3 Recipes For Highly Cookable Comfort Food So You Can Dine In All Winter Long

Dining out during the summer makes sense. But, during the winter we are way less likely to want to leave the couch. We even secretly feel relieved when plans that require heading into the cold get cancelled last-minute. Once days grow darker and carefree temps drop to chilling levels, enjoying a meal out feels like a challenge. Especially amidst the icy drafts of swinging restaurant doors and bodies smushed between crowded coat racks.

But thanks to badass author and foodie Alison Roman's cookbook, Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes, braving the cold is no longer the only option for escaping confinement crazies to enjoy a hot meal. Roman's easy and elevated comfort food dishes are our hibernation menu dreams come true — with cheesy baked pastas, crispy egg dishes, salty-sweet cookies, and much more. So the next time last Tuesday's takeout seems questionable and a case of apartment cabin fever sets in, don't jump for your coat and gloves — because ahead we've got three Dining In solutions to keep you satiated this winter.

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Baked Eggs With Crushed Chickpeas, Chorizo, & Bread Crumbs
Serves 4

"Of all the savory breakfasts in this chapter, this one is definitely the heartiest and most time consuming. Even so, it’s still a basic one-skillet deal. It’s also the one dish I am most likely to eat for lunch or dinner, with or without eggs, because I find chickpeas simmered with dried chorizo and fresh tomatoes to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Baked eggs can be tricky to get right, mostly because you’re asking a lot of the egg, for the white to be totally cooked before the yolk turns hard and opaque, all with a serious lack of supervision as it goes into the oven. I find baking eggs in just tomato sauce, à la shakshuka, to be even more difficult since the white tends to sink into the sauce, never to be heard from again, so it’s hard to tell if they’ve cooked through. At least here, propped up on little mountains of chickpeas and chorizo, the whites stand a chance of getting visibly cooked, taking a lot of the guesswork out of things."

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 oz. dried chorizo, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped ½ tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
¾ cup spicy, herby bread crumbs
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
¾ cup labne, full-fat Greek yogurt, or sour cream, for serving (optional)

1. Place an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo, onion, and cumin and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every so often, until the chorizo has rendered some of that fiery orange fat and the onions are softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes have totally softened and released their juices, 5 to 8 minutes.

4. Add the chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat the chickpeas in everything, using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to crush them lightly (you don’t want to mash them, just break them up a bit). Add ¼ cup water and let everything simmer together, further crushing those chickpeas if they need it, until the liquid has reduced by half and all the flavors are mingling, 5 to 8 minutes.

5. Using the back of a spoon or spatula, make four little evenly spaced nests in the skillet of chickpeas. Crack the eggs into the chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. Place the skillet on the top rack in the oven and bake until the whites of the eggs are just set and the egg yolks are still runny, 5 to 7 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and parsley. Serve with labne, if you like.

Reprinted from Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes. Copyright © 2017 by Alison Roman. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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Baked Pasta With Artichokes, Greens, & Too Much Cheese
Serves 6 to 8

"I’ll come right out and say that I’m really not into béchamel. Cooked flour with milk is just not my thing. Plus, to be honest, it’s really annoying to make (all that whisking, the splattering—no thanks!). So instead of calling this a lasagne, which traditionally is made with béchamel, I’m calling it a baked pasta. Use lasagna noodles, use campanelle, use elbows, use any pasta you like. I won’t judge.

This dish will only be as good as the cheese you use. Cheap ricotta just isn’t going to cut it here, so seek out the kind that is fresh and most definitely full-fat. As for the artichoke hearts, using the marinated variety, in all their tangy glory, will make the whole dish seem a little more well seasoned, but non-marinated artichokes will also do, because with all that cheese, it’s hard to go wrong. Oh, and yes: This is spinach artichoke dip in pasta form. You’re welcome."

12 sheets lasagna noodles, fresh or dried, or 12 oz. pasta
Kosher salt
4 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch spinach (about 10 oz.), stems removed, leaves chopped (about 3 cups)
1 bunch kale (about 8 oz.), stems removed, leaves chopped (about 4 cups)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (14 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups fresh full-fat ricotta cheese
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups finely grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese (about 4 ounces), plus more as needed
8 oz. good mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Working in batches, cook the sheets of pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water (if you crowd the pot, they will most definitely stick together), just to al dente, 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the brand and type of pasta; if you’re using fresh pasta, it’ll be more like 30 to 60 seconds, just enough to soften.

