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Volume 36

Dinner This Week: Quick Pantry Pasta

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Garlicky Spaghetti with Green Olives, Grilled Beef Kofte, and Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts for dinner in about an hour.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

Dinner 1: Garlicky Spaghetti with Green Olives and Broiled Broccoli Rabe

The key to our Garlicky Spaghetti with Green Olives and Almonds is to make the most of the garlic. We toast 2 tablespoons of minced garlic over low heat in ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil to ensure that it cooks to a pale golden brown (any darker and its flavor becomes bitter and harsh). We then add 1/2 teaspoon of raw minced garlic near the end of cooking to take advantage of garlic’s dual personality—buttery sweet when toasted and fiery when raw. For Broiled Broccoli Rabe, we use the intense heat of the broiler to create deep caramelization without overcooking the vegetable. Because most of broccoli rabe’s bitterness comes from an enzymatic reaction triggered when the florets are cut, we keep the leafy parts whole and cut the stalks into large pieces.  

Printable Shopping Lists: Garlicky Spaghetti with Green Olives and Broiled Broccoli Rabe

Equipment Review Measuring Spoons

Small design elements make a big difference.

Dinner 2: Grilled Beef Kofte and Fresh Corn Salsa with Tomato

For Grilled Beef Kofte, we skip the traditional bread panade in favor of a little gelatin, which retains moisture and keeps the patties tender. Ground pine nuts add richness and keep the kofte from being too springy. Steeping corn kernels in boiling water with a touch of baking soda works like magic to soften the raw corn for a side dish of Fresh Corn Salsa with Tomato. As the corn steeps, its hulls soften just enough that they aren’t leathery, but the kernels still burst with crisp sweetness.

Printable Shopping Lists: Grilled Beef Kofte and Fresh Corn Salsa with Tomato

Equipment Review Kitchen Tongs

Which pair offers the best precision and comfort?

Dinner 3: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts and Tomato and Burrata Salad

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook quickly, but they’re also notoriously dry and bland. To keep our Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts moist (and well-seasoned), we salt them and then gently parcook them in a low oven. We then coat the breasts in a protective layer of oil and cornstarch and sear them in a hot skillet to develop a crisp crust. Tomato and Burrata Salad with Pangrattato and Basil is our deluxe version of a Caprese-inspired salad. Creamy, soft burrata is paired with standard tomatoes and sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. A topping of Italian pangrattato (garlicky bread crumbs) helps bring the dish together, soaking up both the tomato juice and the burrata cream.

Printable Shopping Lists: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts and Tomato and Burrata Salad


View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.