Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. A few weeks ago, I got a great email from a reader in Los Angeles who said that she’s been leaning into sheet-pan dinners in this stressy time, meals that “feel deluxe but are secretly super easy”: gnocchi roasted with squash; Santa Maria tri-tip with potatoes and broccoli cooked in the pan drippings; creamy burrata with burst cherry tomatoes on crusty bread. (Can I come over?)
But the best part of the letter was this description of sitting down to eat this shrimp dish she made for her partner: “What a WIN to see his eyes light up and his shoulders relax. For a minute, we were just two regular people, in a regular world.” I am verklempt.
You can email me too! I’m email@example.com, and I read every letter.
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Here are five dishes for the week:
Speaking of deluxe but super easy: I made this sheet-pan recipe by Melissa Clark for dinner last night using fat links of sweet Italian sausage from the butcher shop, and everyone loved it, including a 3-year-old. A few tablespoons of vinegar and the drippings from the sausage keep the red grapes from being too sweet.
This one goes out to the reader who emailed to say that we publish too many chicken thigh recipes, and requested chicken breasts. (It’s true that recipe developers love chicken thighs.) This delicious version of a pulao, or pilaf, from the chef Asha Gomez, is one of the best ways I know to use boneless, skinless breasts. The meat turns out plush, the rice gently spiced and with a glorious hue.
Inspired by gaji bokkeum, a Korean stir-fried eggplant dish, this brilliant recipe by Eric Kim is salty, hot, sweet and heaven with rice and something green for dinner. Put the rice on the stove not long after you salt the eggplant, and they should be done at more or less the same time; once the eggplant is ready to cook, everything moves quickly.