Home Food The Best Dishes Bon Appétit Staffers Cooked in February 2023

The Best Dishes Bon Appétit Staffers Cooked in February 2023

by TopBusinessView

It’s no secret that BA editors cook a lot for work. So it should come as no surprise that we cook a lot during our off hours too. Here are the recipes we make to get dinner on the table, to entertain our friends, to satisfy a sweet tooth, to use up leftovers, and everything in between.  

The shininess of the new year has worn off. If you’re like us, February is when you turn to tried-and-true, homey, comforting recipes—soups and stews, or quick breads and baking projects that heat up your kitchen. Here are our favorite recipes we made this week—when we weren’t at the office.

February 24

Silky, vegetarian carbonara

The first time I made spaghetti carbonara, I wound up with a bowl full of scrambled egg–coated noodles. The second time, I used this foolproof recipe and achieved shiny, saucy glory. The smart trick of tempering the egg yolks with pasta water keeps them from scrambling when they hit the heat. Transforming a couple of egg yolks, a handful of Parmesan, and a glug of pasta water into a glossy sauce is my new favorite magic trick. —Zoe Denenberg, associate cooking & SEO editor

Image may contain Spaghetti Food Pasta Meal and Dish

Swapping traditional ingredients like guanciale and pancetta for vegetable-based umami bombs (hello, garlic and smoked paprika) isn’t the only thing to consider when making a vegetarian carbonara. Many hard cheeses (including Parmigiano-Reggiano) use animal rennet, so if you want to seek an alternative, ask your cheesemonger.

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Simple, speedy lentil pancakes

If I hadn’t seen YouTube king Chef John make these ultrasimple lentil pancakes on screen recently, I probably wouldn’t have believed it possible. Split red lentils are soaked in water, salted, and blitzed into a creamy, sunset-hued batter. Each one is cooked, a bit like a dosa, in a nonstick pan. I used the bouncy, earthy disks to soak up a kabocha squash curry, but they’d also make great quesadillas, soft tacos, or savory crepes. Do future-you a solid and freeze a bunch. —Ali Francis, staff writer

Chewy chocolate chunk cookies

By the time I unveiled these cookies, my family had devoured many bagels, so much lox, and claimed to be full. But the scent of butter, buckwheat, and chocolate convinced them to try a bite. And then another and another. Come summer, my highest priority will be to make these again, sandwich them with black sesame ice cream, and then eat them in the sun. —Emma Laperruque, senior cooking editor 

salty buckwheat chocolate chunk cookies

When’s the last time a chocolate chip cookie surprised you? This one, which gets its speckled look, earthy, nutty flavor, and chewy middle from buckwheat flour, might just become your new favorite.

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Savory, speedy beef bulgogi

My apartment is what TikTok calls an “ingredient house.” What that means is I usually have an abundance of pantry staples on hand but when it comes to prepared foods, there’s nothing. But this week, after a particularly tough therapy session, I was too burned-out to do any actual meal prep and felt blessed to have an Omsom packet on hand. I combined the bulgogi marinade-slash-seasoning with some leftover ground beef, diced onions, and ginger paste on the to ladle over rice and devour with a side of kimchi—all in 20 minutes flat. It was a seriously delicious breakthrough. —Alma Avalle, digital operations associate

Toasty, bright preserved lemon pasta

Yes, this Pasta al Preserved Limone is as simple as can be, but I messed it up. Instead of melting the butter, I got distracted and browned it. Honestly, though? I’d do it again. The nutty, toasty flavor was infinitely comforting on a cold night. And the jolt of preserved lemon brine (ashamed that I used to throw this out) kept the sauce from feeling too rich. —E.L.

February 17

Coconutty roast chicken

A can of coconut milk has been sitting in my pantry for [redacted], and when I saw this Diana Yen recipe inspired by one of my favorite restaurants, the now-closed Uncle Boons, I knew it was finally time to crack it open. The punchy sauce has a lot of fish sauce, but as a marinade, it imbued the chicken without overpowering it. With coconut milk, it ended up being exactly what I wanted to pour over tender thighs later: a sweet and tangy boost. —Serena Dai, editorial director

Thai Roast Chicken Thighs With Coconut Rice recipe

This single skillet, weeknight riff on Diana Yen’s favorite Thai rotisserie chicken packs coconut milk, lime juice, and fish sauce for plenty of umami.

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Fudgy mochi brownie

I saw this recipe on my Instagram feed and gasped out loud. So simple, so genius, and it’s the second week in a row I’ve cooked a Hetty Lui McKinnon recipe. This mochi brownie in The New York Times has only five ingredients and comes together in one bowl, making it feel just as easy as a boxed brownie mix. It’s just the right amount of fudgy, dense, and rich, with that crackly crust on top. I finished mine with a shower of flaky salt and served it up at a Super Bowl watch party (but not before sneaking some squares away for myself). —Antara Sinha, associate cooking editor

Cover-star beans and greens

I finally gave this stew recipe from the cover of our February issue a try and it’s definitely being added to my regular weeknight cooking rotation. The vegetarian broth comes together quickly, but it’s still aromatic and layered. And since the curry paste base is assembled in a blender, there’s minimal chopping required. It’s a great option for a chillier night, and I loved how easy it was to swap in whatever beans and greens I had on hand. —Olivia Quintana, associate social media manager

A bowl of Coconutty Beans and Greens served with a slice of toast

Canned beans get a full-on makeover in this creamy, coconutty, spiced stew fortified with Swiss chard and sweet potato—perfect for cold winter days.

