I love vegetable-loaded comfort food. 🙂 This casserole dish also has farro, a favorite, and cheese, of course. My husband said he would have loved it even without the fresh mozzarella on top! Absolutely delicious.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah DiGregorio. I doubled the amount of cauliflower, omitted the olives, used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro, and modified the method and proportions.
We ate the casserole as a main course with garlic bread and green salad. It could also be served as a hearty side dish. The recipe is very adaptable and could be easily modified to incorporate other vegetables.
Yield: Serves 8
For the Farro and Cauliflower:
1 large head of cauliflower, florets and tender stems cut into large bite-sized pieces
8.8 oz bag Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro
1 (28 to 32-ounce) jar good-quality marinara sauce (I used Rao’s)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted kalamata or black olives, roughly chopped, optional (I omitted them)
10 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano (about 3/4 cup finely grated)
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano or dried basil
1 teaspoon balsamic or sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup stock (can substitute water)
2/3 cup water
For the Topping:
1 cup panko
2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (about 1/2 cup finely grated)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 to 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds (I used 12 slices)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
In a 9-by-13-inch pan, combine the cauliflower, farro, marinara sauce, olive oil, olives (if using), garlic, grated cheese, onion powder, oregano or basil, vinegar and red-pepper flakes. Season with the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Pour in 1 cup stock and 2/3 cups water and stir well to combine. (can substitute with 1 2/3 cups water)
Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make the topping: Stir together the panko, grated cheese and olive oil.
Uncover the pan and stir.
Evenly cover the top with the panko topping.
Top with the fresh mozzarella rounds.
Continue baking uncovered until the farro is tender and chewy, the sauce is thick, the topping is browned, and the mozzarella has melted, about 10 to 15 minutes more. (I baked it for an additional 12 minutes on convection roast.) (I also put my garlic bread in the same oven at this point!)
This is another weeknight one-pot chicken dinner. I loved the colorful and fresh topping- I would add even more next time! This dish also incorporated farro which is one of my absolute favorites. It could appropriately be served any time of year.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used sherry vinegar in the topping and modified the proportions and method. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6) or use whole legs
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large or 3 medium leeks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fennel or coriander seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
4 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups pearled or semi-pearled farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro)
1+ cup quartered or halved cherry or grape tomatoes or diced tomato
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
fresh lime or lemon juice, or vinegar, to taste, such as cider vinegar or sherry vinegar (I used 1-2 T sherry vinegar)
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and pepper, and set aside while preparing the leeks.
Trim roots from leeks, then cut away any wilted, yellowing or browned parts from the greens. Slice leeks in half lengthwise. Wash well under cold running water to remove any soil, then shake dry. (I soak them in a bowl of water.)
Thinly slice the leeks (including the greens) into half-moons. You should have about 6 cups. Measure out about 2 tablespoons of sliced leek whites and set them aside for garnish.
In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. (I used a wide and low enameled cast iron skillet.)
When the oil thins and coats the bottom of the pan, add half the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes on the first side ad 3 to 5 minutes on the second side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Stir in the leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté until tender and golden brown, 9 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in crushed spices, thyme sprigs and tomato paste, and cook until tomato paste darkens and caramelizes, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in chicken stock and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Stir in farro and 1 teaspoon salt. When the liquid comes to a simmer, nestle in the browned chicken, skin-side up; pour in any juices from the plate. Cover pan and let cook until the farro is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss together the reserved leek whites, chopped tomatoes and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and an acid like lemon or lime juice or vinegar. (I used sherry vinegar.) The mixture should taste tangy and bright.
Discard the thyme sprigs, and serve chicken and farro topped with the tomato mixture.
I love a dish involving warm dressing and wilted greens. I am also in love with farro- and pesto. This full-flavored vegetarian dish was made for me! Loved it. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yasmin Fahr. I used homemade pesto, Campari tomatoes, and several of the modifications and options that were suggested in the original recipe for ingredient substitutions.
It was incredible as a summer dish but could easily be served in any season with all of the possible variations. It can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. The dish could also be topped with a protein such as grilled chicken, scallops, or shrimp, if desired. We ate it for dinner with roasted CSA vegetables and a green salad. It would also be lovely for a special lunch or brunch. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 4
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro, rinsed (I used Trader Joe’s “10 minute” Farro)
2 pints (4 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes or 2 pounds of Campari tomatoes (12-14 tomatoes)
1 red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 1-inch wedges keeping the root intact (I cut a large red onion into 8ths)(can substitute shallots)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the farro
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup (4 T) store-bought or homemade pesto, plus more to taste (recipe below)
2 packed cups baby spinach, arugula, Swiss chard (stemmed & chopped), or baby kale
1 (4 oz) ball fresh mozzarella or burrata, torn into chunks, or 1/2 cup ricotta salata or feta, crumbled, optional (I used 4 oz crumbled feta)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves and tender stems, chiffonade or roughly chopped, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the farro and adjust the heat to maintain a medium boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until tender and not too chewy, about 10 to 30 minutes. (I used Trader Joe’s “10-minute” Farro which cooked in 10 minutes)
Meanwhile, on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed sheet pan, combine the tomatoes and onion wedges with the oil, making sure everything is well coated and glistening, then season with salt, pepper and the red-pepper flakes. Roast until the tomatoes blister and slightly deflate, 20 to 30 minutes.
