Here’s another recipe that uses staples from the pantry and freezer. Brown sliced sausage and garlic, add orzo and cook for a few minutes. Add broth, tomatoes and spices and simmer for about 9 minutes. Scatter shrimp and peas over orzo, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve. Cook’s note: I had some leftover cooked chicken, so I added that to the sausage and heated it through.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Free From hot Italian sausages and Imagine Organic chicken stock. Unico or Blue Menu tomatoes are additive-free. Check the spices for colour and anti-caking agents. Look for frozen shrimp with only salt added.

Brown sausage

Add orzo

Add tomatoes, stock and spices

Once orzo has absorbed liquid and is tender, top with shrimp and peas, cook for 5 minutes and then let rest off the heat for 5 minutes before serving

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

8 ounces (226 g) cooked hot or sweet Italian chicken sausage, cut into ¼ -inch- (0.6-cm) thick rounds

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ cups dried orzo pasta (10 ounces/285 g)

2 cups (500 ml) low-sodium chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce/428 ml) can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon (5 ml) smoked paprika

¾ teaspoon (3.75 ml) kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper, divided

8 ounces (226 g) uncooked peeled and deveined large shrimp, thawed if frozen (26 to 30 shrimp per pound)

½ cup (125 ml) frozen peas

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preparation:

Heat oil in a 9- or 10-inch (23-25 cm) cast iron or straight-sided skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.

Add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes and their juices, paprika, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of the salt and ¼ (1.25 ml) teaspoon of the pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, undisturbed, until the orzo is almost al dente, the liquid has reduced by about half, and there is tight, rapid bubbling, 7 to 9 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and season with remaining ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) each salt and pepper.

Scatter the shrimp and peas over the orzo, cover, and cook until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to rest, covered, for 5 minutes, allowing any residual liquid in the skillet to be absorbed. Top with the parsley and serve. Serves 4.

From Kitchn

This recipe from the New York Times uses canned tomatoes, canned black beans, tortillas, cheese, onions, peppers, garlic and spices — items most of us have in the pantry, fridge and freezer these days. Cooks the onions, pepper and garlic and then add cumin. Transfer half the mixture to a blender or food processor, add tomatoes, chili powder and hot sauce (if using) and blend. Add black beans and cheese to the vegetables in the pan. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Assemble the enchiladas and place them in a dish, top with sauce and more cheese. Bake and serve with your favourite garnish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the spices don’t contain colour and anti-caking agents. Unico or Blue Menu tomatoes are additive-free, as are Blue Menu black beans. Original flavour Tabasco is additive-free. Check the cheese to make sure it doesn’t contain colour and look for tortillas without preservatives, such as PC Original flour tortillas. No Name sour cream is additive-free.

Cook onion, pepper and garlic

Blend half the vegetable mixture with tomatoes

Add black beans and half of cheese to remaining vegetables

Assemble enchiladas and top with remaining cheese and sauce

Bake until cheese has melted

Vegetarian bean and cheese enchiladas

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper or poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and cut into ¼ -inch (0.64-cm) pieces

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) ground cumin

1 (15-ounce/443 ml) can fire-roasted tomatoes, preferably crushed

2 teaspoons (10 ml) chili powder

½ teaspoon (5 ml) hot sauce or 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (optional)

¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream, plus more for serving (optional)

2 (15-ounce/443 ml) cans black beans, rinsed

5 ounces (142 g) mild Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 1 ¼  cups/310 ml)

10 to 12 (6-inch/15-cm) soft corn or flour tortillas

Fresh cilantro leaves and stems, for serving

Preparation:

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and charred in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Transfer half the vegetable mixture to a blender; add the tomatoes, chili powder and hot sauce. Blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (If your blender isn’t particularly strong and the sauce looks more like a chunky purée, add ¼ cup/60 ml sour cream and blend again until smooth.)

