Merry Christmas! Welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes, and while some of you may be off from work next week, you’ve still got to eat — and presumably, if you’re reading this, you’ve also got to cook. Even the most devoted home cooks have been tried in this endless year of endless kitchen tasks, as Tejal Rao wrote so eloquently about in The Times, and Helen Rosner in The New Yorker. (Do you read Helen Rosner on food in The New Yorker? You must.) I’ve felt it, too, not so much in the cooking itself, but in the relentless meal planning, and the loading and unloading and reloading of the dishwasher.
And yet cooking has provided one of my only 2020 joys, in that it was one of my only reprieves from routine — something to look forward to, arriving in the form of coq au vin, or mango pie, or a double-chocolate layer cake. So here are a few recipes that are achievable on weeknights, and that I hope deliver joy to you, though that is, of course, a highly personal thing. Tell me what yours are, or just send along thoughts, suggestions or concerns. I’m firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two bonus recipes before we get to dinner: Genevieve Ko’s sheet-pan bacon and eggs (toast bread on a separate oven rack for egg sandwiches), and Mashama Bailey’s vegan stewed black-eyed peas for New Year’s Day, a wish for good luck in 2021.
Here are five dishes for the week:
I want to curl up in a bowl of this soup and stay there all winter. Hetty McKinnon’s recipe, which is vegan, is hearty and warming, but briny pops of flavor from olives and capers keep things interesting and bright.
This classic pasta is famously simple, but a great rendition feels special. This recipe is adapted from the cookbook author Giuliano Bugialli, and, though it’s worth seeking out the pancetta or prosciutto, it will work with bacon, too (aim for thick-cut), and with spaghetti subbed in for bucatini.