3. Once it’s ready, transfer each sheet, one by one, to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Don’t let the pasta sheets touch or they’ll stick together and your blood pressure will rise trying to get them apart (a truly impossible task). Drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto each sheet of pasta before separating each layer with paper towels. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

4. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is totally softened and deeply caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Working in batches, add handfuls of greens to the skillet, seasoning with salt and pepper and letting them wilt down before adding the next handful (when the skillet becomes too crowded even after wilting, transfer cooked greens to a bowl and continue wilting raw greens in the skillet). Once your last batch of greens has finished cooking, add the garlic and any cooked greens you set aside and toss to coat. Add the artichoke hearts and mix well; set aside.

6. Mix the ricotta, cream, and Parmesan together in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.

7. Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of a 9×13 in. or 3 qt. baking dish. Place a layer of cooked pasta on the bottom and top with one-third of the ricotta mixture. Top with one-third of the greens and artichokes, and top that with one-third of the mozzarella. Repeat until you have a layer of pasta on the top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle more Parmesan over the top.

8. Cover with foil and bake until everything is warmed through and the cheese has started to melt, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the foil and raise the oven temperature to 500°F. Bake until the top is browned and the filling is bubbling along the edges, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Let cool slightly before slicing and eating.

Reprinted from Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes. Copyright © 2017 by Alison Roman. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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Salted Butter & Chocolate Chunk Shortbread — Or, Why Would I Make Another Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever Again?
Makes 24 cookies

"I’ve always found chocolate chip cookies to be deeply flawed (to know this about me explains a lot). Too sweet, too soft, or with too much chocolate, there’s a lot of room for improvement, if you ask me. But no one asked me, and rather than do a complete overhaul on the most iconic cookie known to man, I took all my favorite parts and invented something else entirely.

Made with lots of salted butter (it has a slightly different flavor and a deeper saltiness than using just salt—I prefer unsalted butter everywhere else but here), the dough has just enough flour to hold it together and the right amount of light brown sugar to suggest a chocolate chip cookie. The chocolate is cut into chunks to prevent chip congregation, and once the dough is formed into a cylindrical log, the whole thing gets rolled in Demerara sugar for the crispiest-ever edges. Less chocolate chip cookie, more brown sugar shortbread with chocolate chunks— they just might be the cookie you’ve been looking for."

1 cup plus 2 tbsp (2¼ sticks) salted butter (*see note), cut into ½ in. pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
6 oz. semi- or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped (but not too fine, you want chunks, not thin shards of chocolate)
1 large egg, beaten
Demerara sugar, for rolling
Flaky sea salt, such as Jacobsen, for sprinkling

*Note: If you find it tragically annoying to buy salted butter just for this recipe, you can use unsalted butter and add ¾ tsp kosher salt to the flour.

*Do ahead: The cookie dough can be made ahead and stored, tightly wrapped in plastic, up to 1 week in the refrigerator, or 1 month in the freezer. Cookies can be baked and stored in plastic wrap or an airtight container for 5 days.

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (two, if you’ve got ’em) with parchment paper.

2. Using an electric mixer and a medium bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugars, and vanilla on medium-high till it’s super light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and, with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour, followed by the chocolate chunks, and beat just to blend.

3. Divide the dough in half, placing each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over so that it covers the dough to protect your hands from getting all sticky. Using your hands (just like you’re playing with clay), form the dough into a log shape; rolling it on the counter will help you smooth it out, but don’t worry about getting it totally perfect. You can also do this using parchment paper, if you prefer, but I find using plastic wrap easier when it comes to shaping the log. Each half should form two logs 2 to 2¼ in. in diameter. Chill until totally firm, about 2 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

5. Brush the outside of the logs with the beaten egg and roll them in the Demerara sugar (this is for those really delicious crispy edges).

6. Slice each log into ½ in. thick rounds, place them on the pre-pared baking sheet(s) about 1 in. apart (they won’t spread much), and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before eating them all.

Reprinted from Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes. Copyright © 2017 by Alison Roman. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes by Alison Roman, $15, available at Amazon.
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