The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

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Ricotta and Black Pepper Gnudi With Sage and Brown Butter

Normally I'm all about innovation and deep digging and hardcore testing here at The Food Lab. But this time I'm starting with a dish so iconic, so incredible, so damn-near-flawless in its original form that the best I can possibly hope to do is tweak it just a bit to suit my very particular personal tastes. I'm talking about the ricotta gnudi at The Spotted Pig, April Bloomfield's West Village gastropub. Thin, thin pasta surrounds a core of creamy, explosive sheep's milk ricotta all served in a brown butter and sage sauce. And the good news is that my favorite dish isn't even that hard to make. More

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Tamale Pie With Brown Butter Cornbread Crust

I've been on a tamale pie kick ever since updating my mom's classic recipe a couple months ago by adding a brown butter cornbread crust. Essentially an olive-packed chili baked underneath a sweet cornbread crust, it's one of the all-in-one comfort classics that never fails to bring big smiles and full bellies in its wake. This 100% vegetarian version is no different. More

Crispy Potato and Chorizo Tacos

Crispy potato and chorizo are a classic taco combination—one that taco trucks usually get wrong. The ideal potato and chorizo taco should be deeply browned and flavorful, each crisp cube of potato coated in a thin layer of bright red fat packed with spicy, meaty flavor. The chorizo itself should have a range of textures from tender and moist to crisp. More

Fully Loaded Vegan Queso Dip

The ultimate party snack, now in a 100% animal product-free form. This vegan queso dip is packed with a gooey cashew and potato-based nacho sauce, soy-lentil chorizo, avocados, scallions, tomatoes with chilies, and black beans. The flavor is so good even your omnivore friends won't know that it's vegan. More

Vegan Chorizo for Omnivores

I wanted to make a vegan chorizo recipe that doesn't just come close to regular chorizo in the flavor department, but outright nails it. I wanted a meat-free chorizo with textural contrast up the wazoo, and a chorizo that changes texture as you cook it just like its meat-based counterpart. I wanted a chorizo that is tangy, rich, and complex. In short, I wanted nothing less than the best darned meat-free chorizo around. And what I want, I get. More

The Ultimate Rich and Creamy Vegan Ramen With Roasted Vegetables and Miso Broth

This is the bowl of vegetarian ramen I've been working towards ever since I first ventured into the vegetable-based foothills of Mount Ramen two years ago. It has a rich, creamy broth that's layered with flavor and thick enough to coat the noodles as they're slurped from the bowl, plus little pools of glistening, flavorful fat, and four different toppings that deliver on texture and flavor. This is hands-down the best bowl of ramen I've ever made. And it can all be yours, with a little bit of heavy-duty climbing, that is. More

Sichuan-Style Braised Eggplant With Pickled Chilies and Garlic (Yu Xiang Qie Zi)

Despite its translation—"fish fragrant eggplant,"—yu xiang qie zi actually contains no seafood or meat products whatsoever. It gets its name from the combination of hot, sour, and sweet flavors that are typically served with fish in its native Sichuan. Smoky eggplant is stir-fried until tender, then tossed with a quick sauce flavored with chilies, black vinegar, sugar, and ginger, and garlic for a hearty, flavor-packed dish that comes together in one wok with minimal effort. More

Ragú Napoletano (Neapolitan-Style Italian Meat Sauce with Pork, Beef, and Sausage)

If you were to pick a president and el tigre numero uno of the ragù world, it'd be ragù Napoletano, a meaty stew with big chunks of beef, pork, and sausages simmered until fall-apart tender in a rich tomato sauce flavored with wine, onions, garlic, basil, and plenty of good Southern Italian olive oil. It's the precursor to Italian-American Sunday gravy: just add some meatballs, serve it with spaghetti, and you're there. It's also the perfect dish for a lazy Sunday with family or friends at home. More

Quick and Easy Skillet Tamale Pie With Brown Butter Cornbread Crust

Tamale pie is a dish that screams for an update. I mean, it's cornbread and chili all rolled into one! Just imagine how great it could be if we took the time to make a real, deeply flavored, meaty chili from scratch, eschewing the dump-and-stir approach and instead building up layers of spices and aromatics. Now imagine that chili topped with tender, moist, crisp-edged, buttery cornbread with those chili juices seeping up into it as it bakes in the oven. That's the kind of meal I'd love to come home to after a long day out in the cold. Wouldn't you? More

Lasagna Napoletana (Lasagna With Sausage, Smoked Cheese, and Meatballs)

We all know about lasagna Bolognese, the Northern Italian casserole made with fresh pasta layered with cheese sauce and a slow-cooked meat sauce enriched with cream. But what if I told you that there was another lasagna out there every bit as decadent, involved, rib-sticking, and delicious? I introduce to you Lasagna Napoletana, a lasagna that comes stuffed with an insanely meaty and savory red sauce, small tender-crisp meatballs, slices of sausage, and not one, not two, not even three, but four types of cheese. Are you ready to have your gut busted and your mind blown? Let's go. More

The Best Meatball Pizza

Growing up in New York, I'd never eaten a meatball pizza. Pizza is for eating out, meatballs are home cooking. It wasn't until I tasted the meatball pizza at Motorino and then at Best Pizza in Williamsburg that I discovered how great the idea is. It's two Italian-American favorites, all rolled into one spectacularly comforting dish. But like all mashups, there's a bit of finesse to getting it right. Here's how I make mine. More

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