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Volume 91

Dinner This Week: Pasta alla Norcina

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Pasta alla Norcina, Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli, and Quick White Beans with Tomatoes, Garlic, and Sage 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: Pasta alla Norcina and Arugula Salad

Pasta alla Norcina is a pasta dish that showcases flavorful pork sausage in a light cream sauce. We start by making our own sausage using store-bought ground pork and plenty of garlic. After searing the sausage we finish cooking it in a sauce of cream, wine, and mushrooms. For our Arugula Salad with Grapes, Fennel, Gorgonzola, and Pecans, we add ingredients to temper the assertiveness of the arugula while accommodating its lively flavor. Grapes and blue cheese add sweet and salty counterpoints to the sharp, peppery greens; pecans and fennel contribute crunch and freshness. For the dressing, we add a spoonful of jam, which adds fruity sweetness and pulls the flavors of the salad in line.

Printable Shopping Lists: Pasta alla Norcina with Arugula Salad

Equipment Review Food Processors

How much do you need to spend to get a machine that makes light work of chopping, slicing, shredding, and mixing?

Dinner 2: Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli with Restaurant-Style Rice

We start our Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli by tossing the shrimp with a little salt and sugar and letting them sit for 30 minutes. This not only seasons the shrimp but also helps them retain moisture during cooking. Then, rather than stir-fry the shrimp in a hot skillet as most recipes call for, we add the sauce to the pan and poach the shrimp gently in the liquid, covered, to ensure that they stay moist. We serve the stir-fry with our Chinese Restaurant-Style Rice, which is soft enough to soak up savory sauces, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. We found that rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch and that starting them in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.

Printable Shopping ListsStir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli and Chinese Restaurant-Style Rice

Equipment Review Best Woks

After years of preferring nonstick skillets to woks for making stir-fries, we decided to take a fresh look at this traditional pan.

Dinner 3: White Beans with Tomatoes and Broiled Broccoli Rabe

For Quick White Beans with Tomatoes, Garlic, and Sage we call for meaty cannellini beans, but other white beans can be swappd in, and even a mix of canned beans would be fine. We start the dish by sautéing sliced garlic and chopped sage in olive oil, then we stir in drained canned diced tomatoes and simmer the mixture to create a flavorful base. Gently cooking the creamy beans in the base (along with some chicken broth) brings all of the elements together. For our Broiled Broccoli Rabe, the intense heat of the broiler creates deep caramelization without overcooking the vegetable. 

Printable Shopping Lists: White Beans with Tomatoes and Broiled Broccoli Rabe


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.