Add the black beans and ½ cup (125 ml) cheese to the remaining vegetables in the skillet and stir to combine. Some canned beans are already salted, so taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Spread out the tortillas directly on the oven rack and heat until warmed and pliable, 1 to 2 minutes, then wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm. Pour half the enchilada sauce (about 1 ½  cups/375 ml) into a medium casserole dish or a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm)baking pan and spread it to cover the bottom of the dish.

Line up the filling, tortillas and baking dish in a row. Place a little more than ¼ cup (60 ml) of the bean mixture in the center of one tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place in the casserole dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup (180 ml) cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Top with sour cream and cilantro and serve immediately. The sauce and the black bean mixture, minus the cheese, can be made, covered in an airtight container and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This warming dish from chef Meera Sodha turns chicken thighs into a fragrant and delicious dish to be served over rice. Cook spices and onions, add ginger and garlic, and then add tomatoes and more spices. Add yogurt, bring to a simmer and then add the chicken. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about a half hour. Add sliced almonds, garam masala and cayenne and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter does not contain colour. Check the spices to be sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Unico and Blue Menu tomatoes are additive-free, as are No Name tomato paste and slivered almonds. Use an all-natural yogurt.

Cook the onions

Make a ginger, garlic and pepper paste

Add paste to onions and spices

Add tomatoes and chicken and simmer for about 30 minutes

Meera Sodha's chicken curry

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee

1 tablespoon neutral oil, like canola

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 cinnamon sticks, approximately 2 inches long

2 large white or yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped

1 2 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or minced

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 green cayenne or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into half-moons

Kosher salt, to taste

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons puréed tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

3 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt, plus 1 cup to serve with the meal

1 ¾ to 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons slivered almonds

1 teaspoon garam masala

Pinch ground cayenne pepper, or to taste.

Preparation:

Melt the butter or ghee in the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, and when it is hot and shimmering, add the cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often, to intensify their flavors, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic and peppers into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, and smash them together into a coarse paste. (You can also do this on a cutting board, with a knife.)

Add the paste to the onions, and cook for 2 minutes or so, then pour in the tomatoes, and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then add the tomato paste, ground cumin, ground turmeric and another pinch of salt, and stir to combine.

Add the yogurt slowly to the mixture, using a wooden spoon to whisk it into the sauce. It may be quite thick. When it begins to bubble, add the chicken. Lower the heat, put the lid on the Dutch oven and allow the curry to cook gently for 30 minutes or so, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the almonds and the garam masala, along with a pinch of cayenne, and cook for 5 minutes more or so. Serve with basmati rice or naan, and the additional yogurt. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

I don’t know about you, but recent events have me yearning for comfort food and this baked pasta dish from Alison Roman in a recent issue of Bon Appetit fits the bill. While the pasta cooks, cook leeks and then add red pepper flakes and chopped broccoli rabe. Combine the cooked pasta with the leek-broccoli rabe mixture, then add cream, cheese, chives and some of the pasta cooking water. Put the mixture into a baking dish, top with breadcrumbs and cheese and bake for about 35 minutes. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the cheddar does not contain colour and the red pepper flakes do not contain colour. I used 4C brand of panko for the topping.

Cook the leeks until soft and beginning to brown

Add the broccoli rabe and cook until it begins to wilt

Mix leeks and broccoli rabe with chives, cream and cheese. Place in baking dish and top with breadcrumbs and more cheese.

Bake until browned and bubbling

Sprinkle with chives and serve

Ingredients:

Kosher salt

1 lb. (454 g) rigatoni, ziti, or fusilli

8 Tbsp. (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced into half-moons

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. (5 ml) – or more – crushed red pepper flakes

2 bunches broccoli rabe or 3 bunches baby broccolini, trimmed, coarsely chopped

1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

12 oz. (340 g) sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated (about 3 cups/750 ml), divided

1 cup (250 ml) chopped chives, divided

1 cup (250 ml) coarse fresh breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425° F (218° C). Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous amount of salt. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking together, until just barely al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup (250 ml) pasta cooking liquid.

While you are cooking the pasta, get the broccoli rabe going. Heat 5 Tbsp. (75 ml) oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium–high. Add leeks and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened (but not so much that they don’t have any texture left) and starting to brown, 8–10 minutes.

