Recipe of the week: Four of the fastest recipes ever

These four dishes&mdash;ranging from appetizer to dessert&mdash;are taken from <em>Food &amp; Wine</em>'s best fast recipes.

We celebrated our 30th anniversary with 30 of the best fast recipes we’ve ever run, said the editors of Food & Wine. Here’s a four-course sampler, ranging from appetizer and pasta course to entree and dessert.

Recipes of the week
Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon
A sweet, smoky, and savory tapa from Spanish cookbook author Penelope Casas.
1 small Spanish chorizo sausage (about 2 oz), casing removed
24 Medjool dates, pitted
12 slices of bacon, halved crosswise

Slice chorizo crosswise in thirds. Halve each piece lengthwise, cut each half into 4 lengthwise strips to make total of 24 small sticks. Tuck chorizo stick into each date, pinch dates closed. Wrap strip of bacon around each date, secure with toothpick. Place wrapped dates in large skillet, seam sides down, and sauté, turning, until bacon is browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, serve hot. Serves 24.

Pasta With Sausage, Basil, and Mustard
British cookbook author Nigel Slater matched spicy sausage with a creamy mustard sauce to create a quick supper pasta.

1 lb penne or medium shells
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1½ pounds)
¾ cup dry white wine
¾ cup heavy cream
3 tbsp grainy mustard
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large, deep skillet. Add sausage meat; brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes. Add wine; simmer, scraping up browned bits from bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add cream, mustard, crushed red pepper; simmer 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add pasta and basil, and toss to coat. Serve at once. Serves 4.

Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken
At the Slanted Door in San Francisco, chef Charles Phan’s spectacular Vietnamese specialties include this intensely sweet and savory peppered chicken.
½ cup dark-brown sugar
About ¼ cup Asian fish sauce
¼ cup water
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
2 fresh Thai chilies, halved, or dried red chilies
1 tbsp canola oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cilantro sprigs
In small bowl, combine sugar, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper, chilies. Heat canola oil in large, deep skillet. Add shallot; cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and chicken; simmer over high heat until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl; garnish with cilantro, serve. Serves 4.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut butter binds these super-nutty flourless cookies from Southern cook Elizabeth Woodson.
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp finely chopped peanuts (optional)
¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; position 2 racks in upper and lower third. In medium bowl, mix peanut butter with sugar, baking soda, egg. Stir in peanuts and chocolate chips. Roll tablespoons of dough into 24 balls. Set balls on 2 baking sheets. Using fork, make cross-hatch pattern on each cookie. Bake 15 minutes, shifting baking sheets from front to back and bottom to top, until cookies are lightly browned and set. Let cool on wire rack. Makes 2 dozen.


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