What To Cook This Weekend? Pasta. Definitely Pasta.

In I made the case for savoring the last remnants of summer before it's too late: whipping up a batch of easy fruit jam, freezing fresh tomatoes, that sort of thing. While there's still time for that (though not much), it's almost fall and I'm excited to start cooking like it.

Here's a list (in no particular order) of things that I looking forward to about cooking as the weather starts to cool down: 1) Recipes that warm up our kitchens (and consequently tend to make them smell really good) are now fair game. 2) Lazily stirring a bubbling pot is suddenly a comforting activity, not a sweaty nightmare. 3) Sure, when it's unbearably hot out I love cold soups, salads and other "no-cook" meals. But you know what I love even more? Cooking with heat. It's just more fun (there's a reason the phrase is "now we're cooking with gas," not "now we're puréeing cucumbers in a blender").

I can think of a million recipes that tick all the boxes (comforting, warming, leisurely, good-smelling, and delicious) for ushering in the fall, but let's start with a small subset of two. They're both pasta, for no other reason than the fact that carbo-loading is just that much more satisfying when it's not 90 degrees out. The first is Daniel's Sunday Gravy (aka Sunday Sauce) loaded with Italian sausage, meatballs, bracciole, braised pork and beef, and served over pasta. The second is a green lasagne (no meat, no tomato sauce) loaded with greens, herbs, ricotta and goat cheese). The gravy "recipe" walks you through the whole process, but doesn't include precise quantities, so if you're okay winging it a bit (and you're not a vegetarian), I'd highly recommend it. The lasagna (a recipe from The Newlywed Table) is quicker, though feel free to skip the shortcut no-boil pasta and just parboil dried lasagna noodles instead. It's also a little lighter than the gravy, though how could it not be? (FYI, after you click the lasagna link below, just scroll to the bottom to find the recipe.)

Both are worthwhile weekend cooking projects and are great to make ahead and stash in the freezer for when it really gets cold. As long as you're ready to turn on the stove, you can't go wrong. Have a wonderful weekend. Hope it involves pasta.

—Mark


This particular batch of sauce was cooked on a Tuesday (cravings don’t wait for Sunday), but gravy is meant to be a languid endeavor, so save it for the weekend.

SUNDAY GRAVY


The traditional recipe for lasagna involves quite a few steps, including making two kinds of sauce (tomato and béchamel); things are streamlined a bit here, and the result is just as good.

GREEN LASAGNA


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Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.