Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. If you ever cook to meet your mood, then next week could be quite a ride in the kitchen — a time for drink mixing and nacho making? Maybe you embrace noodles in uneasy times, or pasta, or stew? Are you an anxiety baker?
When I sat down to pick recipes for you for this particular week, a theme emerged: carbs. I decided to go with it. Look, I know this is not the most health-conscious edition of this newsletter. Some of you don’t even eat carbs! Do what you must to take care of you, and I’ve given you a few options below that might work. But if your brand of self-care includes an outrageous recipe for baked macaroni and cheese, then I am here for you.
I could’ve filled this newsletter so many times over with great recipes, though some take a little longer to make than the dishes we usually feature here, like this arroz con pollo from Von Diaz. You could make fresh pasta if you need to occupy yourself with a project, and Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese sauce to go with it, or a superfast version with pasta from a box if you don’t want a project but do want Bolognese. You could make kimchi fried rice or khachapuri or butter chicken. I’d probably bake brownies. And I agree with the commenters on this chocolate chip banana bread recipe: It’s the best one I’ve ever made.
2. Mapo Ragù
This recipe, based on a dish from the chefs David Chang and Tien Ho, is one of my favorites. You can amp up or tamp down the heat as you like, and serve with your choice of rice cakes or noodles, steamed rice or pasta. To get ahead on prep, caramelize the onions in advance and keep them in the refrigerator.
Inspired by the Roman pasta dish cacio e pepe, this recipe is from the locally revered restaurant Roberta’s in Brooklyn. Make dough if you’re into that, or buy dough at the store if that’s better for you. (If this is too obscenely cheesy for you — rather than just obscene enough — then try this green-and-white pie.)