What to cook this week

Hello. My girlfriend Kim Severson is the national correspondent for our Food desk. She’s based in Atlanta, and while we’re jaw-dropping 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 has not helped matters. I don’t think we’ve been able to see each other in person more than twice since March 2020.

When I want to evoke his presence, I can almost do it with his potato cavatelli. It’s a recipe she learned from her mother, whose collection of sauce-stained recipes was passed down to Kim by her father. The handwritten card this one arrived on was marked “Rats”, which is what Kim’s aunts called cavatelli, for the way the pasta curls up like a tail. The result is a hearty, delicious pasta that I like either with a thin tomato sauce topped with butter and Parmesan, or with something heartier, like this delicious braised pork all’arrabbiata (above).

Kim makes cavatelli and this links her to her Italian ancestry. I do and it binds me to my friend. One day, I hope I can do it for her in real life.

So that’s dinner for tonight. As for the rest of the week…

This one-pot chermoula and orzo shrimp uses a spicy garlic parsley-cilantro marinade to season and cook the orzo, then the shrimp. It’s a quick and easy dinner without too much cleanup. (And it’s a great way to use up last weekend herbs, if you have any.)

The tomatoes where I’m staying won’t be epic until late summer, but we’re already bringing out exceptional specimens from the greenhouses. In other words, it’s the right time to make the first gazpacho of the season, smooth with an almost frothy texture.

Creamy vegan tofu noodles for a midweek win topped with a spicy soy sauce and dark vinegar. Below the recipe are plenty of reader notes on how you might need more water than necessary to dilute the sauce, depending on the firmness of your tofu. Attend this and you will have an outstanding meal.

I love these fish tacos for how they can go into vacation mode even when you’re making them in the same kitchen you’ve been cooking in for weeks and there’s work to do in the morning. See if you don’t feel the same.

And then on Friday, you can welcome the weekend with this grilled chicken michelada, which turns the spicy flavor 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 this, but “The Bear” on FX is very good, at least if the drama, adrenaline, and heartbreak of restaurant work appeals. Julia Moskin wrote about it for The Times this week.

I’m off on a long road trip (in my head) to retrace the path of Lewis and Clark: “Undaunted Courage”, by Stephen E. Ambrose.

Finally, it’s the birthday of American monster truck driver Tom Meents. He is 55 years old. Here’s his run to the Monster Jam World Finals in May. I will be back on Monday.

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