Even with the best-laid plans, cooking during these strange times can be a challenge. So we've put together three recipe pairings, each with an entree and a side, that call for ingredients you may already have on hand. But if you don't have a particular ingredient or the supermarket is out of stock, don't worry; we've also provided ideas for subsitutions.
Dinner 1: Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta and Sautéed Garlic-Lemon Spinach
Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta calls for a flavorful blend of four Italian cheeses: fontina, Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano, and Parmesan. But feel free to experiment with different types of cheese. In total, you want to use about 2 cups of a “melty” cheese such as fontina, cheddar, Gruyère, or Monterey Jack, and ¾ cup of a hard cheese such as Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino Romano. For our Sautéed Garlic-Lemon Spinach, we prefer the sweet flavor and hearty texture of flat-leaf spinach, but curly spinach, Swiss chard, or Tuscan Kale (remove the stems before cooking) will also work. It's a good idea to avoid baby spinach because it will overwilt using this method.
Dinner 2: New England Fish Chowder and Green Beans
Any type of white flaky fish can be used in New England Fish Chowder. Cod and haddock are our favorites, but pollock, hake, or even tilapia can be substituted. If you don’t have salt pork, pancetta is a good stand-in. Bacon can also be used, but expect a hint of smoke. The flavorings for Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic and Herbs can be altered to suit what you have on hand. Feel free to use dried thyme (reduce to ¼ teaspoon) instead of fresh, or swap in another fresh herb. No lemons? Finish with a touch of balsamic vinegar instead.
Dinner 3: Pasta e Ceci and Steamed Broccoli
Pasta e Ceci is simple to prepare, yet packed full of satisfying flavor. The pancetta adds a meaty backbone, but it can be omitted. The anchovy provides depth, but it's OK to leave it out (or try adding ½ teaspoon of fish sauce). Any type of small, short pasta can be used in place of the ditalini. Steamed Broccoli is great served with just a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. It’s also nice tossed with Garlic, Basil, and Lemon Butter or Shallot-Herb Butter.