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Classic aioli

When I want to cook a nice dinner, I turn to my well-loved copy of Melissa Clark’s cookbook Dinner in French. Though the brandy-braised short ribs might be more appropriate for winter, I made my everlasting favorite for Valentine’s Day: Cod With Aioli and Heirloom Tomatoes (I skipped the tomatoes—winter, folks!). The fish is remarkably simple to prepare (rub with salt, tuck under aromatics, and roast for 10 minutes), but it becomes something truly spectacular when drenched in garlicky aioli. I roasted baby potatoes and oyster mushrooms, too, both of which made excellent vehicles for the creamy condiment. —Zoe Denenberg, associate cooking & SEO editor

Nutty, savory, saucy noodles

Peanut butter and soy doesn’t have the same ring as peanut butter and jelly, but when those two ingredients and a few others in a well-stocked pantry are whisked together and added to a skillet of ground pork cooked with garlic and ginger, you’ve got the base of a tasty meal with broad appeal, especially when you add rice noodles and greens. The recipe, developed by Chris Morocco, calls for collards, but you can use anything on hand. This has the right amount of chopping and cleanup to qualify for a perfect weeknight meal. —Dawn Davis, editor in chief

This image may contain Furniture Dining Table Table Plant Food Pasta Produce Spaghetti Noodle and Vegetable

This one goes out to all the peanut sauce fans out there.

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February 10

Sticky, savory tofu

I had a craving for shellacked-in-sugar takeout sesame chicken and had to give myself the “we have food at home” talk the entire subway ride home. After some scrounging around in my fridge and pantry, I came up with all the ingredients necessary to make this Hetty Lui McKinnon recipe: Sesame Tofu With Broccoli. Sesame paste, brown sugar, and a smidge of cornstarch made for a sticky-glossy sauce that clung to crispy tofu. With a pot of fluffy rice, it was everything I was craving and more. —Antara Sinha, associate cooking editor 

Sesame Tofu With Broccoli recipe

A riff on Chinese American sesame chicken, this recipe is super sesame-y from the sauce up: Tahini (an untraditional but logical addition) adds richness, and sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds hit the flavor home.

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Slather-on-anything cashew sauce

When meal planning for the week, I immediately zeroed in on this whipped cashew sambal sauce. It’s easy to make and store in the fridge. So far I’ve used it as a marinade for roasted chicken, for broccolini like in the February issue, and as a creamy, decadent pasta sauce that feels like a weekend meal on a weekday.  —Urmila Ramakrishnan, associate director of social media

Lemony, buttery pantry pasta

This Pasta With Brown Butter, Whole Lemon, and Parmesan by Andy Baraghani is a pantry pasta that doesn’t feel like you’re making any compromises on flavor or texture. It’s great for a speedy weeknight meal or a fancy dinner to impress. Cooking thinly sliced lemons in bubbling butter caramelized them just enough to cut their bitter edge. The resulting punchy, chewy bites of rind throughout were the real star. I served it with some charred broccoli for my family, but this would be lovely with pan-seared fish or roasted chicken on the side. —A.S. 

Pasta Recipe with Brown Butter Whole Lemon and Parmesan

A weeknight pasta that utilizes simple pantry ingredients in a luxurious way. 

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Weeknight risotto

Judging by looks, this comforting Oven Risotto With Crispy Roasted Mushrooms is almost too pretty for a midweek meal. Judging by effort relative to taste, it can’t be beat. While mushrooms and garlic roast in the oven, you start the risotto. The real genius of this recipe: no stirring until your arms ache! After the grains are tossed in oil and have absorbed the white wine, the risotto simmers in broth before it’s transferred to the oven—no risk of overcooking and sucking out all that moisture. This dish warms up the home and infuses it with the scent of earthy mushrooms and roasted garlic at the same time. —Dawn Davis, editor in chief

Zesty sheet-pan tofu

This time of year, wandering around the produce section can feel a bit dismal. You will not find pert ears of sweet corn or good-looking tomatoes, but you will find crates overflowing with big, beautiful navel oranges. Last night I put one to use in this orange tofu and broccoli. The combination of orange zest and juice gives the glaze such a bright, concentrated flavor, complemented by sticky-sweet honey and spicy sriracha. It’s the tastiest way to celebrate citrus season. —Zoe Denenberg, associate cooking & SEO editor 

Bowl of orange tofu and broccoli on blue tablecloth.

