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: Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce and Romaine Salad
Weeknight Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce rivals the depth and richness of long-cooked versions. Ground pancetta and deeply browned aromatic vegetables form a flavorful base. Tomato paste contributes brightness, while reduced beef broth and Parmesan cheese add umami richness. Romaine and Watercress Salad with Asparagus and Prosciutto can be adapted to use what you have on hand. We like the mix of crisp romaine and spicy watercress, but feel free to try different combinations of greens. Crisp bacon can be used instead of prosciutto, and almonds can stand in for the pine nuts.
Rice CookersA good rice cooker should make the task of cooking rice convenient and foolproof. We tested five models to see if any of them measured up.
Dinner 2: Indian Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice Pilaf
Murgh Makahni (Indian Butter Chicken) starts with an aromatic base of onion, garlic, ginger, and chile cooked in butter with the addition of garam masala, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. A hefty portion of tomato paste and water creates a sauce with bright acidity. Finishing with heavy cream and a little more butter gives the sauce a velvety richness. To imitate the deep charring produced by a tandoor oven, we broiled chicken thighs coated in yogurt (its milk proteins and lactose brown quickly and deeply) before cutting them into chunks and stirring them into the sauce. For Basmati Rice Pilaf with light, fluffy, aromatic grains, we first rinse the rice to remove excess starch. Then we toast whole spices in oil before toasting the rice itself. A final step of steaming ensures a dry, fluffy texture.
Kitchen TimersTiming is everything—don’t use just anything.
Dinner 3: Scrambled Eggs with Pinto Beans and Orange and Radish Salad
For our Scrambled Eggs with Pinto Beans and Cotija Cheese, we add olive oil to the eggs to tenderize them and lend richness. We then cook the eggs quickly in more olive oil, stirring constantly to create large curds. We then fold in pinto beans once the curds are well established but still a little wet so that the eggs can set up around the beans and create a cohesive dish that we garnish with salty cotija cheese and cilantro. To eliminate excess moisture in Orange and Radish Salad with Arugula, we drain the oranges before tossing them into the salad. Lime juice forms the base of a bright, bold dressing; arugula and thinly sliced radishes provide color and a mustard-y bite.