Set aside a weekend afternoon to make this perfect winter dinner

An oval casserole dish of gnocchi gratin garnished with crispy sage leaves.
An oval casserole dish of gnocchi gratin garnished with crispy sage leaves.
Photo: Aya Brackett

If you’re in the Northeast and Midwest, you’re likely slogging through days that include snow, sleet, and grey skies. In other words, it’s the perfect weather for comfort food dishes.

This one is a bit of a project: Since gnocchi are known to be ornery, the key to getting pillowy lightness with these Italian dumplings is to add only enough flour to bring the dough together. The first thing you’ll notice with this dish is probably the rich sauce, then you’ll bite into the sublime dumplings. You’ll want to make this over the weekend.

Gnocchi Gratin

Makes: About 4 servings Time: About…

It may also change your mind about tofu

Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

Earlier this year (I believe it was just before quarantine set in) we did a sort of tofu primer, with an eye towards encouraging those of you who are anti-tofu or tofu agnostic to give this polarizing ingredient another chance. In doing so, I neglected to include the recipe that many people have told me was their gateway drug: kimchi-tofu soup.

Now that it’s basically winter, a dish like this — warm, comforting, highly flavorful, and done in 25 minutes — is a lot more than just a friendly vehicle for tofu; it’s borderline essential. The main ingredient is kimchi…

A vegetable recipe with a little beef

Shallow bowl of beef stew with large chunks of potato, garnished with chopped parsley.
Shallow bowl of beef stew with large chunks of potato, garnished with chopped parsley.
Photo: Mark Bittman

When it comes to eating, many of us like to start the year off on whatever we consider to be the “right foot.” For me, the “right foot” means cooking dishes where animal products recede into the background while plants take center stage. Not just in January, but always.

It’s a style that presents infinite opportunities. Finding myself with a pound of stew beef and a pantry full of (mostly) root vegetables, I decided to put the pressure cooker to work and produce a beef-and-root-vegetable stew that would stretch that pound of meat to serve 10 or 12 rather than…

Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Dishes to look forward to this week

A drawing of a grain bowl.
A drawing of a grain bowl.
Illustration: Elsma Ramirez

While tomorrow is a day many of us are looking forward to (and are downright relieved about), we can’t help but feel anxious post-insurrection, as we approach a staggering 400,000 lives lost since March, and a litany of other things that provoke worry. Let’s hold onto hope and find strength for the work that’s cut out for us.

Meanwhile, we still have to eat. This week, we’ve got make your own grain bowls, macaroni and cheese, and of these roasted chicken ideas, we’re into the cumin, honey, and orange option.

Grain Bowls

Makes: 6–8 servings Time: 10 minutes to more than an…

Win a print until Feb. 2: Otherwise, consider 1. and 3.

A drawing of a hamburger castle.

First off, here’s a special pre-order offer for you: A chance to win a framed, limited edition print, made just for us by the wonderful Alex Testere. Three lucky winners who pre-order my upcoming book, Animal, Vegetable, Junk, and fill out this form by February 2nd will receive a print (check them out below). Everyone who enters will receive a special postcard.

Good luck, and, as always, thank you.

Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Quick and easy winter dishes

A bowl of mussels
A bowl of mussels
Photo: Shyman/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Winter is always “the darkest season,” but this one more than most. While what we decide to cook and eat usually can’t make our problems disappear, it can soothe us, center us, fortify us, or consume our attention in welcome ways, even if only for a few minutes. For anyone in need of something to cook this week or beyond, here are five ideas that have been bouncing around my head (and my stove). For the most part, they’re simple, quick to make, don’t require any exotic or supremely expensive ingredients, and are, most importantly for the dark days ahead…

Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Unfussy basics for the start of 2021

Photo: Suzy Allman for the New York Times

Happy New Year. We would hope it’s a given that 2021 will be a marked improvement from last year. Now let’s get cooking. We’ll start with a terrific what-to-do-with-pasta-leftovers that’s actually worth planning for — pasta frittata. It’s portable, it’s endlessly versatile, and it’s practically foolproof. Substitute almost any cheese for the parmesan (or leave it out altogether) and toss in any cooked vegetable or meat: Make it your own. As for the chopped salad, this is perfect as a hearty side or a light meal — plus 8 possible additions. …

Send off this abominable year with fancy, lazy, or vegan dishes

Black Board showing “(Bye) 2020, (hello) 2021” written on it by white chalk.
Black Board showing “(Bye) 2020, (hello) 2021” written on it by white chalk.
Photo: Carmen Martínez Torrón/Moment/Getty Images

We’re a few days away from officially ushering out one of the worst years many of us can ever remember. In theory, that’s cause for celebration, but it’s not as if any of this will go away when the clock strikes midnight. I guess that’s my way of saying that I really have no idea what kind of New Year’s Eve any of you are up for this year.

What I do know is that, one way or another, you’re going to have to eat something. Maybe you want to channel a whole bunch of anxious energy into cooking for…

It’s not all about the cheese

Onions in a pan.
Onions in a pan.
Photo: Romulo Yanes

A few things: 1) It’s officially wintry enough in my world that I want to start talking about hot soup. Sorry, Phoenix. 2) Despite the headline, I have nothing against French onion soup, at least in theory.

What I am against is that the majority of restaurants that serve this dish, or used to, when we could go to restaurants, would have you believe that its most important component is a piece of toast blanketed in gooey cheese. If that were the case it should be called “open-face bread nacho with onion sauce” or something equally backward.

There’s nothing wrong…

Mark Bittman

Has published 30 books, including How to Cook Everything and VB6: The Case for Part-Time Veganism. Newsletter at

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