Add red pepper flakes to leeks and stir to incorporate. Add broccoli rabe by the handful, stirring to combine and allowing each addition to wilt before adding more. Season with salt and black pepper. Once all of the broccoli rabe has been added, cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.

Add pasta to reserved broccoli rabe mixture along with cream, three-quarters of the cheese, ½ cup (125 ml) chives, and reserved pasta cooking liquid; mix well. Season with salt and black pepper and add more red pepper flakes if you prefer more heat (keep in mind that the saltiness and spiciness will increase as the pasta bakes).

Transfer pasta to a 3-qt. (2.8 L) baking dish (or, if your Dutch oven is ovenproof, just leave it in there). Toss breadcrumbs and remaining 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) oil in a medium bowl until coated; season with salt and black pepper. Scatter over pasta, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Bake until pasta is bubbling across the entire surface and breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Scatter remaining chives over pasta just before serving. Serves 6-8.

From Bon Appetit

This recipe from Canadian Living is another great sheet pan dinner. Cook the seasoned vegetables for 15 minutes or so and then add the seasoned shrimp and sausage and cook another 8 minutes or so. Cook’s note: I used hot Italian sausage, which I microwaved for a few minutes to ensure it would be done at the same time as the shrimp. I covered the sheet pan with parchment paper so the food wouldn’t stick (and it makes it easier to clean the pan).

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the Cajun seasoning (or the spices you are using to make your own) doesn’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Free From hot Italian sausages and frozen organic shrimp with only salt added as a preservative.

Roast vegetables for about 15 minutes

Add shrimp and sausage and cook until done

Cajun shrimp and sausage sheet pan dinner

Ingredients:

1 lb (450 g) mini potatoes, halved

1 sweet red pepper, cut in large chunks

1 sweet green pepper, cut in large chunks

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil , divided

4 teaspoons (20 ml) Cajun seasoning (see recipe below)

¾ teaspoons (3.75 ml) smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt and pepper

1 lb (450 g) shrimp (31 to 40 count), peeled and deveined

2 links smoked farmer’s sausages (about 5 oz/150 g), cut in chunks

1 lemon, cut in wedges

Preparation:

Cajun seasoning

Combine 1 tsp (5 ml) each dried thyme, paprika and packed brown sugar, ½ tsp (2.5 ml) each ground cumin, dry mustard and hot pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt.

Sheet pan dinner

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

On prepared pan, toss together potatoes, red pepper, green pepper, 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the oil, Cajun seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper. Bake until potatoes are almost tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat shrimp dry; place in large bowl. Add sausage and remaining oil, tossing to coat.

Remove pan from oven; push vegetables to edges of pan. Arrange shrimp mixture in single layer in centre. Return to oven; bake until vegetables are tender and shrimp are pink and opaque, about 8 minutes. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This delicious, salty spicy dish from the New York Times comes together quickly, making it ideal for a quick supper. Combine red-pepper flakes with soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook orange rind and peanuts in oil and then pour over the red-pepper mixture to create a chile oil. While you cook the noodles, cook ground chicken until browned and cooked through. Remove the orange rind from the oil, add the oil to the cooked chicken in the pan, add the noodles and toss to coat. Cook’s note: I used spaghetti noodles instead of udon noodles and chopped scallions instead of chives.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the red-pepper flakes, peanuts and noodles do not contain additives or preservatives. I used tamari instead of soy sauce and Spectrum Natural sesame oil.

