Many years ago, my husband and I first tried Romesco sauce while on vacation in Barcelona. It was served with grilled ramps. We were instant fans! Using jarred fire-roasted red peppers as a shortcut is an absolute genius way to create it. I served the meatballs and sauce in this dish with slices of sourdough baguette to sop up every last drop. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sara Frost. I modified the proportions. The original recipe notes that the delicious sauce can add richness to other lean proteins such as fish, pan-roasted chicken breast and can also be used as a dip for vegetables. Next time, I may serve this dish with grilled scallions. Yum.
My son ate the leftover meatballs and baguette as a luxurious sandwich with melted cheese, topped with Romesco sauce, of course. This dish could also be served as a fabulous appetizer.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 3/4 lbs ground turkey
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
4 to 6 T finely chopped parsley, plus more coarsely chopped for serving
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 T plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almonds (I used toasted sliced almonds)
1 12 to 16-oz jar fire-roasted peppers in water, drained (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 to 4 small garlic cloves, crushed (I used a garlic press)
1 T red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
finely grated zest of half of a lemon
crusty bread, for serving, optional (I served it with a sourdough baguette)
Preheat oven to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Using your hands, mix ground turkey, eggs, panko, cumin, onion powder, paprika, parsley, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl.
Working one at a time, use a 1 1/2-inch scoop out to ration out the mixture. (I had 28 meatballs.) Place on a plate.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. (I used a large stainless steel “all-in-one” pan.)
Working in 2 batches, cook meatballs until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer skillet with all of the meatballs to oven and bake until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, pulse almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Pulse drained fire-roasted peppers, garlic, vinegar, and cayenne in food processor until almost smooth.
Transfer to bowl with almonds and stir in remaining 1/2 cup oil; season Romesco sauce with salt, to taste.
Spoon romesco sauce onto a platter or into shallow bowls; arrange meatballs on top.
Finely grate lemon zest over and scatter coarsely chopped parsley on top. Serve with crusty bread, as desired.
I first heard about this spectacularly easy viral pasta dish from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. I think I was the last to know… My daughter has seen countless people make it on TikTok, of course. 😉 She was absolutely thrilled to make it with me!
The original recipe is called “Uunifetapasta,” created by the Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinen. The foundation of the dish is a block of feta placed in the center of a baking dish surrounded by seasoned tomatoes. After being baked, the cheese and burst tomatoes are combined to create a creamy and delicious sauce to serve over pasta. Deb Perelman incorporated chickpeas in her version- nice.
This version from the Washington Post, contributed by Aaron Hutcherson, recommended using Greek sheep’s milk feta to maximize the creaminess. I used an enameled cast iron baking pan, modified the proportions and incorporated za’atar to the seasoning on the tomatoes prior to baking. It was super creamy and tasty- and as simple and easy to prepare as expected.
Yield: Serves 6
3 pints (750 to 800 g) grape or cherry tomatoes
5 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
8 T (1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 block (10.5 oz) Greek feta cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
za’atar, to taste, optional
17 to 18 oz medium-length dried pasta, such as campanile, rigatoni, or rotini (I used Gigli)
fresh basil leaves, for serving
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the tomatoes, garlic and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking pan.)
Sprinkle the tomatoes with some salt and toss to coat. Sprinkle with za’atar, if using.
Place the feta cheese in the center of the tomatoes and garlic, top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle the entire dish with red pepper flakes and a little black pepper.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic has softened and the tomatoes have burst their skins.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir the feta and tomatoes with a wooden spoon until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
Mix the sauce with pasta, adding the reserved pasta water as needed if it looks a little dry. (I incorporated quite a bit of pasta water.)
I don’t typically make dishes with Asian flavors, so this dish was a nice change of pace. Tsukune, Japanese grilled chicken meatballs, and the sweet and sour sauce they are typically served with were the inspiration behind this weeknight dish. The sauce was essential to this sheet-pan meal as well- we repeatedly drizzled it over everything.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman. I used freshly ground chicken thighs and omitted the water in the meatballs. The original recipe suggests using this tasty sauce on pork chops as well.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Sauce:
2/3 cup ketchup
4 T (1/4 cup) Worcestershire sauce
2 T rice cooking wine or water
2 T honey
4 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Meatballs & Assembly:
2 heads of broccoli or 2 large broccoli crowns (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 to 3 T vegetable oil, divided (I used canola oil)
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 to 1 1/4 lbs ground chicken (I used freshly ground chicken thighs)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 T toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
cooked rice, for serving (I used brown Basmati rice)
lightly toasted sesame seeds, for serving, optional
To Make the Sauce:
Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, rice wine or water, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a small saucepan.
Measure out 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl; set aside for glazing meatballs later.
Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.
