White Bean and Kale Ragout with Turnips and Sausage

This ragout is a nourishing one-dish meal you can pull together on the busiest nights. Use any kind of beans, root vegetables and greens you have on hand.

Chicken Pate with Brandy (Chopped Liver)

Old-school chopped liver -- "Jewish pate" -- gets an upscale makeover in this simple make-ahead recipe.

Simple Udon Soup

This udon soup is simple, satisfying and comes together in about 20 minutes from broth to bowl, using any kind of greens, meat, poultry or fish you have.

Dashi

Dashi is about the easiest broth you can imagine, with a delicate yet complex flavor. All it takes is three ingredients and 10 minutes to make.

Manchego and Nutmeg Gougeres

Gougeres are the classic nibble with Champagne. Here, we give them a Spanish spin with manchego cheese . . . try them with a glass of cava.

Umbrichelli with Ginger-Chile Sauce

There's no denying, this pasta takes time; with three people it took close to an hour to roll out an entire batch. But if you've got a lot of hands you want to keep busy, it's a perfect dish. The rolling becomes relaxing as conversation blossoms around the table, turning out thick and chewy strands that get bathed in a simple, spicy sauce. If you're in a hurry, make the sauce from scratch and sub dried noodles for the homemade ones.

Endive Spears with Roquefort Mousse and Walnuts

These little spears are crowd pleasers. The cheese mixture keeps for up to five days, so you can prep everything ahead of time and then pipe just before people come to the door.

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

In keeping with the Southern Italian tradition, I added chopped tomatoes and a little wine to Rick Moonen’s recipe from his excellent Fish Without a Doubt. San Marzano are traditional; Muir Glen Organics are terrific, too.

Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus

Nothing is more impressive on a holiday table than a roast prime rib of beef. Ask your butcher to prepare a 12-pound prime rib roast, with the fat cap left on and bones left in.

Revelationary Duck Confit

A simple technique allowing the duck legs to cook in their own juices yields a succulent duck confit that's lower in fat that traditional versions.