator. Let meat come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, arrange skin in a single layer in an 8-qt. Dutch oven or other heavy pot (the same one you’ll cook the cassoulet in). Cook over low heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 20–30 minutes. Using tongs, transfer skin to paper towels and blot away excess fat.

Prick pork sausages all over with a fork and cook in fat in same pot, turning occasionally, until browned all over and cooked through, 12–15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Cut into 2″ pieces.

Add breadcrumbs to pot and cook, stirring often, until golden in spots and starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. If breadcrumbs seem very dry or are sticking to the pot, add 1–2 Tbsp. reserved duck fat. Transfer breadcrumbs to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add parsley and toss to combine. Wipe out pot and let cool.

Layer Cassoulet

Rub inside of cooled pot with cut sides of garlic; ladle in one-third of ragout mixture. Top with half of pork sausage, garlic sausage, and duck meat, then another third of ragout mixture. Top with remaining duck meat and sausages, then remaining ragout mixture. Liquid should come to top of beans. Add reserved bean cooking liquid if needed.

Do Ahead: Cassoulet can be assembled 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before proceeding. Store breadcrumbs and duck skin separately airtight at room temperature.
Bake Cassoulet

Preheat oven to 375°. Scatter two-thirds of breadcrumb mixture over cassoulet.

Bake, uncovered, until a golden crust forms, 25–30 minutes. Remove from oven and use a spoon to break up crust, pressing very gently so crust absorbs a little liquid; smooth surface. Bake until another crust forms, 25–30 minutes; break up again. Repeat process 2 more times (for a total of 4 times). If mixture starts to look dry, moisten with a bit of reserved bean cooking liquid when breaking up the crust.

Top cassoulet with remaining breadcrumb mixture; bake until golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Let rest at least 25 minutes before serving.

Divide cassoulet among bowls; crumble duck skin over.

Source: Bon Appetit

Duck Breasts in Muscat and Orange Juice

1 cup Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise or ruby port
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Four 6-ounce boneless duck breasts, fat trimmed to 1/8 inch thick and scored
1 1/2 cups Enriched Chicken Stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large baking dish, mix the Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise with the orange juice, soy sauce, lime juice and olive oil. Add the duck breasts and marinate for 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove the duck breasts from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Pour the marinade into a medium saucepan and add the Enriched Chicken Stock. Boil over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup and syrupy, about 35 minutes.

Heat a large nonstick skillet. Add the duck breasts skin side down and season with salt and pepper. Cook the breasts over moderate heat until the skin is very crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn the breasts, cover and cook until the meat is rare, about 3 minutes. Transfer the breasts to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice the duck crosswise 1/4 inch thick and arrange on plates. Pass the sauce at the table.

Horseradish-Crusted Roast Beef

One 6-pound sirloin tip roast, preferably grass-fed, tied
1/2 cup prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375°. Set a rack in a large, deep roasting pan and place the beef roast on the rack.

In a small bowl, blend the horseradish with the salt, Dijon mustard, chopped parsley, ground pepper, sugar and sherry vinegar to form a paste. Slather the paste all over the top and sides of the meat. Roast in the lower third of the oven for about 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast registers 125°. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Discard the string and thinly slice the roast beef across the grain. Transfer the meat to a platter and serve.

Serve with mashed potatoes

Make Ahead:

The unsliced roast beef can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The sliced roast beef can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight.

Prime Rib Roast with Sage Jus

One 14-pound prime rib bone-in roast, tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
20 large sage sprigs
20 large thyme sprigs
8 bay leaves
8 shallots, peeled and halved
1 head garlic, cloves crushed, plus 4 cloves thinly sliced
2 cups water
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons freshly cracked black peppercorns
1 cup dry red wine
5 cups beef stock or low-sodium broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 400°. Set the meat in a large roasting pan, fat side up. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Around the roast, scatter 10 sprigs each of sage and thyme, 6 of the bay leaves, the shallots and the crushed garlic cloves. Pour in 1 cup of the water and roast for 45 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 275°. Roast the meat for about 2 hours and 15 minutes longer, adding the remaining 1 cup of water to the pan as the juices evaporate. The roast is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 135°.

