What We're Cooking This Week

Secretly Vegan Penne Vodka & Other Recipes We're Cooking This Week

November 10, 2019

Welcome to What We’re Cooking This Week, a weekly love letter from our recipe developer Emma Laperruque, all about what the Food52 team is cooking and craving off-hours (with a few snacks for thought, too).

Happy Thanksgiving in T-minus 18 days! Squee. Here are a few things you can and should do today:

Sign up for our holiday newsletter, which is here to lend a helping hand and pat you on the back. Make pie dough and freeze the rounds (assuming you’re serving pie—are you?). Check out this year’s glorious menu maker, then share your menu hopes and dreams in the comments.

Until the big day, we all still have to eat dinner and, yes, of course, dessert. So here are a bunch of recipes that don’t include turkey or pumpkin puree, but are still best enjoyed in a turtleneck and/or by a fireplace.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Yay! The recipe uses a lot of milk, so it's hard to predict how a swap like that would turn out. Almond milk might be a little lean, so maybe you could combine it with coconut milk/cream or even a full-fat oat milk? If you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out! ”
— Emma L.

Let’s get cooking.

Vegan Penne Vodka

To go from tomato sauce to vodka sauce, you need two ingredients: vodka and heavy cream. Or do you? In this vegan version, fresh out of I Can Cook Vegan by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, we’re skipping the cow cream and swapping in cashew cream. When stirred into boozy red sauce, this becomes utterly indistinguishable from the classic. I’ll be making a batch on Monday night (and making my husband record me on Instagram, as one does). Join us!

Pot Pie, Vegetarian or Not

We’ve reached peak pot pie season, my friends, and our senior copywriter Maggie Slover isn’t wasting any time: “I have all my ingredients lined up to make this vegetarian pot pie (special thanks to Trader Joe’s frozen puff pastry). It’s hearty and cozy-as-an-oversized-cardigan, and the chickpeas are the perfect stunt doubles for meat,” she told me. “Now I just need to find the right wine pairing.” Share recs for Maggie in the comments, please and thank you. And if you're feeling meaty, I give you: our test kitchen's best chicken pot pie.

Avocado Toast, Two Ways

The rainbow of summer produce is becoming a teenier, tinier speck on the horizon, which means we have to find our greenery in other places. Like avocados! I’m craving this avocado toast salad with lots of herbs. But if you aren’t feeling salad-y, why not take our senior editor Eric Kim’s nori avocado toast for a spin—it’s got a few drops of sesame oil and a whole package of roasted seaweed snack.

Challah for a Sleepy Saturday Morning

Repeat after me: Weekend mornings are for going to bakeries or baking at home and absolutely nothing else. Got it? Good. Our copywriter Maurine Hainsworth knows just what I’m talking about: “I've got my eye on Ima's challah—one, because braiding sweet, cardamom-sprinkled dough sounds like a dreamy way to spend a fall Saturday morning. And two: I'm training for made-from-scratch stuffing later this month.” Thanksgiving training! Go Maurine!

Cookies to Keep in the Freezer

“This oldie but goodie recipe for crispy oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies is by far my favorite on the site,” said our associate buyer Aja Aktay. (Editor’s note: We have over 50,000 recipes, so just let that sink in.) “The cookies turn out so crunchy, salty, and satisfying. The big chunks of oatmeal spread out nice and thin and make for a crispy yet gooey cookie. I discovered it last year and always keep extra in my freezer.” Why don’t I always have cookies in my freezer? And what about you?

On the Side

Four stories waiting for me in my Pocket:

  1. The internet loses its mind because Keanu Reeves is dating a woman who’s only nine years younger than him. Wait. What? (Vox)
  2. 10 essential Indigenous American recipes, from roast turkey with berry-mint sauce (hi, Thanksgiving) to chia pudding with popped amaranth (hello, Friday night). (The New York Times)
  3. This is, apparently, “the most anticipated restaurant in America.” But where and how and when and why? (Eater)
  4. One thing you (yep, you, and me, and that guy over there) can do about the climate crisis. (Cup of Jo)

Hope things are well wherever you are. I’m raising my mug of tea to you.

Talk soon,

Listen Now

Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Dana Ernest
    Dana Ernest
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Dana E. November 11, 2019
Mmm it's starting to get chilly here in Ohio and that chickpea pot pie sounds perfect! Emma, is it possible to swap almond milk for the whole milk in that recipe?
Emma L. November 11, 2019
Yay! The recipe uses a lot of milk, so it's hard to predict how a swap like that would turn out. Almond milk might be a little lean, so maybe you could combine it with coconut milk/cream or even a full-fat oat milk? If you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out!