A take-out favorite meets sheet-pan dinner in this vegetarian take on orange chicken, featuring extra-firm tofu and a fresh, zingy sauce.

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Weekend-project gâteau Basque

Sub-freezing temperatures call for picking a somewhat time-intensive recipe so I have a valid excuse not to leave the apartment. This past weekend that excuse was a lovely Gâteau Basque by Dorie Greenspan (with a couple modifications of my own). This pastry has its origins in the beautiful Basque region that overlaps the borders of northern Spain and southwestern France. I filled two layers of buttery dough with the traditional black cherry jam and added a bit of pistachio paste for good measure. Served with homemade pistachio whipped cream, two portions of this gâteau gave me another reason to stay inside: a long nap.  —Jillian Matt, programming operations manager

February 3

Party-time chocolate cake

When I’m invited to a party, I always offer to bring dessert. Because (1) it’s the nice thing to do and (2) it gives me an excuse to bake without having to watch a plate of cookies go stale on my counter. Last weekend I needed a crowd-friendly recipe, and this chocolate sheet cake from BA’s resident baking maven Shilpa Uskokovic immediately came to mind. The cake was everything I hoped for: intensely moist from plenty of buttermilk, deeply chocolaty from good cocoa powder (my preference is Hershey’s Special Dark, which turned the cake almost jet-black). I added an extra splash of vanilla extract to the brown butter frosting, which gave it toasted marshmallow vibes. Invite me to a party so I have an excuse to bake it again. —Zoe Denenberg, associate cooking & SEO editor

Sheet cake on a glitter background with flowers.

How do you make chocolate sheet cake better? Just add brown butter frosting, whose nuttiness is enhanced by an ingredient found in most grocery stores.

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Weeknight cassoulet

In a meeting a little while ago, a few editors were discussing what makes a cassoulet a cassoulet, leading us to this speedy weeknight number by Dawn Perry on Food52. Perry immediately concedes up top: “I was nervous to call this a ‘cassoulet’ at all, seeing as it eschews traditional ingredients, methods, and even the vessel for which the dish is named.” Instead, brothy canned cannellini beans, some sliced chicken sausage (I love Seemore), and a crackly panko crust that turns golden under the broiler made for a one-skillet meal that’s cassoulet-like in its warmth and coziness, but with about five percent of the work. —Antara Sinha, associate food editor   

Seedy, nutty scones

What I love most about this Roxanna Jullapat recipe is its versatility. When I set out to make them this weekend, I quickly discovered I didn’t have the right quantity of all the ingredients called for. What did I do? Supplemented half the dates with prunes and half the flaxseed with chia seeds. I also swapped out the currants for chopped crystalized ginger and eschewed the almonds for walnuts and the pumpkin seeds for pecans. Then came the cream. This was a last-minute bake, so I reached for the closest heavy cream substitute, which ended up being part whole-milk Greek yogurt and part olive oil. What I’m trying to say is: I made an entirely different recipe. But, armed with Jullapat’s weighted measures, I had full confidence that the scones would emerge from the oven beautiful, flaky, and tender. I was right. —Joe Sevier, cooking & SEO editor

Image may contain Plant Confectionery Food and Sweets

Scones full of the textures and flavors of a granola bar—a hint of sweetness comes from copious dried fruit and a sprinkle of raw sugar.

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Creamy vegan tofu noodles

It’s well known at this point that my household is Hetty McKinnon–obsessed. Our latest weeknight hit: tender wheat noodles tossed in a genius sauce made from blended tofu, garlic, a little sugar, and Chinese five spice. The whole thing is topped with a punchy dressing, featuring all stars like chili crisp, scallions, vinegar, and soy sauce. Each twirl of noodles is slicked with a creamy, nutty base that’s livened up by the spicy-savory dressing. No one said a word while eating, which is how you know it’s a keeper. Also, it comes together in under 30 minutes. An all-around win. —Ali Francis, staff writer

Velvety squash soup 

Maybe it was my 45th bowl of butternut squash in one season, maybe it was the 75th. Whenever the precise moment, at some point a few years ago, I couldn’t tolerate what I came to think of as the tyranny of butternut squash soup any longer. But something about Gregory Gourdet’s Creamy Butternut Squash and Plantain Soup made me relent. It might have been the visuals, not just the signature lush orange of butternut, but also the colorful garnish of pickled green apples, shallots, and cilantro. Or perhaps it was the addition of plantain, which I’d never knowingly had puréed in a soup before. I had to give it a try and I’m so glad I did. The plantain added a light starchiness which complemented the zip of the ginger. I used a serrano instead of a habanero, a little less coconut milk than called for, and a little more ginger than indicated. I served it to friends and when the bowls came back clean, I knew it was a success. —Dawn Davis, editor in chief

A bowl of Creamy Butternut Squash and Plantain Soup in a terracotta bowl with green apple toppings

Comfort and flavor are at the heart of this velvety squash and plantain soup loaded with aromatics and topped with a crunchy apple garnish. 

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