Transfer the roast to a large carving board. Pour the fat in the roasting pan into a large heatproof bowl, stopping when you reach the syrupy pan juices at the bottom. Pour the pan juices into a small bowl and discard the vegetables and herbs.

Set the pan over 2 burners and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved fat. Add the onion, peppercorns and the sliced garlic, remaining 2 bay leaves and 10 sprigs each of sage and thyme. Cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the beef stock and pan juices and cook over moderate heat until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 2 tablespoons of the reserved fat. Whisk the paste into the saucepan and simmer the gravy until thickened, about 5 minutes. Strain the gravy through a fine sieve and keep warm until ready to serve.

Cut the bones off the roast and slice the meat 1/2 inch thick. Cut in between the bones and serve them on the side. Pass the gravy at the table.

Prime Rib Roast with Coffee Rub

1/3 cup finely ground coffee
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
One 12-pound, bone-in prime rib roast (5 bones)

In a bowl, thoroughly blend the coffee with the salt, pepper and vanilla bean seeds. Set the rib roast in a roasting pan and rub it all over with the coffee mixture, concentrating most of the rub on the fatty part of the meat. Turn the roast bone side down and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the meat for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and roast for about 2 1/2 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 125° for medium-rare.

Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Scrape off any excess coffee rub. Carve the meat in 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.

Make Ahead: The coffee-rubbed roast can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before roasting.

Standing Pork Rib Roast with Cracklings

One 8-rib pork loin roast with skin (about 5 1/2 pounds)—ribs frenched, skin scored at 1/2-inch intervals and tied
1/2 cup kosher salt

Place the pork loin on a rimmed baking sheet. Season generously all over with 1/4 cup of the salt, then sprinkle the skin with the remaining 1/4 cup of salt to create a thin layer of salt over it; be sure to push the salt into the crevices in the skin at each score. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.

Let the pork stand at room temperature for 3 hours. ?Preheat the oven to 275°. Set ?a rack in a large roasting pan. Using a damp towel, brush the excess salt off the roast, then transfer to the pan skin side up. Bake for about 1 hour and ?30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 115°.

Increase the heat to 450° and continue to roast for about 50 minutes longer, until the skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 135°. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the ties. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the meat and serve.

Roast Beef with Chilies and Arugula

ROAST BEEF
One 4-pound dry-aged sirloin roast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

HOT SAUCE
1/2 pound red fresno or red jalapeño chiles—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 up water
2 tablespoons kosher salt

GARNISHES
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup very thinly sliced garlic cloves (sliced on a mandoline)
Canola oil, for frying
Kosher salt
2 cups baby arugula
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzle
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper

Set the roast on a baking sheet and rub it all over with the salt and pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat a large cast-iron skillet. Cook the roast, fat side down, over moderately high heat until well browned, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking, turning, until the meat is browned all over, about 5 minutes. Turn the meat fat side up and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 125° for medium rare. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the hot sauce. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Strain into a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring the milk and garlic just to a boil. Drain the garlic and pat the slices dry on paper towels. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of canola oil to 275°. Working in 2 batches, fry the garlic, stirring, until light golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and let cool.

Spread the arugula on a platter. Thinly slice the roast and arrange on the arugula. Drizzle a little hot sauce and olive oil over the meat and garnish with the garlic chips and scallions. Season with salt and pepper and serve the remaining hot sauce at the table.

The hot sauce can be refrigerated for 1 week. The garlic chips can be stored for 1 day in an airtight container.

Baked Pasta with Cheddar and Spiced Onions

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 large bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne, plus more to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed
3 fat garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
1 pound small pasta, such as rotini or shells
3/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro (or use a combination of cilantro and parsley), plus more for serving
8 ounces shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add onions and bay leaf, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned in spots, 12 to 20 minutes. (Reduce heat if the pan starts to scorch.) Lower heat to medium, and stir in coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 more minute. Transfer half the onions to a bowl and reserve (leave the bay leaf in the skillet).

Add garlic, cumin seeds, pepper and allspice to the skillet, and stir. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the juice from the canned tomatoes. Use your hands or kitchen scissors to squish or cut the tomatoes into pieces and add to pan. Fill the empty tomato can with water, and pour into the skillet. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste, and add more salt and cayenne if you like. Remove bay leaf.

