As we trudged through those first few weeks of 2021, I felt the best thing I could do for you was tell you to make meatballs – lots of meatballs.
This is what I did on Sunday, tripling Kay Chun’s recipe for pork and ricotta meatballs and making a pot of sauce to go with it. This allowed us to have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner twice and for lunch once too. I’ve tried many other meatball recipes, and in the quick and easy category, this one is simply the best. The combination of pork and ricotta makes them tender and juicy; the parmesan brings a touch of flavor.
You can use gravy in a pot if you don’t want to take care of the house, but once you put the pot on the stove, you’ll see (or remember) how easy it is to make, how brilliant and fresh the results are compared to even the best gravy in a jar. Start this before making the meatballs, and the two will be done at about the same time.
The meatball recipe is below, as well as recipes for a week that call for comfort, simplicity, sauce.
Here are five dishes for the week:
I have four quick tips for this recipe: Use a heavy hand with the Parmesan (and if you do, a lighter hand with the salt). Try not to overcook them. If you check them out and think they could go in the oven for a minute or two, they’re probably already cooked. Let them bathe in a simmering tomato sauce before serving. Finally, do some extras.
Pork and ricotta balls
- ½ cup of whole milk ricotta
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- ½ cup plain dry breadcrumbs
- 1 pound of ground pork
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and use your hands to mix gently.
Shape mixture into 12 evenly sized balls (about 2 ¼ inches in diameter). Place on a greased rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Leftover meatballs freeze well; Simply reheat in 375 degree oven until heated through (about 20 minutes).
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe by Kay Chun
Japanese Chicken Curry in a Pot (The New York Times / David Malosh)
This recipe was inspired by the classic Japanese stew, which is served with rice. Here, the method is fine-tuned, blooming a few spices in butter to form the base of the sauce and cooking the rice with the chicken and vegetables, for a superb all-in-one meal.
Japanese chicken and rice curry in a pan
- 2 pounds chicken thighs with bone and skin (about 6 large thighs)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided use
- ½ cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
- 3 tablespoons of Madras curry powder
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups short-grain white rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
- 1 large baked potato (about 1 pound), such as fruit bats, white or Idaho, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ cup sliced carrots (½ inch thick)
- 3 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- Chopped green onions, pickles, kimchi and / or hot sauce, for serving
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub the chicken with 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of remaining oil with 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Work in two batches, brown the chicken 3 to 4 minutes per side and transfer to a plate.
Add the onion to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 minutes. Add the curry powder, garlic, ginger, nutmeg and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and stir until the butter is melted and the spices are fragrant, 1 minute.
Add the rinsed rice and stir until evenly coated with the spices. Add the potato, carrots, broth and Worcestershire sauce, scraping the bottom of the pot to lift the golden bits. Generously season the broth with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken (and any juices that have accumulated) on top, skin side up, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes more.
Divide the chicken and rice between the bowls and garnish with the green onions. Serve with any combination of pickles, kimchi and hot sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe by Kay Chun
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This simple recipe is a great way to treat yourself. The rosemary needles are driven into the fish before the fillets are sautéed in butter, then you make a sauce in the pan with white wine and lemon. Use wine that you would really like to drink, especially since I think you should have a glass of wine with dinner. Maybe two.
Pan-Seared Trout With Rosemary, Lemon And Capers
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 trout fillets
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt, and more to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of drained capers
Squeeze ½ teaspoon of rosemary needles into the flesh of each trout fillet. Combine the flour, ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Coat the fillets with the seasoned flour.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the trout and sauté until cooked through, about 2 ½ minutes per side. Remove the trout from the pan and place it on hot plates. Add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds.
Pour in the wine and reduce to 1/ 3 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, capers and the remaining teaspoon of rosemary and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 1 trout fillet on each of the 4 plates, pour the sauce over the trout and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe by Molly O’Neill
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A reminder that, as with all fried rice dishes, this recipe starts with cooked and cooled grains, ideally leftovers, so take this into account in your cooking (or take out order).
Kimchi Fried Rice
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- ½ small onion, medium dice
- 1 cup coarsely chopped kimchi
- 2 tablespoons kimchi juice, or to taste
- ½ cup small diced Spam, ham or leftover cooked meat
- 2 cups cooked and cooled rice (preferably short grain)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- Salt to taste
- Crumbled or minced nori (grilled seaweed) for garnish
- Sesame seeds for garnish
In a non-stick sauté pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the kimchi and kimchi juice and stir until boiling, about 3 minutes. Add the spam and cook until the sauce is almost dry, about 5 minutes.
Break the rice in the pan with a spatula and stir it to incorporate it. Lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed the sauce and is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil. Taste and adjust with more soy sauce, sesame oil or kimchi juice. Lower the heat slightly, but let the rice continue to cook, without touching it, so that it browns slightly while you cook the eggs.
Place a small non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and add vegetable oil. When it is hot, add the eggs, salt and fry until the desired doneness. Serve the rice topped with fried eggs, nori and a pinch of sesame seeds.
Makes 2 servings.
Recipe by Francis Lam
Creamy Braised White Beans (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Kelly Brant)
This convenient and deliciously simple recipe was meant to be made with canned beans, a mixture of cannellini and chickpeas. I would put a few handfuls of greens in the pot to make a meal in a bowl and serve it with garlic bread.
Braised white beans with cream
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 can (15 ounces) of chickpeas, with their liquid
- 1 can (15 ounces) white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
- 1 sprig of thyme, 2 sage leaves OR 1 bay leaf
- 1/ 8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, allspice or garam masala
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 slices of crusty bread or thick toast
- Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
- Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes, for serving
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cut side down, and cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the milk, chickpeas and their liquid, white beans, thyme and nutmeg and mix. Season generously with salt and pepper. When the mixture begins to bubble around the edges of the pot (you don’t want it to come to a boil), reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Use a fork to remove the garlic halves from the beans. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then use the fork to remove the cloves from the skin. Spread the cloves on bread or toast.
If you want the beans to look more like a stew, mash a few with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Serve beans and milk in bowls. Garnish as you wish with a drizzle of oil, a pinch of Parmesan and a pinch of Aleppo pepper and black pepper. Serve with bread on the side for soaking.
You can reheat leftovers the next day over low heat; the sauce will have thickened, but the beans will still be delicious.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe by Ali Slagle