What to Cook This Week
Good morning. My pal Kim Severson is a national correspondent for our Food desk. She’s based in Atlanta and, while we jawbone on the phone all the time, we don’t get to spend as much quality time around a dining table as when she worked in New York. The pandemic hasn’t helped matters. I don’t think we’ve been able to see one another in person more than a couple of times since March of 2020.
When I want to evoke her presence, though, I can almost do it with her potato cavatelli. It’s a recipe she learned from her mom, whose collection of sauce-stained recipes was passed along to Kim by her dad. The handwritten card that this one came on was marked “Rats,” which is what Kim’s aunts called cavatelli, for the way the pasta curls up like a tail. It results in a sturdy, delicious pasta that I like either with a thin tomato sauce amped up with butter and Parmesan or with something more substantial, like this fiery, delicious braised pork all’arrabbiata (above).
Kim makes cavatelli and it ties her to her Italian forebears. I make it and it ties me to my friend. Someday I hope I’ll get to make it for her in real life.
So that’s this evening’s repast. As for the rest of the week …
This one-pot chermoula shrimp and orzo uses a garlicky, spiced parsley-cilantro marinade to season and cook the orzo, and then the shrimp. It’s a quick and easy dinner without much cleanup. (And it’s a terrific way to use up the last of the weekend’s herbs, if you have any.)
The tomatoes where I stay won’t be epic until the end of the summer, but we’re getting some outstanding specimens out of the hot houses already. Which means it’s a good time to make the season’s first gazpacho, smooth with an almost fluffy texture.
Creamy vegan tofu noodles for a midweek win, topped with a spicy soy-and-black-vinegar sauce. Below the recipe are loads of reader notes about how you may need more water than we call for to thin the sauce, depending on the firmness of your tofu. Attend to that, and you’ll have an outstanding meal.
I love these fish tacos for the way they can engage vacation mode even when you’re making them in the same kitchen you’ve been cooking in for weeks, and there’s work in the morning. See if you don’t feel similarly.
And then on Friday you can welcome the weekend with this grilled michelada chicken, which turns the spicy tang of a michelada — beer, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and lime — into a marinade that will leave your chicken tender, delicious and slightly charred.
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I’m a little late to say so, but “The Bear” on FX is very good, at least if the drama, adrenaline and heartache of restaurant work appeals. Julia Moskin wrote about that for The Times this week.
I’m starting out on a long road trip (in my mind) to trace the path of Lewis and Clark: “Undaunted Courage,” by Stephen E. Ambrose.
Finally, it’s the American monster truck driver Tom Meents’s birthday. He’s 55. Here’s his run at the Monster Jam World Finals back in May. I’ll be back on Monday.