A dish your guests will love…and a backup just in case


you welcome in You have time for this, a column where Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief, Dawn Davis highlights recipes from our archives that are delicious, accessible, and work every time.

I’m here to talk excitedly about a plate of Bachelor Archives that make a big return with minimal effort, but let me tell you first about a dinner that failed that party.

When my friend Greg graduated from law school, there was a celebration in store. I turned to 2nd Help from Union Square Cafe Because the main dishes are consistently delicious and guaranteed to be, even though they take a little for granted. I chose the Indian ‘bouillabaisse’, monkfish and oysters cooked in an aromatic broth topped with cardamom, coriander seeds, and fenugreek blossomed in mustard oil. For starters, a hearty lentil and celery salad served up, which I thought could double as a main, if the dinner guest was allergic to shellfish. What can go wrong?

Abundance. One of Greg’s girlfriends, let’s call her Madeline, was allergic not only to shellfish but also to lentils. As far as dinner parties go, it was an embarrassing bankruptcy. At the time, I didn’t know how to spin so it was up to Madeleine to save the situation. She was tirelessly polite, and pretended to have eaten a late lunch. I could hear her stomach growling from hunger.

Since that day, I always ask if anyone has any allergies, and I always have a backup plan, which I had to use this weekend.

On Friday, I hosted a dinner party and chose a different recipe starring oysters: Chris Morocco Chili gnocchi with tomato and grilled bread. This dish is absolutely delicious, enhanced with restaurant-level amounts of butter and sambal oelek, a chili paste that imparts flavor but not, in this case, a lot of heat. With fall colors, this dish is great, especially with a few red onions (which I used in addition to the shallots the recipe calls for) and multicolored cherry tomatoes. The pan is placed directly over the direct heat of the grill, although you can use the stovetop instead. Everyone loved it so much, we raced to get a little more stuff left in the pan. (If you like clams, I highly recommend it.)

But I noticed that a friend was eating Around Oysters, opt instead for chickpeas, jami, caramelized onions, and grilled bread. I have already asked. She was not allergic to shellfish. So what was the problem? coriander , which finished the dish.

This time, instead of panicking, he turned to go to: pesto pasta in fridge. It’s great for Automatic Plan B because, as the name suggests, you can make it with “any hard green leftovers, lettuce, or grass that you don’t know what to do with.” I had arugula, fresh basil and some wilted parsley on hand, though I guess it didn’t matter because it’s the sesame seeds, which I toasted in the pan while the vegetables were simmering, and the ricotta salata that makes them so memorable. (Riccotta may not be a pantry item, but it does last a while, and it’s good to have on hand.) Twenty minutes later, the pasta was done, and this time, no one was left hungry. So if a sudden allergy or aversion appears, don’t panic, open another bottle of wine, and bring the water to a boil.

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pesto pasta in fridge

This pesto pasta recipe is the answer to any leftover green, lettuce, or herb you don’t know what to do with. Cleaning your fridge has never been so rewarding!

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