The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

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Use Your Cast Iron Pan and a Tortilla to Make World Class Bar-Style Pizza in Under 12 Minutes

In the catalog of easy, cheat-y pizza recipes that start with some form of pre-baked bread base, flour-tortilla pizzas ranked pretty low on my list. But after this week, all that has changed and I'm now going to take the position that given the proper technique, a couple of tricks, and the aid of a cast iron skillet, flour tortillas are actually the best way to make quick thin-and-crisp, bar-style pizza at home. More

Extra-Crispy Bar-Style Tortilla Pizza

Bar pies are the pizza for those who love thin crusts, and while making them from scratch is doable, sometimes you just need that pizza NOW. Far from being a compromise, tortilla-based pizzas are in fact the ideal quick and easy-way to make a super-crisp, extra-thin crust for a full-on pizza experience in under 15 minutes from start to finish. More

Extra-Crispy Bar-Style Tortilla Pizza Supreme

Bar pies are the ideal pizza for those who love thin crusts, and while making them from scratch is doable, sometimes you just need that pizza NOW. Far from being a compromise, tortilla-based pizzas are in fact the ideal quick and easy-way to make a super-crisp, extra-thin crust for a full-on pizza experience in under 15 minutes from start to finish. More

How to Make Traditional Cassoulet (And Why You Should Put Chicken in It!)

The first time I had cassoulet in its home turf it was a revelation. This loose, almost soup-like stew of beans and meat was so far removed from all versions of cassoulet I'd had in the United States, or even in other parts of France. It was a large, bubbling vat of beans and meat, covered in a crust so dark that it was almost black. Rich, meaty, and overwhelmingly simple, the main flavor was just that of the cured meat, a good stock, and beans. Here's how to make it at home. More

Traditional French Cassoulet

The first time I had cassoulet in its home turf it was a revelation. This loose, almost soup-like stew of beans and meat was so far removed from all versions of cassoulet I'd had in the United States, or even in other parts of France. It was a large, bubbling vat of beans and meat, covered in a crust so dark that it was almost black. Rich, meaty, and overwhelmingly simple, the main flavor was just that of the cured meat, a good stock, and beans. More

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make a Simple Salad Worth Eating

If you're like most people, you've probably been so hammered by thick, gloppy bottled dressings or overdressed, soggy greens that you've forgotten what a pleasure a nice, light, side salad really is. Good thing it's pretty easy once you know the basic steps. Here's how to make your simple side salad the right way—it's my go-to counterpoint for rich and heavy fall and winter dishes. More

How to Make the Best Chicken Parm Sandwiches? Start With Great Chicken Parm

To make the best chicken Parm sandwich, just start with the best chicken Parmesan. Our version uses a buttermilk brine for extra juiciness and flavor. We take the leftovers and pack them into a full-sized loaf of toasted ciabatta, adding some extra sauce and cheese to keep the bread moist before cutting it up into single serving slices. This is a chicken Parm sandwich so good it's almost worth making the chicken Parm fresh just for the sandwich. More

The Food Lab: Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles (and Make Your Coworkers Jealous)

Despite all of the pleasures of instant noodles—the salty, MSG-packed broth, the little freeze-dried nubs of vegetables, the slippery, way-too-soft noodles—wouldn't it be great if you could get all of that same convenience and pleasure—the portability, the just-add-water cooking, the lunch-sized portions—but pack it full of fresh vegetables and real, honest-to-goodness flavor? Here's a secret: you can, and it's easier than you think. More

The Food Lab: For the Best Chicken Parmesan, Take a Lesson From the South

Even at its worst, classic Italian-American chicken parmesan is pretty darn good. So how do you go about perfecting it? Our recipe has a buttermilk-based brine for maximum juiciness and tenderness. Tons of Parmesan cheese in our breading—along with a small drizzle of buttermilk—improves its flavor and texture. Our sauce is a slow-cooked, rich red sauce, and a mixture of fresh mozzarella and real Parmigiano-Reggiano top it off. More

The Best Chicken Parmesan

Even at its worst, classic Italian-American chicken parmesan is pretty darn good. So how do you go about perfecting it? Our recipe has a buttermilk-based brine for maximum juiciness and tenderness. Tons of Parmesan cheese in our breading—along with a small drizzle of buttermilk— improves its flavor and texture. Our sauce is a slow-cooked, rich red sauce, and a mixture of fresh mozzarella and real Parmigiano-Reggiano top it off. More

American Chop Suey: The Cheesy, Beefy, Misnamed Stovetop Casserole That Deserves a Comeback

Beefaroni, macaroni and beef, chili mac, Johnny Marzetti, or American chop suey, call it what you will, but whatever its origins, there's one thing for sure: the stuff is delicious. Tender pasta with a rich tomato and beef sauce flavored with garlic and oregano, cooked together with onions and peppers, and finished with cheese, this is Italian-American comfort food at its finest. Not only that, but it's a ridiculously easy dish to put together, cooked 100% on the stovetop, and requiring nothing more than a pot, a bowl, and about half an hour of your time. More

American Chop Suey (Macaroni, Beef, and Cheese Skillet Casserole)

Beefaroni, macaroni and beef, chili mac, Johnny Marzetti, or American chop suey, call it what you will, but whatever its origins, there's one thing for sure: the stuff is delicious. Tender pasta with a rich tomato and beef sauce flavored with garlic and oregano, cooked together with onions and peppers, and finished with cheese, this is Italian-American comfort food at its finest. Not only that, but it's a ridiculously easy dish to put together, cooked 100% on the stovetop, and requiring nothing more than a pot, a bowl, and about half an hour of your time. More

How to Make Rich and Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo That Won't Weigh You Down

Don't get me wrong—I'm not a health nut or calorie counter. But let's face it: the feeling you get after downing a bowl of creamy, cheesy Fettuccine Alfredo ain't the best. Wouldn't it be great to have a quick and easy version that has all the flavor of the cream-packed original, but with a cleaner flavor that doesn't leave you in a food coma? More

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo

Don't get me wrong—I'm not a health nut or calorie counter. But let's face it: the feeling you get after downing a bowl of creamy, cheesy Fettuccine Alfredo ain't the best. Wouldn't it be great to have a quick and easy version that has all the flavor of the cream-packed original, but with a cleaner flavor that doesn't leave you in a food coma? More

The Food Lab: Use the Oven to Make the Best Darned Italian American Red Sauce You've Ever Tasted

This is red sauce. The slow-cooked, rib-sticking Italian-American stew designed to fill you up with equal parts flavor and pride. It's the kind of sauce for which you open up the windows while you're cooking just to make sure that everyone else in the neighborhood knows what you're up to. It's the kind of sauce you want your meatballs swimming in, your chicken parm bathed in, and the sauce that you want not just tossed with your spaghetti, but spooned on top in quantities that'd make a true Italian cry out in distress. The kind of sauce that tastes like it took all day to make, because it really took all day to make. And the best part? This version is worth every minute. More

The Best Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce

This rich and hearty red sauce tastes like it's been cooked for hours, because it has. The secret to rich, naturally sweet, complex flavors is to cook the sauce in the oven, allowing the surface to brown while the sauce slowly concentrates. The resultant sauce is great on pasta, with meatballs, on your chicken parm, or scooped right out of the pan with a spoon on its own. More

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