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Volume 53

Dinner This Week: Baked Four-Cheese Pasta

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta, Steak Tips with Mushroom-Onion Gravy, and Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches with Tzatziki Sauce 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: Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta with Arugula Salad

Our Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta is the ultimate adult version of mac and cheese. It starts with a flavorful blend of four Italian cheeses: fontina, Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano, and Parmesan. Combining the hot bechamel sauce and pasta with the cheese—and not cooking the cheese in the sauce—preserves the fresh flavor of the the different cheeses. A crisp topping of bread crumbs and more Parmesan is the perfect finishing touch. To balance the rich pasta, we recommend an Arugula Salad with Figs, Prosciutto, Walnuts, and Parmesan. For this salad, we found that a vinaigrette made with mustard was too spicy to pair with the arugula; our surprise solution was to add a spoonful of jam, which added fruity sweetness, pulling the flavors right in line.

Printable Shopping Lists: Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta and Arugula Salad

Equipment Review 13 by 9-inch Broiler-Safe Baking Dishes

We love our winning rectangular glass and metal baking dishes, but they’re not broiler-safe. We set out to find a table-worthy baking dish that could handle the broiler’s heat and was easy to use.

Dinner 2: Steak Tips with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes with Scallions

Our one-pan Steak Tips with Mushroom-Onion Gravy calls for relatively inexpensive sirloin tips, which have lots of marbling for flavor and tenderness. We combine dried porcini mushrooms with deeply browned onions and white mushrooms for a rich sauce that we finish with sprinkles of minced garlic and woodsy thyme. Mashed Potatoes with Scallions start with rich, satisfying mashed potatoes made with just the right amounts of butter and half-and-half. We then jazz things up by adding two types of horseradish (fresh and prepared), along with fresh-tasting scallion greens.

Printable Shopping ListsSteak Tips with Mushroom-Onion Gravy and Mashed Potatoes with Scallions and Horseradish

Dinner 3: Lamb Pita Sandwiches with Chopped Carrot Salad

For Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches with the same flavors and textures as restaurant gyros, we pan-fry ground lamb patties seasoned with oregano, onion, and minced garlic. To ensure that the patties are juicy, we add a panade (a paste of fresh bread crumbs and milk), substituting pita crumbs for the traditional bread crumbs. Chopped Carrot Salad with Mint, Pistachios, and Pomegranate Seeds starts by finely chopping carrots in the food processor instead of grating them by hand. This procduces a delicately crunchy, light-textured base in just seconds. We save even more time by not peeling the carrots; scrubbing them is sufficient, and the skins contribute a subtle but pleasant bitterness. Plenty of fresh mint, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pistachios brighten things up and a lively dressing brings the salad together.

Printable Shopping Lists: Lamb Pita Sandwiches and Chopped Carrot 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.