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
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Toast the garlic for the pasta while the pasta water comes to a boil. Boil the pasta, broiling the broccoli rabe as the pasta cooks. Let the rabe stand as you finish the pasta.
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.
Measuring SpoonsSmall design elements make a big difference.
Dinner 2: Grilled Beef Kofte and Fresh Corn Salsa with Tomato
Game Plan: Prep the kofte (steps 1 and 2) and let it stand while preparing the salsa. Once the salsa has been mixed, heat the grill and cook the kofte.
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.
The Best Kitchen TongsWhich pair offers the best precision and comfort?
Dinner 3: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts and Tomato and Burrata Salad
Game Plan: Start by baking the chicken (step 1). While the chicken is in the oven, salt the tomatoes (step 1). Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients for the chicken and salad. Sear the chicken (step 2). Assemble the salad while the chicken rests.
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.