The 20 Greatest Recipes of All Time

Even during normal times, the world loves a bucket list, but I find these days, the concept is even more appealing…

For those of us lucky enough to be in good health or able to steal a break from home-schooling/zoom-meeting/toddler mania, when will there be a better time to see a few of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time, or attempt to read a novel off the list of Best Books of the Century or queue up one of The Best 50 Shows on Netflix? (I’ll answer that question for you: Hopefully never.)

But as I was mentally checking boxes on the film list, and queuing up Unorthodox on my laptop, and considering Turn of the Screw for my next book club selection (but really only considering), it occurred to me: Where are the Greatest of All Time recipe lists? I mean, certain famous recipes show up over and over on Instagram these days, and of course, you’ll find perennial Most Popular Recipes lists on specific websites, and Kristen Miglore is a genius herself for shepherding Food52’s Genius Recipes all these years. But where is my Bucket List? I decided to take the matter into my own hands…

How many of these have you made? (They are all famous enough to be google-able.)

Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese (shown)
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread
Alison Roman’s Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
David Chang’s Bo Ssam
Marion Cunningham’s Yeasted Waffles
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Tofu and Black Pepper
Deb Perelman’s Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats
Giuliano Bugiali’s Minestrone
Nobu Matsuhisa’s Black Cod with Miso
Julia Child’s Beef Bourgignon
Marcus Samuelsson’s Swedish Meatballs
Marion Burros’s Plum Torte
Edna Lewis’s Shrimp & Grits
Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese
The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella
Samin Nosrat’s Buttermilk Chicken
Sarah Kieffer’s Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookie
Jonathan Waxman’s Kale Salad
Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Cake (this one)
Deborah Madison’s Black Bean Chili

Have you made any of these in the last eight weeks? Since mid-March, I’ve personally tackled the pan-banged cookies, the waffles, and the brown butter Rice Krispie treats. My husband cooked up a batch of Marcella Hazan’s bolognese for my birthday because he knows that there is no meal on earth that makes me happier. There’s a reason why that recipe is famous — all day long the meat sits on the stovetop cooking down, absorbing the tomatoes and milk and wine. The gentle simmering is like a constant, lovely whisper saying: This is going to blow your mind. And it does, every time!

What would you add to the list? What would you remove? Feel free to disagree with my selections — the arguing is, of course, the most fun part of compiling a list in the first place.

Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese
From The Classic Italian Cookbook

2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped carrot
3/4 pound ground lean beef
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups canned whole tomatoes, chopped, with their juice

In a Dutch Oven or large heavy pot, add the onion with the oil and butter and saute briefly over medium heat until translucent. Add the celery and carrot and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the ground beef, crumbling it in the pot with a fork. Add 1 teaspoon salt, stir, and cook only until the meat has lost its red, raw color. Add the wine, turn the heat up to medium high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the wine has evaporated.

Turn the heat down to medium, add the milk and the nutmeg, and cook until the milk has evaporated. Stir frequently.

When the milk has evaporated, add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly. When the tomatoes have started to bubble, turn the heat down until the sauce cooks at the laziest simmer, just an occasional bubble. Cook, uncovered, for a minimum of 3 1/2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve with tagliatelle.

P.S. Cup of Jo’s 12 most popular recipes of all time and the world’s best strawberry cake.