Combine red-pepper flakes, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Cook orange rind and peanuts in oil

Add rind and peanuts to red-pepper-flake mixture to create a chile oil

Spread ground chicken across the bottom of the skillet and cook until browned and cooked through

Remove rind from chile oil and then add oil to cooked chicken. Add noodles, toss to combine and then serve, topped with chives or scallions

Ingredients:

1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) red-pepper flakes

1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed

Kosher salt and black pepper

½ cup (125 ml) plus 1 tablespoon (15 ml) neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola

6 tablespoons (90 ml) roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Rind of ½ orange, peeled into 2- to 3-inch (5- to 7.6-cm) strips

1 pound (454 g) ground chicken

10 to 12 ounces (285 to 340 g) ramen or udon noodles, preferably fresh

3 tablespoons (45 ml) finely chopped chives

Preparation:

In a medium heatproof bowl, stir together the red-pepper flakes, soy sauce and sesame oil. Set next to the stovetop.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch/30 cm) skillet over medium heat, cook the ½ cup oil, peanuts and orange rind, shaking the pan occasionally, until the peanuts are golden and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately pour the contents of the skillet over the red-pepper mixture (be careful of splattering!) and set aside. (Once cool, the chile oil will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks in an airtight container.)

Meanwhile, in the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) oil over medium-high. Add the chicken and press it down with a wooden spoon into a thin layer. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper and cook, without stirring, occasionally pressing the layer of chicken down, until the bottom is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Break the chicken up into small pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more.

While the chicken cooks, cook the noodles according to package directions, until chewy but not soft. Drain and toss with a bit of sesame oil.

Remove and discard the orange rind from the chile oil. Off the heat, add the chile oil to the chicken and stir to coat, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Top with chives and serve at once. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This tasty stew from the New York Times is a great weekend dinner. Brown skinless chicken legs or thighs and set aside. Cook onion and garlic, add tomatoes and spices and simmer. Add the chicken back to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cauliflower and olives and cook for another 20 minutes. Add parsley and serve over rice, garnished with feta cheese. Cook’s note: I used green olives instead of Kalamata olives.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden organic red wine vinegar and Unico tomatoes. Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. If using olives, check the ingredients for additives. I used President’s Choice garlic-stuffed green olives.

Brown the chicken and set aside

Simmer the chicken in the tomato sauce

Add the cauliflower and olives

Serve the stew over rice and top with feta cheese

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 large red onion, chopped

2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced

6 to 8 chicken legs and/or thighs, skinned

2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar

1 28-ounce (793 g) can chopped tomatoes, with juice, pulsed in a food processor

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) cinnamon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon (2.5  ml) dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh thyme leaves

1 small or ½ large cauliflower, cored, broken into florets, and sliced about ½ -inch (1.25-cm) thick

12 kalamata olives (about 1.6 oz/45 grams), rinsed, pitted and cut in half (optional)

1 to 2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 to 2 ounces (28-56 g) feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

Preparation:

Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep, heavy lidded skillet or casserole and brown the chicken, in batches if necessary, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the pieces to a plate or bowl as they’re browned. Pour off the fat from the pan. Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil to the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, cover and let the onion cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until it is lightly browned and very soft.

Add the garlic and stir together for a minute or two more, until the garlic is fragrant, then add the tomatoes and their juice, the cinnamon, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is reduced slightly and fragrant.

Return the chicken pieces to the pot, along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. If necessary, add enough water to barely cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and kalamata olives and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the chicken is just about falling off the bone. Stir in the parsley, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with grains, with the feta sprinkled on top if desired.

Serve with rice. Serves 4-6.

From the New York Times

This recipe from Air Fryer Perfection makes a lovely salad or side dish with grilled fish or meat. Roast the peppers in an air fryer, on the grill, over the direct flame of a gas burner or under the broiler. Peel and slice, then toss with a balsamic vinaigrette, fresh mozzarella, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a balsamic vinegar with no sulfites added. Make sure the fresh mozzarella is additive-free and that the pine nuts do not contain preservatives.

Place peppers in air fryer or use another method to roast them.

The peppers are ready when they are soft and the skins are brown and wrinkled

Peel peppers, slice and toss with vinaigrette, fresh mozzarella, basil and pine nuts

Ingredients:

2 large or 4 small bell peppers (red, orange and/or yellow)

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

2 oz (57 g) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces

2 tbsp (30 ml) torn fresh basil

1 tbsp (15 ml) pine nuts, toasted

Preparation:

Trim ½ inch (1.25 cm) from top and bottom of bell peppers. Using paring knife, remove ribs, core and seeds and discard. Arrange bell peppers in air-fryer basket on their sides. Place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 400 degrees F (204 C). Cook bell peppers until skins are brown and wrinkled and have collapsed, 25-30 minutes, flipping and rotating the peppers halfway through cooking.

