This flavor-packed weeknight dish was included in Milk Street Magazine’s “Tuesday Nights” series which features weeknight dishes with bold and fresh flavors. I have found that meatballs that incorporate a panade, hydrated breadcrumbs, are very tender- great.
The recipe was adapted from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Calvin Cox. According to the original article, these Greek oblong shaped meatballs are known as soutzoukakia smyrneika. Traditionally, they are served with tiganites patates (potatoes fried in olive oil). We ate them with crusty bread to sop up every bit of sauce. The dish could also be served with roasted potatoes or a rice or orzo pilaf.
Yield: Serves 4
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 large garlic cloves, 2 finely gratedn(I used a garlic press), 1 thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey
In a medium bowl, combine the panko, egg and 1/2 cup water, then mix until homogeneous. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the panko to hydrate. (This step is very important in order to create soft and tender meatballs.)
Add the pork, cumin, the grated (or pressed) garlic, 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon oregano, 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, then mix well.
Divide into 11 or 12 portions (each about a scant 1/4 cup), then shape each into a 2 1/2-inch-long cigar (oblong) shape.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. (Non-stick can be used; I used a 12-inch stainless all-in-one pan.)
Add the meatballs and cook without disturbing until browned on the bottoms, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the meatballs and cook until browned on the second sides, another 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat, transfer the meatballs to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside.
Return the skillet to medium-high and add the sliced garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes, cinnamon, honey and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper, then bring to a simmer.
Place the meatballs in the pan and return to a simmer. Cover and simmer, undisturbed, until the centers of the meatballs reach 160°F, 12 to 14 minutes.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper.
Transfer the meatballs and sauce to serving dish. Drizzle with additional oil, if desired, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oregano.
Growing up, my mom frequently made what we referred to as “white spaghetti” (aka spaghetti without red sauce!). The pasta was coated with garlicky olive oil and topped with crispy garlic slices, broccoli florets, and Parmesan cheese. Classic. 🙂
This version is from Old World Italian: Recipes & Secrets from Our Travels in Italy by Mimi Thorisson. The recipe is included in the “Roman Pastas” section of this beautiful book. It is a little bit more indulgent than my mom’s rendition because it contains more cheese as well as heavy cream. I loved that the broccoli was chopped and incorporated into the creamy sauce.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 large head broccoli and stems (about 1 pound or 450g), cut into small florets and coarsely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the broccoli and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Remove with a kitchen spider or slotted spoon and set aside, keeping the water boiling to cook the pasta.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups (500ml) of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the empty pot and set aside.
Chop the onion and mince the garlic in a food processor. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté until tender and golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the cream over the mixture and cook for 15 seconds. Remove from heat.
Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor and process until roughly creamy.
Add the broccoli sauce and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water to the pot of pasta and set the pot over medium heat. Cook, tossing frequently, adding more pasta water as needed to adjust the consistency, until the pasta is well coated, 1 to 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl, if desired. Scatter the grated Parmesan on top and serve immediately.
Every fall, black swallowtail caterpillars takeover my backyard basil plants. I needed to make this basil-loaded dish before sharing my plants with them.
This risotto was rich, creamy, and hearty. The absolute highlight of the finished dish was the crispy garlic and pan-toasted pine nut topping. Loved it.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christian Reynoso. I adapted the original recipe to prepare it in a pressure cooker. Easy and elegant.
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
4 T unsalted butter, divided
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
5 to 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (4 T) raw pine nuts
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves (from 1 large bunch), torn into 1″ pieces
shaved or finely grated Parmesan, for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Parmesan rind, optional
juice of 1/2 large lemon
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 5 or 7 quart pressure cooker over medium heat.
Add the rice and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until grains are partially translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Add 2 cloves of garlic slices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add all of the unheated stock; stir.
Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat.
Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes.
Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running cold water. (I used a quick release method.)
Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam. The stock should be almost completely absorbed but the rice will be covered with a thick layer of milky broth. (more stock can be added at this point if the risotto appears too thick)
Meanwhile, cook the remaining 6 cloves of garlic slices, olive oil, and pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic starts to turn golden around edges. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until pine nuts and garlic are golden, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in turmeric and season with pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan rind, if using, into the risotto. Season with salt, to taste.
Stir the freshly squeezed lemon juice into the risotto and add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Stir basil into risotto.
Ladle risotto, discarding the Parmesan rind, into shallow bowls. Top with garlic–pine nut oil and Parmesan. Serve.
