Cozy and Clever

Hi and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. I have something unsexy to discuss with you, and that is pilaf. And yet! Pilaf, versions of which are found the world over, is one of my recent favorites, adorably homely and the definition of comfort. It’s also a great way to use up chicken. My husband is our chief pilaf-maker; along with super-thin pancakes, it’s one of his specialties. (He uses a recipe from “How to Cook Everything.”) But I made it the other night, using shredded chicken, golden raisins and stock, topping each bowl with yogurt and a heap of parsley. So you could do this with leftovers, or buy a rotisserie chicken, or take control of your life and roast one just for this purpose (and for enchiladas).

And can I just tell you about one of my babies? This spectacular pie project, which we’ve been working on since August. These pies are not for weeknights. But if you like getting lost in beautiful food for a few minutes on a Friday … well then. I’m at [email protected] — I love hearing what you think.

Here are five recipes for the week:

1. Butcher’s Steak With Leafy Salsa Verde

Alison Roman’s genius is on full display here. There is the speed. There are the flavors, the bright salsa pinging off the rich meat. But mostly, there is the fact that Alison serves it with potato chips, which she calls “weeknight French fries,” and I call brilliant. I’d just make a simple salad on the side.

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2. Pasta Aglio Olio With Butternut Squash

Savory and sweet and sort of amazing: You grate the squash, and cook it quickly in oil to make a sauce. We loved this recipe, though I would do it on a weeknight only if you have a food processor with a grating disk (or a box grater and infinite patience). Just leave out the red-pepper flakes if you’re feeding anyone who can’t tolerate a kick. You could get away with slightly less oil, but not much — that pasta should glisten. Serve with crunchy green beans or sautéed kale.

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3. Rice Noodles With Seared Pork, Carrots and Herbs

This flavor-packed recipe draws inspiration from Vietnamese marinated pork chops, tossing sliced pork with rice noodles, carrots, chile, garlic and herbs. Most of the work here is in the ingredient prep — a little extra slicing gets you something truly delicious. You don’t need extra vegetables on the side.

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4. Cheesy White-Bean Tomato Bake

People are going crazy over this fast recipe in the office and on our Instagram and Facebook feeds, and the name says it all. (Actually it’s missing a key word: mozzarella.) Serve with a green salad or roasted broccoli: Toss florets with olive oil, salt and pepper, put on a sheet pan and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes; start it a few minutes before the beans so they can be ready together.

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5. Easy Chicken and Rice

Let’s say you love that pilaf idea, but you don’t have leftover chicken. Here’s a basic recipe for chicken with rice, start to finish, no extra trips to the store for a rotisserie chicken or premeditated chicken-roasting. This really is very simple and welcomes variation — there are suggestions both in the recipe intro and in the comments. Try peas on the side (or add them directly to the pot with the onions).

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