What to Cook This Week

Pasta with butternut squash, roasted sesame tofu and more recipes.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. It’s the second week of the National Football League season, with the Patriots-Steelers game at 1 p.m. in the East, and the Seahawks-49ers matchup at 4:05. That’ll make for excellent chili making all afternoon, with dinner to follow in advance of a new episode of “House of the Dragon” on HBO. (Totally get it if you’re watching Premier League football instead. But we’re an American band.)

Which chili? I like Julia Moskin’s recipe for Texas chili a lot, but I’m also partial to the firehouse chili gumbo (above) that the Louisiana firefighter Jeremy Chauvin taught me to make, and which received the award for America’s best firehouse chili in 2017. So that’s what’s on my afternoon dance card today, along with some cornbread and a peach upside-down cake for dessert.

As for the rest of the week …


I like the warming, fall-adjacent qualities of this pasta with butternut squash, kale and brown butter. It tastes of what’s coming in the most delightful of ways.


Three-cup chicken is a weeknight recipe that punches well above its weight. And once you’ve got the basics of it down, you can riff on the preparation. Add mushrooms? Fry the chicken in advance of making the sauce? Thicker sauce? Thinner? Once you’ve mastered the original, you’ll make your own decisions.


Here’s a midweek joy to eat with steamed rice: roasted sesame tofu and red onions. Big flavor, easy cleanup. That’s why you are here, no?


Sheet-pan paneer tikka masala is up next (at least for me), the cheese roasted with peppers and onions in a spiced garlic-ginger masala. Soaking the paneer before roasting keeps it moist in the hot oven.


And then you can round out the week with soup. For sure I love this French onion, which dates back to 1954, but if I have the time, I’d prefer this week to go with split pea. (You can speed things up if you use a pressure cooker, as in this recipe for split pea soup with horseradish cream.)

There are thousands more recipes to cook this week waiting for you on New York Times Cooking — and additional inspiration on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Yes, it’s true: You need a subscription to access the recipes. Subscriptions are what allow us to continue to do this work that we love. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing today. Thanks.

Write if you run into problems with the technology: [email protected] Someone will get back to you. And you can always write to me in rage or joy: [email protected] I read every letter sent.

Now, you’d have to go to an enormous amount of trouble to make it anything to do with food or drink, but Diana Budds has a delightful 21 Questions interview in New York magazine this week with the artist Duke Riley. Riley once launched a replica Revolutionary War submarine against the Queen Mary 2 in New York Harbor, and we got the news on the front page of The Times with a truly awesome photograph by Damon Winter.

Out of the archive: Alan Bennett’s 2007 novella in The London Review of Books, “The Uncommon Reader,” about Queen Elizabeth II falling in love with books after a chance encounter with a mobile library.

John Kessler has a corker in Chicago magazine, “The Problem With Alinea,” about Grant Achatz’s 17-year-old temple of gastronomy in Lincoln Park. (“It’s hula night at the White Lotus,” hoo boy!)

Finally, a big new sound from the band Wednesday: “Bull Believer.” Make your gumbo with that on and have a wonderful week. Melissa will greet you on Monday, and I’ll be back on Friday.

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