You’re Going to Love This Pasta

Hi, guys. Margaux Laskey here filling in again for Em. How’s your week been? Lovely, I hope.

A few weeks ago, Jessica Grose, a columnist for NYT Parenting, asked newsletter readers about their best pandemic buys, and I’m curious: What have been your favorite cooking-related purchases in the past year? For me, it’s a tie between a waffle maker, which I’ve used all year to make Melissa Clark’s crisp, perfect yeast-risen waffles, and a Solo Stove fire pit, which made socially distanced backyard dinners (and s’mores) possible even in snowy February. What about you?

While you think on it, here are five delicious dishes. Emily will be back next week. Thanks for having me.

1. Mushroom Pasta Stir-Fry

Hetty McKinnon smartly replaces spaghetti for rice in this umami-rich vegetarian stir-fry, which comes together in about half an hour. Chinese five-spice powder, a heady combination of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns and fennel, bolsters the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. (It’s available at most markets, or you can make your own.) Broccolini, or broccoli, if that’s what you’ve got, adds texture and a welcome bit of green.

View this recipe.

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2. Farro With Blistered Tomatoes, Pesto and Spinach

“This was incredible!” “Just divine!” “Phenomenal.” Readers are loving this vibrant vegetarian dish from Yasmin Fahr for its versatility and ease of prep. Try substituting ricotta salata, feta, seared halloumi or burrata for the mozzarella; shallots for the onions, pasta for the farro. You do you.

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3. Skillet Chicken With Orzo, Dill and Feta

This recipe from Sarah Copeland is the Mary Poppins of one-pot chicken dishes — practically perfect in every way. (That Disney+ subscription is really paying off.) Silky orzo, tender chicken, salty feta, cold cucumbers: It’s got it all. I’ve made it with bone-in chicken pieces as well as boneless chicken thighs, but if you use the thighs, reduce the cooking time so as not to end up with rubbery chicken.

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4. White Bean Caprese Salad

Let’s say it’s Thursday night, and the thought of cooking makes you want to cry. Enter Colu Henry’s white bean, mozzarella and tomato salad. Toss it all together and serve it with good crusty bread and a Negroni.

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5. Roasted Shrimp and Pineapple With Peanut Sauce

Whenever I make this blissfully simple, Thai-inspired recipe from Melissa Clark, I end up spooning half of the tangy peanut sauce directly into my mouth from the blender. It’s that good. To save time, skip the skewers and place the shrimp and pineapple on opposite ends of a sheet pan before broiling. Serve with plain white rice or Tejal Rao’s coconut rice.

View this recipe.

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