I have never cooked cucumbers before! The cucumber slices in this stir-fry were quickly sautéed until just crisp tender- great. I also loved the seasonings in the finished dish.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christina Chaey. I used my largest skillet (14-inch) but would use a 12-inch next time. I don’t have a 14-inch splatter screen and I made quite a mess. It was worth it.
Yield: Serves 3 to 4
1 large English/European cucumber, peeled in alternating lengthwise strips, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, halves sliced crosswise on a diagonal 1/2-inch thick (I used a melon baller to remove the seeds)
1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1 tsp Diamond Crystal), plus more
2 T oyster sauce
2 T soy sauce (I used Trader Joe’s light soy sauce)
2 T Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or medium-dry sherry (I used dry sherry)
This is a great end of summer ~ early fall dish. I loved that it gobbled up my CSA collards and chard. I really love any dish that transforms greens into a crowd-pleaser! 🙂 The mashed beans made the sauce creamy.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Claire Saffitz, via epicurious.com. I used garbanzo beans and a mix of collard greens, Swiss chard, and spinach. I also substituted sweet Italian sausage and modified the proportions. The fried rosemary garnish was essential.
Yield: Serves 6
1/3 cup (5 T) extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary
8 to 10 oz sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (I used 3 sweet sausages)
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas or cannellini beans, rinsed, patted dry
1/4 cup dry white wine
16 oz (1 pound) paccheri, rigatoni, or other large tubular pasta (I used pennoni pasta)
8 to 10 cups (lightly packed) cut or torn escarole, kale, or Swiss chard leaves (I used 1/4-inch ribbons stemmed and halved collard greens, 1/2-inch ribbons stemmed Swiss chard (stems cut into 1/4-inch pieces and reserved), & baby spinach)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
freshly ground black pepper
3 T unsalted butter
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium to medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Fry rosemary, turning, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Add sausage to same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a shallow bowl.
Add chickpeas to pot and cook, tossing occasionally and mashing some chickpeas with a spoon, until browned in spots, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer about half of chickpeas to plate with sausage.
Add wine to pot (and add the Swiss chard stems, if using), bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.
Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with chickpeas and add the greens and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing often, until the greens are wilted, pasta is al dente, and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes.
Add another 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing until melted and dissolved into a luxurious, glossy sauce.
Thin with more pasta cooking liquid if needed. Season with pepper, and more salt if needed. Add butter and toss to combine, then mix in reserved sausage and chickpeas.
Divide pasta among bowls or place in a large serving dish. Crumble fried rosemary over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
I recently made a delicious skillet gnocchi dish developed by Ali Slagle for The New York Times which was very reminiscent of this dish. Apparently, Ali Slagle inspired Sarah Jampel to create this version for Bon Appétit.
I loved that this variation incorporated arugula- one of my favorites- and coated it with a dressing made with roasted garlic. It was a quick, easy, and tasty summer meal. Great.
Yield: Serves 4
1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges (I cut it into 8 wedges)
2 to 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 cups (2 pints) cherry or grape tomatoes
1 17.6-oz. package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi (I used Trader Joe’s)
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling, if desired
1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
freshly ground black pepper
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 to 3 cups baby arugula (I used 3 cups of my CSA arugula)
1 cup basil leaves, large leaves torn
2 oz Parmesan, shaved (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
Toss onion, garlic, tomatoes, gnocchi, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 1/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt on a rimmed baking sheet to coat. Season generously with pepper and toss again to combine.
Roast, stirring once or twice, until gnocchi are golden and starting to crisp, most of the tomatoes have burst, and onion is golden, 25–30 minutes.
Remove garlic from baking sheet, peel, and place in a small bowl. Mash with 1/4 tsp salt (garlic should be quite soft). (I used 4 cloves of garlic.)
Whisk in lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into the mashed garlic. Season dressing with pepper and more salt, if needed.
Add arugula, basil, and Parmesan to baking sheet and drizzle dressing over; toss to combine.
Divide among plates and drizzle with a little more oil, if desired.
I have a couple more dishes featuring sweet summer corn to share. This quick stir-fry was perfect to serve after a busy day outside. After prepping the ingredients in advance, it was fully prepared in the time that it took for the rice to cook.
This recipe was (slightly) adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. The original recipe notes that peppers, peas, mushrooms, or summer squash could be substituted for the fresh corn. Great!
Yield: Serves 4
3 T oyster sauce
1 T unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
4 to 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 lb), cut into 1-inch pieces