The Charm of Parm

Kay Chun’s shortcut recipe for eggplant Parmesan pasta puts the intense pleasure of the original within easy reach.

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By Emily Weinstein

I had the good fortune to eat eggplant Parmesan for dinner this week (not made by me!), and it got me thinking about the intense pleasures of the Parm family — not just eggplant Parmesan, but the various iterations made with chicken, pork, veal, mushrooms, cauliflower or even zucchini. (There’s also air-fryer chicken Parmesan, which amplifies the crispness of that breaded crust.) That bubbling combination of meat or vegetables coated in toasted bread crumbs, rich tomato sauce and creamy cheese is one for the ages.

Most of those dishes can’t be made quickly after work. They take some time. This is why Kay Chun’s recipe for eggplant Parmesan pasta shines like a beacon. A version of homemade Parm? On a Monday? Yes.

That recipe, and ones for four other excellent dishes, are below. Write to me anytime at [email protected] with your kitchen mishaps, feedback or requests. I love to hear from you. (And to everyone who wrote to me after last week’s newsletter to say that, yes, you want a weekly chocolate dessert newsletter: I see you. Try this chocolate streusel poundcake to start.)

1. Eggplant Parmesan Pasta

This dish from Kay Chun captures all that is great about eggplant Parmesan, minus the time-consuming frying, layering and baking. (This eggplant Parmesan recipe by Jamie Oliver is my favorite for weekends.)

View this recipe.

2. Quinoa and Broccoli Spoon Salad

The concept of the spoon salad, embodied in this new recipe from Sohla El-Waylly, is very alluring — a tangle of ingredients so well chopped you can scoop it all up with a spoon. This one comes pierced with apples, pecans and Cheddar, and you can eat it on its own for dinner (which I’d do at room temp, not cold from the fridge) or pair it with simple chicken.

View this recipe.

3. Chicken Breasts With Lemon

This is a tried-and-true recipe from one of New York Times Cooking’s GOATs: Pierre Franey, who wrote the long-running column 60-Minute Gourmet. Its citrusy simplicity makes it feel as fresh today as it must have when it was first published about 30 years ago.

View this recipe.

4. Sheet-Pan Tofu and Brussels Sprouts With Hoisin-Tahini Sauce

This new recipe from Hetty McKinnon leverages two powerful pantry ingredients — hoisin and tahini — to make a creamy sauce for roasted tofu and brussels sprouts. It’s the utterly simple and delicious vegan meal you need this week.

View this recipe.

5. Pan-Seared Pork Chops With Charred Pineapple

This fast and very easy skillet dinner from Ali Slagle showcases a classic combination: pork and juicy pineapple, as seen in dishes like sweet and sour pork and tacos al pastor. Boneless chicken thighs, tofu or firm fish can replace the boneless pork chops; I’d eat it with rice or noodles.

View this recipe.

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