The idea for this rustic fish and fennel pot pie came to me in a dream, and unless you are Sigmund Freud (you're not, are you?), I'm not going to bore you with the details. Somewhere in the dream, I was planning a menu for La Vigilia, the traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast of seven fishes, which in real life I don't celebrate, so I'm sure it wasn't real. One of the dishes on my imaginary menu was a fish pot pie, and if I were making this for La Vigilia, I'd stuff it with several kinds of fish, and perhaps some shrimp or scallops, too. A brightly flavored bulb of fennel will make a real difference, but if you don't like the anise overtones... Read more →


I've got a secret. During the past few weeks, for many house guests, friends and family, I have been creating the World's. Best. Sandwiches. Ever. Now I feel badly that I've kept this from you for so long, and I'm here to make amends. I can't put my finger on what makes these sandwiches (panini, really) so remarkable. Could it be the caramelized onions? The home-cooked corned beef? The quick and easy cole slaw? The slices of Swiss cheese? Or could it be all of that forced together under the weight of the panini press, until the layers fuse and the cheese begins to ooze? I don't know for sure, but what I do know is that, once you've tasted this sandwich, you'll never go... Read more →


After ten years of soup recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, do you still need proof that combining any fresh ingredient -- fruit, vegetables, sausage or leftover turkey -- with a well-stocked pantry will produce a very fine soup? You can do it, and do it without a recipe; the secret is to be fearless and plunge right in. That's the way this sausage and black bean soup started out, but it ended up being so good that I'm glad I took notes as I was making it, so you can replicate it in your own kitchen. The soup began with the gift from my cousin of a couple of packages of Al Fresco Chipotle Chicken Chorizo Sausage with mango and adobo that were languishing... Read more →


Until I learned to cook, I was always a little bit afraid of chowder. I can't imagine why. Chowder began as a throw-together dish made by fishermen on the dock, using the odds and ends of what they had caught. So, really, how complicated could it be? Not difficult at all, as it turns out. Sauté aromatic vegetables in fat (butter or bacon fat), add flour to make a roux, pour in some stock, and when it thickens, add the fish. You can use any fish, or a combination of fish, or fish plus shellfish. I buy packages of frozen cod chunks at Trader Joe's. If you have clam stock or fish stock, substitute it for the chicken stock. You can make chowder with any... Read more →


This sausage, pepper and mushroom frittata -- quick and easy to make -- takes inspiration from one of New England's favorite Italian-American sandwiches. It's a great combination that makes a filling main course. Read more →


Shrimp and bacon really kick up this broccoli slaw salad, and your own homemade ranch dressing pulls it all together. Easy to make, and hearty enough for a healthy weeknight main course. Read more →


For breakfast, brunch, or a quick and easy weeknight supper, try a frittata. It's an Italian omelet that accommodates any leftover vegetables and herbs you have. This combination of broccoli with basil and parsley is one of our favorites. Read more →