Weeknight Cooking

Dinner This Week: Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

This week’s menus include Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce and Fried Caper Crumbs, Dan Dan Mian (Sichuan Noodles with Chili Sauce and Pork), and Deviled Pork Chops for dinner in about an hour.
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Published Feb. 4, 2022.

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.

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Dinner 1: Pasta with Cherry Tomato Sauce and Spicy Green Salad

Game Plan: Prep and start cooking the pasta. As the sauce and pasta cook, prep the salad ingredients. Toss the salad right before serving the pasta.

Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce and Fried Caper Crumbs is perfect when you want a fresh tomato sauce in the middle of the winter. You can toss cherry tomatoes directly into the pan without any prep, and they don't need lengthy cooking to concentrate their flavor or thicken into a sauce. We pair the pasta with a Spicy Salad with Mustard and Balsamic Vinaigrette. This bold salad uses a mix of pungent greens, like arugula and watercress, that are dressed with a mustard-y vinaigrette.

Printable Shopping Lists: Pasta with Cherry Tomato Sauce and Spicy Green Salad

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Dinner 2: Dan Dan Mian and Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Game Plan: Since this menu calls for serving the Dan Dan Mian with stir-fried bok choy, you can skip the baby bok choy in the Dan Dan Mian recipe. Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Start cooking the Dan Dan Mian through step 3. Stir-fry the bok choy. Once the bok choy is done, boil the noodles and plate the Dan Dan Mian.

Dan Dan Mian, Sichuan's most popular street food, consists of chewy noodles bathed in a spicy, fragrant chili sauce and topped with crispy, deeply savory bits of pork. Gently heating Sichuan chili powder, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and cinnamon in vegetable oil for 10 minutes yields a flavorful chili oil base for the sauce. For crisp-tender Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Soy Sauce and Ginger, we separate the leaves and stalks and cook them separately. Small amounts of soy sauce and fresh ginger accent the bok choy’s fresh, vegetal flavor without overwhelming it.

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Dinner 3: Deviled Pork Chops and Steamed Kale

Game Plan: Prep and roast the chops. While the chops are in the oven, prep the ingredients for the kale. While the chops rest, steam the kale.

Our Deviled Pork Chops are slow-roasted in a low oven in order to keep the lean meat as juicy as possible. We “devil” the chops by painting them with a bold, balanced mix of sharp Dijon mustard combined with dry mustard (for an extra jolt of heat), minced garlic, and cayenne and black peppers. For textural contrast and visual appeal, we coat the tops of the chops with crispy toasted panko bread crumbs. Our Pan-Steamed Kale with Raisins and Almonds starts by cooking the greens in a small amount of chicken broth. Once the kale is just tender, we remove the lid and allow excess liquid to evaporate, then briefly sauté the greens with a few flavorings that accent but don't overpower its earthiness. 

Printable Shopping Lists: Deviled Pork Chops with Steamed Kale


To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

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