As mixture cooks, heat oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just about 2 minutes shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, and drain pasta.

Stir pasta, reserved pasta water, and parsley into skillet with tomato sauce. Top with reserved browned onions, Cheddar and Parmesan. Transfer to oven and bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. If you like, you can run the pan under the broil to brown the top, or leave it as is. Let cool slightly, top with more parsley, if desired, and serve with hot sauce, if you like.

Risotto with Sausage and Parsley

1 1/2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 to 6 cups chicken stock, ideally homemade
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup packed and roughly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 of 1 lemon
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

With the tip of a small, sharp knife, slit open the sausage casings. Crumble the meat into a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, and set over medium heat. If the meat is not rendering enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan as it begins to cook, add olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the meat is frying gently, not steaming. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the sausage, and cook, breaking up any large chunks of sausage and stirring occasionally, until the meat is opaque and crisp at the edges, approximately 10 minutes. Remove sausage from pan, and reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat.

Pour the stock into a medium saucepan or pot, and bring to a low simmer.

While the stock heats, return the heavy skillet or Dutch oven to medium-low heat, and add to it the 1 tablespoon reserved sausage fat and 1 tablespoon butter, or 2 tablespoons butter if you don’t want to cook with the sausage fat.

When the butter foams, add the diced onion, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it is soft and translucent, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the rice, and stir until well coated, adding another tablespoon of fat if necessary. Stir until translucent, an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Raise the heat under the rice to medium, and add the wine to the skillet. Stir until wine is absorbed, then reduce the heat slightly.

Begin adding ladlefuls of hot broth to the rice, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. Cook rice until it is tender but slightly chewy, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. You may not need all the broth. You may need more than you have; if additional liquid is needed, you can use boiling water.

Remove the skillet from heat, and add the cheese, stirring to mix it into the rice. Add the sausage to the rice, and stir again. Taste, and adjust seasonings with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Squeeze the lemon over the rice, and then mound the risotto on a large, warmed bowl. Scatter the parsley over the top, and serve immediately, with more grated Parmesan on the side

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

FOR THE MACARONI AND CHEESE:
1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon smoked or hot paprika
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar cheese, grated
12 ounces fontina or Gruyère, grated

FOR THE TOPPING (OPTIONAL):
1 cup coarse bread crumbs or panko
4 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until it’s barely al dente. (It should be more al dente than your average pasta: It’s going to continue to cook in the oven.) Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium pot over medium heat. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is foamy and just starting to turn a light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk to avoid clumping. Add garlic, paprika and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly and paying special attention to the edges of the pot to make sure the flour mixture is totally incorporated.

Add grated cheese and whisk to blend until the cheese is completely melted. (The sauce will seem thick at first and thin out as the cheese melts; it will thicken while it bakes.) Season with salt and pepper and add cooked pasta, stirring to coat well.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (to catch any cheesy drips).

Make the optional topping: Combine bread crumbs, melted butter and Parmesan, if using, in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using your hands, mix well to ensure the bread crumbs are evenly coated.

Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to a 3-quart or 9 x 13 baking dish and scatter bread crumbs, if using, evenly over the top. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until macaroni and cheese is bubbling, thickened and creamy, and bread crumbs are evenly golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar, grated
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until just barely al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, bring milk up to a simmer in a large pot. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese, and whisk until it’s completely blended and no lumps remain. Add Cheddar cheese and butter, whisking until everything is completely melted. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened and is coating each piece of pasta nicely, 2 to 3 minutes; sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Season again with more salt and pepper before serving.

Ham and Cheese Scones

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced ham, bacob, or pancetta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in buttermilk, cheese, ham and chives until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pill, roll the dough into an 8? circle, about 1-inch thick, and cut into 8 wedges.

Place scones onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

Borlotti Beans over Polenta

TOMATO SAUCE:
3 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION, chopped
1 MEDIUM FENNEL BULB, trimmed and chopped
3 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
4 TEASPOONS CHOPPED FRESH OREGANO
1/4 TEASPOON RED PEPPER FLAKES
SALT
1 SMALL CARROT, peeled and shredded
ONE 28-OUNCE CAN WHOLE SAN MARZANO TOMATOES or plum tomatoes
FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
2 CUPS DRAINED, COOKED BORLOTTI BEANS
1/3 CUP CHOPPED FRESH FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY

POLENTA:
4 CUPS WATER
1 TEASPOON SALT
1 CUP POLENTA
2 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
1/2 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE, plus more for garnishing
FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Optional: cooked Italian sausage, to serve on top of the finished dish.

