This Seared Broccoli Pasta Is an ‘Absolute Slam Dunk’

Deeply browned florets are tossed with walnuts, mint and pecorino in this 15-minute, five-star reader favorite.

By Melissa Clark

One of the hardest instructions for me to follow in a recipe is to “let sear,” or “allow to cook.” Letting things be is not in my nature — I’m a poker, a stirrer, a peek-er, and I like to get up close and personal with whatever I’m cooking. But restraint is exactly what’s called for in Dawn Perry’s blistered broccoli pasta with walnuts, mint and pecorino. Letting the broccoli sear without moving it allows it to char, turning the florets deeply brown and crunchy. This adds so much flavor without you having to do anything at all — except keep yourself from doing anything. It’s one of the best 15-minute pastas out there (as evidenced by its five-star rating and nearly 1,300 reader notes).

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Blistered Broccoli Pasta With Walnuts, Mint and Pecorino

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At the other end of the pasta spectrum is Eric Kim’s new eggplant Parmesan. If there was ever a recipe worth the time investment, it’s this one. In fact, compared with classic eggplant Parmesan with all its oily deep-frying, Eric’s recipe is a streamlined, easier take. Instead of frying, he crumb-coats then bakes the eggplant slices until golden and crisp. The results are truly stupendous, a satisfying crowd-pleaser that makes the most of eggplant season and beyond.

But it’s not only eggplant season right now, it’s corn season, too! I celebrate its summery abundance with my sheet-pan chicken thighs with spicy corn. After testing the recipe the first time, I ended up doubling the corn, because, while the chicken is golden and juicy, the starring role has to go to the supremely sweet, succulent corn. The two are dolled up with fresh and pickled jalapeños for heat, lime juice for tang and herbs for freshness. In the notes, I saw that Sandra melted mozzarella on the top, a truly genius move.

If you’re in the mood for fish, I love Kay Chun’s soy-glazed salmon hand rolls. To make them, she quickly simmers the kind of gingery soy and mirin sauce that you’d usually find on gilled unagi, and then brushes it on salmon fillets before baking. You can wrap the cooked, glazed fish into a hand roll with nori, rice, avocado and cucumber, or serve all the elements on top of rice for a hand-roll-inspired salmon bowl. It’s very adaptable and so, so easy.

Does a slushy frozen watermelon daiquiri count as a cocktail or a dessert? I would say both, and I’d be as happy spooning this up after a summer meal as I would be sipping it before one. What do you think? Let me know at [email protected].

As always, you’ll want to subscribe for all these amazing recipes and so many more (approximately tens of thousands more). If you need any technical help, the brilliant people at [email protected] are there for you. And if you’re looking for some great deals on kitchen gear, our friends (and obsessive testers) at Wirecutter have you covered.

Homemade Watermelon Juice

When life gives you leftover watermelon (say, after making those daiquiris), make watermelon juice. Just cube up the extra melon, seeds and all, and purée it on low speed in your blender, adding a few tablespoons of water if it needs liquid to get going. Leaving the blender speed on low keeps the seeds intact and easy to strain out at the end. Add some ice and a squeeze of lime, and toast yourself with one of the loveliest and most cooling beverages of summer.

Melissa Clark has been a columnist for the Food section since 2007. She reports on food trends, creates recipes and appears in cooking videos linked to her column, A Good Appetite. She has also written dozens of cookbooks. More about Melissa Clark

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