If not using an air fryer, cook the peppers on a grill, over direct flame or under the broiler.

Transfer bell peppers to bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes.

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) salt and 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) pepper together in serving dish. Uncover bowl to let bell peppers cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, peel peppers and discard skin, then cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) wide strips. Add bell peppers and mozzarella to bowl with dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil and pine nuts and serve. Serves 2-3.

From Air Fryer Perfection

This recipe from Food and Wine is another great baked pasta dish. Cook the pasta and set aside. Simmer cream and salt and add cheese to create a sauce. Combine pasta and sauce and broil until browned. Serve with thinly sliced prosciutto. Cook’s note: I don’t like nutmeg in the sauce; I used hot pepper flakes instead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the cheese does not contain colour or other additives. Check the nutmeg to make sure it doesn’t have preservatives or anti-caking agents. Look for prosciutto that is preserved with salt only.

This recipe uses lots of Gruyere cheese

Simmer cream

Add cheese to cream, add cooked pasta and broil until browned

Serve baked pasta with prosciutto

Ingredients:

1 (16-ounce/454 g) package gemelli pasta or other short pasta, such as penne or elbow macaroni

16 ounces (454 g) Gruyère cheese, finely shredded (about 4 cups/1 L)

3 ounces (85 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded (about 1 ¼ cups/310 ml)

3 cups (750 ml) heavy cream

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly grated whole nutmeg

Thinly sliced prosciutto, for serving

Preparation:

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions until barely al dente, about 10 minutes (about 3 minutes less than package directions indicate). Drain and immediately transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet; spread in a single layer. Set pasta aside. Toss together Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a medium bowl, and set aside.

Preheat broiler to high with oven rack in middle of oven. Bring heavy cream and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over high. Reduce heat to medium; stir in nutmeg, and simmer, stirring often, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 4 ¼ cups (1.06 L) of the cheese mixture, in small batches, stirring until cheese is melted after each addition. Stir in cooked pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a 2 ½ -quart (2.5 L) broiler-proof baking dish; top with remaining 1 cup (250 ml) cheese mixture.

Broil in preheated oven until cheese is melted and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with thinly sliced prosciutto. Serves 6.

From Food and Wine

Skate are fish that are members of the ray family. Their fins are large and look like wings, which is why you often see it labelled “skate wing” at the fish counter. Usually sold skinned and filleted, it is a mild-tasting fish that is delicious when dredged in flour and pan-fried in oil or butter. In this recipe from Jacque Pépin, you pan fry the fish in oil, fry some mushrooms in the drippings while the fish rests and then top everything with brown butter, lemon juice and parsley.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream, without colour. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, as the concentrates contain sodium benzoate.

Dredge the skate in flour and pan fry in oil

Pan fry the mushrooms while the fish rests

Top fish with mushrooms, brown butter, lemon juice and parsley

Ingredients:

1 large skinned and boned skate wing (about 2 pounds/900 g)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 1/3 cup (85 ml) all-purpose flour, for dredging

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons (30 ml) corn oil

2 cups (500 ml) sliced mushrooms (about 4 ounces/113 g)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:

Cut the skate wing into 4 slabs. Sprinkle the pieces of skate with ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt and 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) pepper and dredge with the flour, shaking off any excess.

Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy skillet until hot. Add the skate, and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on the first side. Turn and cook for 5 minutes longer on the other side, or just until the skate is cooked through; the meat should still be slightly moist and pink in the center. Arrange the skate on a serving platter.

Add the sliced mushrooms to the drippings in the pan and cook for just 1 minute; they should still be firm. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, then scatter the mushrooms on top of the skate.

Heat the butter in a small skillet until it is foamy and brown. Sprinkle the lemon juice on the skate, pour the hot butter on top, garnish with the parsley, and serve. Serves 4.

From Jacques Pépin

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