What to Cook This Week

As the weather turns, mapo ragù, ricotta polpette and miso ramen await.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. The fishermen I hang around with are relentless this time of year, forgoing sleep and family to chase the fall run of fish along the Eastern Seaboard. Days off are rare, and when they come it’s because of weather. Weather days, with the wind and seas too high for fishing, are for sleeping in, for making repairs, for eating something better than peanut butter and jelly.

I love a weather day: howling wind, a chill in the air, the scent of a rich pasta sauce burbling away on the stovetop. And even if it’s sunny and still, I’d like to steer into the joy of it with a big pot of the mapo ragù (above) I learned to make from the chefs David Chang and Tien Ho.

One of the things I find so fascinating about New York Times Cooking is that reading one recipe often leads me to another, and the serendipity leads me to make something entirely different from what I had intended to make when I logged on.

Accordingly, I might make sausage ragù instead, a recipe Julia Moskin picked up from the cookbook author Nancy Harmon Jenkins and her daughter, the chef Sara Jenkins. Or maybe this mushroom ragù from my colleague Alexa Weibel. One subscriber subbed in goat cheese for the cream, and I think that sounds fantastic.

And with Sunday sorted, I’ll head into the rest of the week …


I like this hearty grain salad of farro and lentils with jammy onions, particularly with some soft-boiled eggs on top, or flakes of smoked mackerel.


You’ll love these ricotta polpette, tender and creamy in their basil-infused tomato sauce.


Cook smarter, not harder. It’s the middle of the week. I like miso and seaweed ramen with egg for that, and I don’t use fresh ramen when I’m making it, but rather the dried stuff from the instant packages you should always have on hand in case of emergencies. (Use the leftover spice packages to put on your popcorn when you’re watching “House of the Dragon” on HBO Max.)


Shrimp toast is a Cantonese dim sum and Chinese American restaurant classic that’s really easy to make at home. You purée shrimp with scallions and spread that paste on sandwich bread, then fry it until it’s crisp on the outside and bouncy and flavorful within.


And then you can roll into the weekend with brown-butter salmon with scallions and lemon. Oh, my!

There are thousands and thousands more recipes to cook this week waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. (You’ll find additional inspiration on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.) Yes, you need a subscription to access the recipes. Subscriptions make this whole thing possible. If you haven’t done so already, would you please consider subscribing today? Thanks.

We’re standing by should you run into problems with our technology: [email protected] Someone will get back to you. And I’m at [email protected] if you want to bark about anything. I read every letter sent.

Now, you’d have to do a lot of engineering to make it have anything to do with morels or Greek yogurt, but for the past 30 years the British Museum has been working to digitize its collection of 500,000 prints and drawings, including works from Dürer and Picasso, Rembrandt and Michelangelo. Now it’s available to all with this online collection. The search function is not the most intuitive, but I did find this lovely Kara Walker lithograph from 2013.

Longreads alerted me to this fine meditation on the disappearing art of maintenance, by Alex Vuocolo in Noema. That got me thinking about the Cape Henlopen, one of the boats in the Cross Sound Ferry fleet on Long Island Sound. Maintenance is crucial to its service. The Henlopen was built as a World War II troop carrier and participated in the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France, in 1944.

Finally, it’s the singer and songwriter Brittany Howard’s birthday. She’s 34. Here she is singing “History Repeats” live on Austin City Limits in 2021. Enjoy that, and Melissa will greet you on Monday. I’ll see you next week.

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