What to Cook Right Now

Good morning. I’ve been talking a lot about no-recipe recipes recently, in advance of the publication of “New York Times Cooking: No-Recipe Recipes” next week, and my colleague Tina Jordan reached out to me the other day with a stellar one. It’s for a fiery weeknight pasta dish with brussels sprouts and diced bacon.

Here’s Tina: “Dice a whole bunch of bacon or pancetta (how much depends on how many people you’re cooking for; personally I think the more, the better). Set it frying in a very large skillet or Dutch oven. Meanwhile, set a pot of water to boil and begin chiffonading a pound or two of brussels sprouts (again, depends on how many people you’re serving). If you don’t have brussels sprouts, slice up a head of broccoli, though it’s much better with brussels sprouts. When the bacon is done, remove it with a slotted spoon to drain and crisp up. If there’s more than a tablespoon or two of bacon fat in the skillet, remove the excess. Don’t drain off too much, though; you need some fat.

“Dump the brussels sprouts in the bacon fat and add a good amount of crushed red pepper (to taste I suppose, but the dish needs the kick of the red pepper). Around this time, your water’s going to be boiling, so use whatever pasta you’d like (this works well with skinny stuff, like thin spaghetti). Meanwhile, keep tossing the thinly sliced brussels sprouts in the pan until they’re browned and a little crispy. Dress with the juice of at least one lemon, toss in the hot cooked pasta and a whole bunch of freshly grated Parm, and combine, adding a little pasta water if you need it. Top with the cooked diced bacon or pancetta and eat right away.”

Doesn’t that sound grand? It might be just the thing for a Wednesday dinner.

For later in the week, Yewande Komolafe has a great article in The Times about swallows, the staple food of mashed roots or tubers that takes many forms throughout regional African and Afro-Caribbean cuisines. In it, she explores both traditional preparations of swallows and modern options, like the fufu that’s common in the diaspora. Naturally, there’s a recipe attached to the article, and I hope you’ll make it soon: fufu (swallows), typically served with a vegetable soup like efo riro and, in this case, topped with braised goat (above).

If you’re going to be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day next week, it’s time to start thinking about your corned beef. I like at least a five-day cure on mine. Then you can cook the meat with cabbage and carrots for the holiday or, as I do, shred it to use in Irish tacos.

Other things to cook tonight or real soon: sheet-pan roasted mushrooms and spinach; lentils diavolo; sour cream chicken enchiladas. And would you take a look at this ginger-dill salmon as well? Or this fine pasta e ceci?

Thousands and thousands more recipes await you on NYT Cooking. Go noodle around over there and see what strikes your fancy. Save the recipes you like, something you can do even if they don’t come for our site — here’s how to do that. Rate the ones you’ve made. And please do leave notes on them if you’ve discovered a cool shortcut or ingredient substitution, or if you have an observation about the recipe that you’d like to remember or share with fellow subscribers.

Yes, fellow subscribers. You need to be a subscriber to enjoy all the benefits of NYT Cooking. Your subscription is what makes NYT Cooking possible. Please, if you haven’t already, I hope you will consider subscribing today.

We are meanwhile standing by to help, should anything go wrong in your kitchen or our technology. Just write [email protected] Someone will get back to you, I promise.

Now, it’s a long, long way from cardamom and pears, but you’ve got to read Hugo Lindgren’s epic story about the Jamestown Jackals, a working-class professional basketball team. It’s in GQ, though it was originally published by Victory Journal.

I loved every word of Stella Bugbee’s paean to Zizmorcore in New York Magazine, which took me back to Canal Jean circa 1982.

Here’s Amanda Petrusich on Bessie Smith, in the Oxford American.

Finally, to end where we started, I hope you’ll join me and Melissa Clark next Tuesday, March 16, for a discussion of no-recipe recipes and how to use them! I’ll be back on Friday.

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