Creamy Pasta Forever – The New York Times

Creamy Pasta Forever – The New York Times

Hello, and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. Sometimes the quickest meals are also the richest, because ingredients like cream, cheese and butter are shortcuts to satisfaction. Fat carries flavor, so you don’t need a ton of other ingredients to build a dish, or a long cooking time to develop rounded flavors. (I’m thinking about fettuccine Alfredo, or Aaron Hutcherson’s brilliant meld of spinach-artichoke dip and mac and cheese.)

Probably, eating more fat is not a goal for your weeknight cooking.

Here’s the school of thought I belong to: Barring specific dietary needs, home cooking provides better nourishment than anything you can microwave, order in or eat at a restaurant. And by the way, one reason restaurant food tastes better than ours? Fat, like the spoonfuls of melted butter that chefs use to baste the “plain” seared fish we order. So maybe let’s not beat ourselves up about the occasional creamy casserole?

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Here are five dishes for the week:

1. Baked Spinach-Artichoke Pasta

I like to make this one-pot dish taste even more like spinach-artichoke dip (where you’ll always find me at a buffet). Try adding oregano, extra garlic and something in the onion family like scallions to the skillet.

3. Sheet-Pan Shrimp Scampi

As if shrimp scampi wasn’t easy enough, now you can stick it in the oven — which clears the stovetop for cooking greens or broccoli to go alongside.

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