Containing a mix of light and dark meat, country-style pork ribs braise well, yielding tender meat that both flavors and absorbs the liquid they cook in. With that in mind, I built mine from rustically cut nubs of carrot, celery, onion and garlic, plus burnished tomato paste -- prepped in the same Dutch oven that's used to brown the pork. Then, the pan is deglazed with white wine, cider vinegar, chicken stock and apple cider and spiked with Dijon mustard and aromatics. After a time spent in a low oven, the whole shebang is served atop creamy mashed potatoes.
A base of roasted red pepper cream sauce swaths pre-cooked, medium-sized pasta shells. I like the sauce smooth and silky, so I purée the roasted pepper mixture before adding a combination of heavy cream and half-and-half, along with three cheeses: ricotta, Fontina, and Asiago. Italian sausage, garlic, and onions, boost the sauce with extra flavor.
This insanely delicious sandwich requires a little more prep work than most but it is absolutely worth it: Filled with juicy, shredded beef short rib, sweet and tender caramelized onions, melted Gouda cheese, and a sharp mustard sauce, then tucked into griddled marbled rye bread, they're far more than just an easy snack. This is an indulgent meal unto itself.
In recognition of the transition from summer to fall, this dish takes a summertime staple—bratwurst—and turns it into a filling with rice for stuffed cabbage rolls. The rolls are then bathed in a bacon-and-beer-infused tomato sauce and baked until tender.
This Cuban shrimp soup is ramped up with citrusy, mojo-inspired flavors. A base of sautéed onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and ample garlic gives way to an oregano- and cumin-spiked broth. Then, thin angel-hair noodles cook right in the broth, as do shell-on shrimp, which are peeled after they're poached, allowing the shells to add extra flavor in the process.
These flaky Jamaican meat patties are filled with curried ground beef, onion, garlic, and Scotch bonnet pepper, plus a slew of aromatic herbs and spices. Formed into half-moon shapes, the patties are cooked until golden in the oven—eating them is almost as good as an actual trip to Jamaica. Almost.
This take on eggplant Parmesan uses zucchini in place of the eggplant. Rather than bake the breaded, pan-fried disks as one big layered mass in a baking dish, this version features little individual stacks of alternating layers of pepperoni, a tomato sauce, fresh basil, and a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The result is something both homey and company-worthy at once.
These Mexican-flavored peppers sport a cheesy, creamy beef-and-rice filling that's spiked with chili powder and cumin. It's topped with an enchilada-style sauce and gets its depth from ancho chili and unsweetened cocoa powders and its aromatics from cumin and lightly floral Mexican oregano.
Rich, hot beer-cheese soup may not sound like ideal summer fare, but this version is made with a warm-weather cookout star—smoky grilled brats—that transform it into a dish that's seasonally appropriate. Flavored with cheddar and spiked with a bit of Velveeta for improved texture, it's my go-to meal when I want a taste of my Midwestern roots.
This Paul Prudhomme-inspired pie is essentially a sweet pastry crust filled with a savory mixture of Cajun-spiced ground pork and beef. It's topped with rich seasoned cream cheese, which turns bubbly and browned in the oven—in short, it's bliss on a plate.
What's better than pizza? Not much, but pizzaiola, a Neapolitan dish of meat cooked pizza-style, is a strong contender. Often made with steak, this indulgent version features thinly pounded pork-tenderloin medallions tied around a scamorza-cheese filling. The bundles are seared, then simmered in a rich red-wine tomato sauce. A final topping of cheese on each piece of pork and a trip under the broiler to get it browned and bubbling is the killer last step. It's delicious served on pasta.
Braised short ribs are one of the most comforting of comfort foods, but they're not exactly summer fare. By borrowing some tricks from Korean cooking—such as flavoring them with a kalbi-style sauce and topping them with refreshing green onion and pear—this version transforms them into a warm-weather-friendly main course.
This vindaloo is made with pork meatballs, an array of peppers, juicy tomatoes, and a finishing sprinkle of cilantro. Serve it with pearl couscous, which stands up nicely to the bold sauce.
Pork shoulder is beloved for good reason: it's cheap, forgiving, and it can feed an army. Those reasons alone make it a winner of a cut in my book. It's also barbecue spice-ready, too, as you'll see here. And when that version is paired with a homemade, garden-fresh condiment, it comes mighty close to being my personal version of heaven on earth.
Easy enough for a weeknight dinner but impressive enough to serve guests, this fennel, chili, and cinnamon-rubbed chicken—inspired by a Michael Chiarello spice rub—is roasted with lemon and potatoes for a delicious one-dish dinner.
There's no reason to give up soup just because warm weather has arrived. Rather, it's a great way to showcase the season's best. Case in point: this savory-sweet, luxuriously creamy corn chowder that's studded with pancetta and finished with garlicky croutons.
Pan-fried whitefish is the perfect blank canvas for a medley of fresh and bright summer flavors: sweet corn, red onion, avocado, tomatoes, and basil, all tossed in a bright lime vinaigrette. The resulting dish—quick and easy to prepare—is full of flavor and color, texture and tang.
Everyone likes pizza. Isn't that a statement of fact? Sometimes, though, it's good to switch things up. That's where stromboli comes into play. Containing all the same ingredients in a different package, it's a customizable crowd-pleaser that can be prepared many ways. Ours is stuffed with sausage, garlic, and red peppers.
A simple dish of pasta tossed in a creamy, lemony, sherry sauce, with sweet red peppers and gently poached chicken.
Red wine and herb-marinated beef tenderloin pairs with pan sauce and mint, parsley and dill-stippled horseradish cream.