To Make the Meatballs & Finish the Dish:
If freshly grinding chicken, use a meat grinder with the medium disk. Grind trimmed chunks of meat. (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs.) Chill ground meat until ready to use.
Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Trim broccoli stems and remove from crown. Peel off tough outer skin; slice crosswise into ½” pieces.
Cut florets into 2″ pieces.
Toss on prepared baking sheet with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (if using). (I used a dash or red pepper flakes.)
Push broccoli to the edges of baking sheet to create a space for meatballs.
Brush space in the center of the pan with remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Mix chicken, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
Using wet hands or a large cookie scoop, form into twelve 1 1/2″-diameter meatballs. (I placed the rationed scoops on a plate and then gently formed them into meatballs.)
Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet; brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture.
Bake until meatballs are cooked through, 14–18 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time
Remove from oven; heat broiler.
Brush meatballs with remaining glazing mixture; broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 3 to 5 minutes- watching carefully.
Spoon meatballs and broccoli over rice in bowl. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallion slices, as desired. Serve with additional sauce on the side to pass at the table.
This easy and creamy vegetarian stovetop lasagna was very well received by my family. 😉 The original recipe said that it wasn’t as pretty as a typical baked and layered lasagna, but I thought that it looked pretty appealing.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I increased the amount of mushrooms and garlic. I also used no-boil lasagna noodles. It is a perfect weeknight dish.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
5 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 to 16 oz mixed mushrooms (such as maitake, oyster, shiitake, and/or crimini), trimmed, cut or torn into 1″ pieces (I used stemmed & quartered cremini mushrooms)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 T thyme leaves
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3 to 6 garlic cloves, finely grated or chopped
2 T all-purpose flour
2 3/4 cups whole milk
freshly ground black pepper
lemon zest, plus wedges for serving, optional
1/3 cup crème fraîche or thinned sour cream
8 to 9 oz regular lasagna noodles, broken in half (no-boil okay)
4 to 5 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
finely grated Parmesan, for serving
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large high-sided ovenproof skillet (preferably with a lid) or small Dutch oven over medium-high. (I used a large, wide enameled cast iron pot.)
Add mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; mix in thyme.
Meanwhile, finely chop the shallot and garlic cloves in the bowl of a mini food processor.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle flour over and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute.
Add milk, pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 3/4 cups water, then finely grate zest of 1/4 lemon into pan. Stir to dissolve flour, increase heat to medium, and cook until gently bubbling.
Reduce heat to low, whisk in crème fraîche (or sour cream), and stir to combine.
Add about one third of noodles, pushing down into sauce to submerge, followed by a third of the mushrooms.
Repeat with half of remaining noodles and mushrooms.
Top with another layer of noodles. **Set remaining mushrooms aside.**
Cover with a lid or foil and cook 15 minutes. (If lasagna threatens to boil over, use very lowest heat and/or prop open the cover.)
Uncover; cook, gently lifting and separating noodles occasionally with tongs or a spatula to let sauce flow around, until sauce is thickened and noodles are cooked through, 6–10 minutes. Mixture should be bubbling gently; adjust heat as necessary. Remove from heat.
Heat broiler. Top lasagna with mozzarella and reserved mushrooms.
Broil until cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, about 2 minutes.
Finely grate more lemon zest over. Sprinkle with Parmesan; season with pepper.
Let sit 5–10 minutes. Cut lemon into wedges, if desired, and serve with lasagna.
More eggplant! This dish is a great vegetarian alternative to a traditional baked ziti. A crowd-pleasing weeknight comfort-food pasta casserole. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in NYC. I used San Marzano tomatoes instead of beefsteak and modified the proportions and method. I loved that it incorporated pesto.
To make the dish more healthy, Waxman replaces the traditional béchamel sauce with eggplant. The original recipe even suggests using whole-wheat pasta, if desired. Don’t worry… it is still an indulgent baked pasta dish with butter and plenty of cheese. 😉
Yield: Serves 8
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 pound rigatoni (whole wheat pasta can be used, if desired)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium eggplants (2 pounds), cut into 3/4-inch dice
freshly ground pepper
1 medium to large yellow onion, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
4 beefsteak tomatoes (2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch dice or 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, with juice, cut into pieces with kitchen shears
1/3 cup prepared pesto
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn or shredded (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 375°, preferably on convection.
Butter a 9-by-13-inch ovenproof baking dish. (I used cooking oil spray.)
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl.
Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet or sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add half of the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant to the pasta. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of olive oil and the remaining eggplant.
Add the onion, garlic and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have broken down and thickened to a sauce consistency, 7 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the 4 tablespoons of butter.
Add the tomato sauce to the pasta and eggplant along with the pesto and ricotta; season with salt and pepper and toss well.
Transfer the rigatoni to the prepared baking dish. Top with the mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.
Let the pasta stand for 10 minutes before serving.