For a streamlined process,make the tomato sauce and the beans ahead and heat them together while you cook the polenta.

Make the sauce: In a small Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the onion, the fennel, the garlic, 2 teaspoons of the oregano, the red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add the carrot and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, stirring to break them up with a wooden spoon. Add another pinch of salt.

Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, at the barest simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are reduced and beginning to separate from the oil, at least 2 hours or up to 3 hours.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oregano and salt and pepper to taste. The sauce can be made up to this point 1 or 2 days ahead; let cool and refrigerate.

Make the polenta:
About 45 minutes before serving, bring the water to a boil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the salt and, whisking continuously, slowly pour the polenta into the water in a thin stream. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring nearly constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, the grains soften, and the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes.

Stir in the butter and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and season with pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Add the beans to the tomato sauce and warm them together over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley about 5 minutes before serving.

Spoon the polenta into warmed shallow bowls and make a well in the center of each serving. Spoon the tomato sauce into the well. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Substitution Note: This dish is best made with a rich, creamy bean. If borlotti are unavailable, try French horticulture, or wren’s egg.

Carne en su Jugo

6 SLICES HIGH-QUALITY BACON, diced
1 POUND LEAN BEEF such as sirloin tip or top round, cut against the grain into ¼-inch-thick slices and chopped (see note)
4 CUPS BEEF BROTH
2 CHIPOTLE CHILES IN ADOBO
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
2 CUPS DRAINED, COOKED FLOR DE MAYO BEANS
CILANTRO LEAVES for serving
LIME WEDGES for serving
FINELY CHOPPED GREEN ONIONS, white and pale green parts, for serving

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until all the fat is rendered and the bacon is brown but not crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel–lined plate.

Add the beef to the skillet and sauté until brown, turning often with tongs, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beef to a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot.

In a blender, combine 1 cup of the beef broth and the chiles in adobo and blend until smooth. Add to the beef and pour in the remaining beef broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender and the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the beans. Ladle them into warmed bowls. Ladle the meat with its broth over the beans.

Top with the bacon and cilantro leaves.

Pass the lime wedges and green onions at the table.

Note: It is easier to slice the meat thinly if you freeze it for about 20 minutes. Substitution Note: Any creamy pintolike bean is great here. Try Anasazi, flor de junio, or Rio Zape.

Lima Beans (Baby or Christmas) with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

1/2 POUND FLORIDA BUTTER BEANS or CHRISTMAS LIMAS, soaked
4 SLICES HIGH-QUALITY BACON, diced
2 1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONIONS
2 CELERY STALKS, diced
2 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
SALT
3/4 TEASPOON CHOPPED FRESH THYME LEAVES FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are beginning to soften, about 1 hour.

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and reserve.

Chop half of an onion and add to the pan over medium heat. Add the celery and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add to the beans, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When the beans are nearly soft, season them with salt.

Meanwhile, cut the remaining 2 whole onions in half, then cut into thin slices. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, pour in 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, and set over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions and a few pinches of salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions wilt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are medium brown, soft, and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add 2 tablespoons water and stir to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the bacon to the caramelized onions and heat gently.

Top each serving of beans with some of the caramelized onion–bacon mixture.

Cannellini with Tomatoes and Sage

FOR OVEN-CURED TOMATOES:
6 PLUM TOMATOES
1 TABLESPOON CHOPPED FRESH FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY
3 TO 4 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
SALT

BEANS:

1 POUND RUNNER CANNELLINI or CELLINI BEANS, soaked
1 MEDIUM CARROT, peeled and quartered
1 CELERY STALK, cut into thirds
1 GARLIC HEAD, halved
3 FRESH SAGE SPRIGS 3
FRESH ROSEMARY SPRIGS
SALT
1/4 CUP SAFFLOWER or GRAPESEED OIL for frying
20 FRESH SAGE LEAVES
1/2 CUP EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, plus oil for drizzling
2 GARLIC CLOVES, thinly sliced
3 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH SAGE
FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Make the tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to 200 ° F. Core the tomatoes. Slice each tomato nearly in half lengthwise, taking care not to cut all the way through so the halves remain attached.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt to taste. Toss to coat. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side down, in a single layer on a rack setover a baking sheet.