When the farro is done, drain, then pour into a serving bowl or back into the pot. Toss with some olive oil, then mix in the pesto.
Add the lemon zest and juice, then stir in the spinach (or other greens). Set aside to cool slightly.
Scrape the onions, tomatoes and their juices into the farro; season with salt and pepper as needed.
Add the cheese, if using, then garnish with herbs and serve.
For the Pesto: (Makes about 1 cup)
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 large clove garlic
2 T toasted pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually.
Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. (Sometimes I add a little bit of stock instead to achieve the same result.)
Stir in the cheese.
The pesto recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. The amounts can be modified to reduce the volume; only 1/4 cup of pesto is used in the farro dish.
My husband absolutely loves the overnight buttermilk oat pancakes served at Main Road Biscuit Company on the North Fork of Long Island. We have tried a couple of versions to try to replicate them at home. Now I love them too! 🙂
This first version was adapted from Molly Wizenberg@Orangette.net, via Food52.com, contributed by Catherine Lamb. We used sea salt, butter instead of oil, and added vanilla extract as well as fresh strawberries and bananas. We ate them for breakfast on Mother’s Day as well as my husband’s birthday. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted and cooled (can substitute coconut oil or any oil of choice)
oil or non-stick spray for greasing the pan or griddle
fresh bananas and fresh or frozen strawberries, diced, optional
nuts or chocolate chips, optional
pure maple syrup, yogurt, berries, or bananas, for serving
The night before, mix the oats and buttermilk together in a large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
If you’re feeling especially efficient, mix the dry ingredients in a smaller bowl and set aside on the counter. (a great plan!)
The next morning, take the oat mixture out of the fridge. If you haven’t already, mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk until incorporated.
Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter (or oil) to the oat mixture, stir together, then add the dry ingredients. Mix until fully incorporated, but be careful not to overmix. Batter will be very thick.
Grease a griddle or large pan with and set it over medium-high heat. When you flick water at the skillet and it sizzles, it’s ready.
Ladle the batter onto the hot pan (I used a 1/3 cup measure, but feel free to adjust if you want larger or smaller pancakes). If desired, sprinkle on sliced bananas, berries (fresh or frozen), nuts, or chocolate chips. (I mixed both diced bananas and strawberries into the batter prior to placing on the griddle.)
When the top of the batter bubbles, the edges begin to set, and the bottom is bronzed, flip pancakes. They’re done when the underside is done and they don’t squish when pressed lightly with your finger.
Serve with maple syrup or a dollop of yogurt and additional berries and/or banana slices, as desired.
This second version was also wonderful. It is Swedish in origin. The original recipe suggests serving them with lingonberry jam instead of maple syrup.
The recipe was adapted from the former Tres Joli Bakery Café in Oakton, Virginia, via Bon Appétit and epicurious.com. I added frozen blueberries to the batter and served them drizzled with maple syrup.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 cups old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cooking oil spray or melted butter, for skillet or griddle
pure maple syrup or lingonberry preserves, for serving
fresh or frozen blueberries, optional
whipped cream, for serving, optional
Combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk buttermilk, eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl.
Add to dry ingredients; whisk until blended but some small lumps still remain.
Cover with plastic wrap and let batter stand to thicken, about 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 250°F. (or set a warming drawer to medium)
Heat heavy large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush skillet with melted butter or coat with cooking oil spray.
Fold fresh or frozen blueberries into the prepared batter, if desired. (I added 1 cup of frozen blueberries.)
Working in batches, ladle batter by 1/4 to 1/3 cupfuls onto the pan. Cook pancakes until bottoms are golden brown and bubbles form on top, about 2 minutes. Turn pancakes over; cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Transfer cooked pancakes to a baking sheet or serving platter. Keep warm in oven or warming drawer.
Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with more butter or cooking spray, as necessary.
Serve with lingonberry preserves or syrup, topped with fresh blueberries and/or whipped cream, as desired.
This is another wonderful one-pot vegetarian baked egg casserole that can be served any time of day. The title of the New York Times article about it was, “Polenta That You’ll Never Need to Stir: Baking a classic in a sea of eggs and cheese gives it complexity.” Irresistible. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yotam Ottolenghi. I used my special grits from Charleston, South Carolina instead of polenta. I also increased the amount of garlic, reduced the red pepper flakes, and kept the corn kernels whole. I loved all of the brightness from the combination of fresh herbs. Delicious!
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
warm naan, pita, or crusty bread, for serving
Heat the oven to 375°F/200°C, preferably on convection.
