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Recipes: It’s time to get cozy, saucy and cheesy – The Denver Post

By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times

Grab a blanket: We are careening toward the end of daylight saving time, which means it’s time to get cozy, people, at least those of you who live places where the weather gets cold. I’m talking soups, casseroles, braises and everything roasted. The farro and cauliflower Parmesan below is a good place to start.

And, crazy but true, it’s also nearly time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. There are hundreds of Thanksgiving recipes for you on New York Times Cooking.

1. Farro and Cauliflower Parmesan

This dish has all of the crispy-melty-tomatoey appeal of a chicken or eggplant Parmesan, but it uses only one pot. Olive oil provides richness, and broiling lends a cheesy crunch without the mess of breading and frying. The pizzalike flavors and mellow cauliflower make it a (potentially) kid-friendly meal. Feel free to omit the olives if that makes more sense for your family. In fact, this dish is highly customizable: Add more or less red-pepper flakes, throw in some capers or use broccoli raab instead of cauliflower. Any salty, hard aged cheese will work in place of Parmesan, like asiago or pecorino. Leftovers are great crisped in the oven.

By: Sarah DiGregorio

Yield: 8 servings

Total time: 1 hour and 5 minutes


For the farro and cauliflower:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower (about 1 small cauliflower head or 1/2 large cauliflower head), florets and tender stems cut into large bite-sized pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups semi-pearled or pearled farro (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 (32-ounce) jar good-quality marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata or black olives, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 3 ounces grated Parmesan (about 3/4 cup finely grated)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic or sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Black pepper

For the topping:

  • 1 cup panko
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan (about 1/2 cup finely grated)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds


1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a 9-by-13-inch pan, combine the cauliflower, farro, marinara sauce, olive oil, olives (if using), garlic, Parmesan, sugar, onion powder, oregano, vinegar and red-pepper flakes. Season with the salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Pour in 1 2/3 cups water and stir well to combine. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

2. Uncover the pan, stir, and continue baking uncovered until the farro is tender-chewy and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes more. (If the farro has already soaked up all the sauce and the pan is looking dry, stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cup water, just to make sure the farro has enough liquid to become tender and saucy.)

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make the topping: Stir together the panko, Parmesan and olive oil.

4. Turn on the broiler. Evenly cover the top of the farro with the panko topping. Top with the sliced mozzarella. Broil on the top rack, about 6 inches from the heat source, for 2 minutes, rotating the pan once and watching carefully for burning, until the panko topping is deeply browned and the mozzarella has melted.

2. Chicken Birria

Birria, a classic Mexican stew from Jalisco, is traditionally made with goat but also enjoyed with lamb or beef. This weeknight version features juicy chicken thighs for faster cooking. A quick blender sauce of dried chiles, garlic and tomatoes creates a smoky and rich base for the stew, which deepens in flavor as the chicken simmers. Here, the birria is enjoyed as a stew, but it also makes terrific tacos: Simply dip tortillas in the warm broth, fill them with shredded chicken and top with chopped white onion and cilantro, then fold in half and pan-fry until golden and crispy.

By: Kay Chun

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 3 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large pieces
  • 3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large pieces
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons safflower or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion (from 1/2 medium onion), plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 lime, quartered, for serving
  • Rice, for serving (optional)


1. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the dried chiles and 1 cup of the broth, and bring to a boil, stirring to submerge the chiles. Remove from heat and let stand for 3 minutes. In a blender, combine the chiles and the liquid, the tomatoes and their juices, vinegar and garlic, then season with salt and pepper, and purée until smooth.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add half to the pot. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 3 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, oregano, cumin, cloves and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 2 cups broth and the puréed sauce (carefully, as it may splatter), scraping up browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add chicken (and any accumulated juices), and bring to a boil. Simmer briskly over medium, partially covered, until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through, 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

4. Divide birria among 4 bowls, and top with onion and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and rice, if using.

3. Crispy Salmon With Mixed Seeds

This recipe produces not only silky salmon with a crunchy coating of fragrant seeds, but also a shatteringly crisp skin. That’s all thanks to yogurt, which secures the seeds to the salmon and caramelizes into a crust when cooked. Mix assertive and mild seeds for a balance of textures and flavors, or swap in a ready-made seed mix like everything bagel spice or dukkah. Eat the seared salmon with more yogurt, as well as a squeeze of citrus and tuft of herbs for freshness.