Bake until the liquid is evaporated and the tomatoes are shriveled and reduced in size, but not completely dry, about 10 hours. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Beans:
In a stockpot, combine the beans and their soaking water, carrot, celery, and garlic head.

Put the sage sprigs and rosemary sprigs on a piece of cheesecloth, gather the corners, and tie the bundle securely. Add to the pot.

Add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by at least 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook,partially covered, until the beans are nearly soft, about 1 hour. Season with salt and continue cooking the beans until tender, about 30 minutes.

Allow the beans to cool in their broth. Remove and discard the vegetables, garlic head, and cheesecloth bundle. Drain the beans, reserving the broth.

In a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm the safflower oil until it is shimmering. Add the sage leaves, 4 at a time, and fry until they are crisp but remain bright green, 10 to 15 seconds. Remove with tongs to a paper towel to drain.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, warm the 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and chopped sage, and sauté until aromatic.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook just until they begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cooked beans to the skillet along with 1 cup of the reserved broth. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced and leaves a glossy shine on the beans.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil.

Transfer the beans to a serving dish and top with the fried sage leaves.

Red (or Black) Beans and Rice

1 pound dried beans, such as Red Nightfall or Sangre de Toro
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup red wine
3 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 pound smoked ham hocks
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups hot white rice

Chopped scallions for garnish

Wash beans well and sort through them, removing any pebbles or impurities. Place beans in a pot, cover with water and soak overnight.

When ready to cook, drain beans and set aside.

Sauté onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and jalapeño in oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, uncovered, until soft (about 10 minutes).

Add beans to the pot, along with chicken broth, red wine, water, bay leaf, ham hocks, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and taste to adjust seasoning.

Simmer, covered, for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
Remove ham hocks after 2 hours. Continue to simmer beans for another 30 minutes, or until the liquid in the beans has a thick, creamy consistency.

As soon as the ham hocks are cool enough to work with, remove all meat from the bones, and shred it. Return meat to the beans.

Divide the hot rice among 4 wide, shallow serving bowls. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the bean mixture over the rice in each bowl; you’ll have a little bean mixture left over.

Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

You can also replace the red beans with a firm, creamy bean like Midnight Black Bean.

If you wish to add andouille, tasso or chicken to this recipe, to make it meatier still . . . go right ahead!

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

1/4 pound diced Apple Smoked Bacon (optional) (we like Hobbs)
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, (3-4 tablespoons if not using bacon)
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 pound Royal Corona or Cassoulet beans, soaked 6-8 hours
4 cups homemade chicken stock or your favorite canned chicken stock
6-8 cups water if necessary
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
1 cup pasta (your choice shape such as little tubes or broken papardelli noodles
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Da Vero Lemon Olive Oil to drizzle
Vella Dry Jack to grate to taste over the “fazool”

In a large heavy bottom soup pot, sauté bacon until browned. Remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Discard all but about 1-2 tablespoons bacon fat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil (or start with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil if you are not using bacon).

Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until soft and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, stock, oregano, and return bacon to the pot. Simmer over medium heat until beans are tender, about 1 hour (cooking time may vary depending on freshness of beans). You may add water if necessary.

Add pasta and continue cooking until al dente. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and allow the “fazool” to stand for 10 minutes before serving, to concentrate the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Drizzle individual bowls with lemon olive oil, and sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup tomato sauce (you can use your favorite)
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans, or another creamy white bean
1 cup stock (Try chicken stock and bean broth, half and half)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 pound short, flat pasta (I broke up tagliatelle nests)
1 head escarole, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 3 or 4 as a light main dish

In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, beans, stock, and rosemary sprig and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently for another 10–15 minutes to combine the flavors.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, using plenty of salted water. Drain the pasta.

Remove the rosemary sprig from the sauce, then mix in the drained pasta; add the escarole and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.