If desired, add the corn to a food processor and pulse once or twice, just until roughly chopped. (I opted to leave the kernels whole.)
In a large bowl, combine the corn, spinach, cornmeal, Parmesan, scallions, 1/4 cup cilantro, parsley, dill, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a good grind of pepper; stir to combine.
Transfer this mixture to a large, deep, oven-proof skillet, then add the milk, stock and butter, stirring gently to mix through. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and give everything a good whisk.
Return to the oven and bake until the cornmeal is cooked through and the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Give the polenta another good whisk — it should be quite smooth and not completely set — then stir in half the feta.
Increase the oven temperature to 425°F/220°C, preferably on convection.
Use a dinner spoon to make 8 shallow wells in the polenta. Crack an egg into each well and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the remaining feta all over, and bake until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the reserved scallions and cilantro in a bowl with the oil. Spoon this mixture all over the polenta and eggs and sprinkle with the red-pepper flakes, if desired. Serve directly from the pan.
Compared to my last post, this pressure cooker biryani is an even faster version of this full-flavored Indian dish- very tasty but possibly a little less authentic.
There are a couple points to note in order for this dish to be a success. It is very important to use the largest shrimp available to prevent over-cooking. Secondly, when adding the water to the pot, it must be boiling in order for the rice to cook in the allotted time frame.
This recipe was adapted from The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Chandra Ram via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I increased the amount of garlic, omitted the curry leaves, and used a stove-top pressure cooker instead of an Instant Pot. Nice.
Yield: Serves 6
2cups Basmati rice
2teaspoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1Serrano chile, minced
2tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1tablespoon minced garlic (I used 4 large cloves)
2teaspoons kosher salt
1teaspoon Chile powder, preferably Kashmiri (I used Ancho)
1teaspoon ground turmeric
1teaspoon smoked paprika
10fresh curry leaves, torn into pieces, optional (if available)(can substitute curry powder, to taste)
1 ½cups boiling water
1 ½pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 or fewer per pound, see note), peeled and deveined
1(15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more wedges for serving
½cup chopped fresh cilantro
Place the rice in a bowl and cover with 2 cups water. Let stand for 20 minutes, then drain and rinse.
Heat oil in the pot of a pressure cooker (set to the sauté function set on high in an electric pot), until oil is shimmering.
Add onion; cook for about 4 minutes, until softened.
Stir in Serrano chile, ginger, garlic, salt, chile powder, turmeric, paprika and curry leaves (if using); cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Stir in boiling water; using a wooden spoon, stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
Stir in soaked rice, shrimp and tomatoes (with juice).
Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Quick-release the pressure (on my pot, I rotate the release valve 90 degrees), stir lime juice into the rice, then cover the pressure cooker with a kitchen towel and the lid; let it sit for 5 minutes.
Give rice another stir, then taste and add more salt, if needed.
Transfer to a platter, garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side.
Note: Make sure to use jumbo shrimp or larger for this recipe. Look for “16/20” or “U/15” on the package; this indicates how many shrimp there are per pound.
While my kids were away at sleep away camp over the summer (for one week), my sweet husband encouraged me to make dishes that were loaded with my favorite greens, etc. (dishes that may not have thrilled my kids!) Don’t worry, we also went out to eat. 🙂
I had wanted to make this dish after reading about how the recipe creates a faux burrata- genius! This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com, contributed by Abra Berens. I substituted my beautiful CSA chard for the kale. This dish would also be delicious using true burrata, of course. 😉 I used pre-sliced fresh mozzarella but would use torn pieces from a ball of fresh mozzarella next time. It would have improved the burrata hack. Any cooked grain could be substituted for the wild rice as well.
We ate this dish as a main course, but it would also be a nice side dish or salad course.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4 as a main course
1 small yellow onion or 1/2 large yellow onion, cut into thin slices
4 garlic cloves, sliced
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine or rosé
1 cup wild rice, soaked overnight in 4 cups water (can substitute farro, quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
1 bunch (4 cups) red or rainbow chard or kale, midribs stripped, cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1 ball (8 oz, 1/2 pound) fresh mozzarella
4 T sour cream (or yogurt or creme fraiche)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 pint (2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Soak the wild rice overnight in 4 cups of water. (The soaking liquid is used to cook the rice.)
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Sweat the onion and garlic with the salt until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the white wine and reduce by half.
Add the wild rice and the soaking liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 45 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, sprinkle the chard/kale with a pinch of salt. Massage until the greens are dark green, limp, and tender in mouthfeel.
Tear the mozzarella into rough chunks.
Combine with the sour cream, lemon zest and juice, a good pinch of salt, and a couple of grinds of black pepper.
When the wild rice is cooked, drain any residual liquid and let cool.
Toss the tomatoes, kale, and wild rice together with a couple glugs of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Dot with the creamed mozzarella and serve.
Note: The amount of time it takes to tenderize raw greens will vary depending on the age of the plant. The tougher the leaves, the longer it will take. Along the way, taste an individual leaf—once it is easily chewable, you’re done.