By: Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed soft herb leaves and tender stems (such as mint, dill, cilantro or parsley, or a combination)
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame, millet or sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel, cumin or coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed


1. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of the herbs, and set aside the remaining herbs in a small bowl or measuring cup. Finely grate 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest. In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped herbs, lemon zest and yogurt. Season with salt. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the yogurt to a small bowl. To the small bowl, add the sesame seeds, fennel seeds and black pepper. Stir to combine.

2. Pat the salmon dry. Season both sides lightly with salt. Spread the seeded yogurt evenly over the flesh side of the salmon. (This will be a thin layer; you’ll still be able to see the flesh through the yogurt in spots).

3. Coat the bottom of a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet with the oil. Add the fish skin side down, then place the skillet over medium heat. Cook until the skin releases easily from the pan and the flesh is opaque 3/4 of the way up the sides, 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, thin the remaining yogurt with water (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) until it’s saucy and spoonable. Lightly dress the herbs with a squeeze of the lemon, then cut the remaining lemon into wedges for serving.

5. When the salmon is nearly cooked through, flip the fish, and swirl so the oil goes under the fish. Cook until the seeds are fragrant and the fish releases easily from the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. (Reduce or turn off the heat, if burning). Gently transfer the fish to plates skin side up so it doesn’t get soggy. Eat with the yogurt sauce, herb salad and lemon wedges.

4. Ramen With Charred Scallions, Green Beans and Chile Oil

Scallions can be so much more than a garnish. Raw scallions bring an assertive pungency, but when cooked, they take on a sweet tenderness that is very pleasing to the palate. In this vegan recipe, treat scallions as you would a bunch of greens. Take cues from the Chinese cooking technique used for stir-fries, and add the scallions to very hot oil to let them “bao” (to crack, explode or burst), drawing out their natural aroma. Those packets of ramen noodles stashed in your pantry are perfect for this quick yet intensely satisfying weeknight noodle dish. The chile oil makes just enough for this dish, so if you want extra for future meals, make double.

By: Hetty McKinnon

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


For the chile oil:

  • 2 tablespoons red-pepper flakes (see tip)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable or canola
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the noodles:

  • Kosher salt
  • 4 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packs discarded
  • 2 bunches scallions (10 to 12 scallions), white and green parts separated and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable or canola
  • 10 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved diagonally
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and julienned
  • White pepper
  • 1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds


1. Prepare the chile oil: Add the red-pepper flakes and salt to a heatproof bowl. Place the oil, ginger and garlic in a small saucepan, and heat over medium until it bubbles, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and very carefully pour the hot oil over the red-pepper flakes. Add the sesame seeds and sesame oil, and stir well. Set aside while you make the rest of the dish. (Chile oil can be stored in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to a month and indefinitely in the refrigerator.)

2. Prepare the noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ramen and cook according to package instructions, about 3 minutes, until the noodles are just tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain well again.

3. Slice the white parts of your scallions lengthwise, in half or quarters, depending on thickness, to make cooking faster.

4. Heat a wok or large (12-inch), deep skillet on high. When smoking hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil, toss in the green beans and season with salt. Cook, tossing the beans, for 2 to 3 minutes, until charred. Remove the beans from the wok, and set aside.

5. Heat the same wok or skillet over high, and when smoking, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, along with the scallions (white and green parts) and the ginger. Allow the scallions and ginger to sizzle for 20 to 30 seconds, to release their aromas, then stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until the scallions have a nice scorch.

6. Add the green beans and noodles back to the pan, along with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the chile oil (reserve some for serving), and season with salt and pepper. Toss well to combine, just until the noodles are heated through. To serve, divide the noodles into bowls, top with toasted sesame seeds and more chile oil.

TIP: If you want to add a tingly heat to your ramen, you can add 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns and/or 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red-pepper flakes) to the bowl with the red-pepper flakes when preparing the oil. To save on time, skip making your own chile oil, and use store-bought Sichuan chile oil.

5. Sheet-Pan Roasted Mushrooms and Spinach

If you love to cook but don’t always feel like cooking, this minimalist recipe is the recipe for you. Great with just about any protein — salmon, steak, chicken or even eggs, wrapped into an omelet — it comes together in under a half-hour, and develops loads of character from its time spent in the oven. While this versatile vegan side pairs well with protein, it’s also great over rice or noodles.

By: Millie Peartree

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 25 minutes


  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms (or any combination of mushrooms you like), trimmed and sliced
  • 3 small shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 (5-ounce) containers baby spinach


1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together mushrooms, shallots, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread in an even layer. Roast until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Add spinach to the sheet pan, toss with mushrooms, and roast until wilted, about 5 minutes, turning once after 2 or 3 minutes and drizzling with a bit of olive oil if the mixture seems dry. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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