This is a slow-cooker adaptation of Marcella Hazan’s famous 3-ingredient marinara sauce. The butter makes the sauce plush. Good-quality canned tomatoes are a useful pantry staple year-round but especially in winter when fresh tomatoes seem a lifetime away.
This is one of those miraculous dishes that uses only a few basic ingredients (beef, onions, garlic, thyme, etc.), doesn’t require much technique or fussing, and yet produces a delectable and soul-satisfying dish that’s superb on its own but lends itself to leftover improvisation.
Lidia Bastianich’s polenta torta is delicious with Gorgonzola and cabbage, but you can vary the filling however you wish. The dish is ideal for a crowd. You can assemble the tart the day before and then bake it the day of your gathering, and it also reheats well.
One of the great delights in baking is that moment when you flip the tarte tatin out of the skillet to behold the dark golden color of apples and to breathe in the seductive aroma.
Anyone can pull together this no-cook treat. The parfait recipe is an example—created by the nutrition team at the Hartford HeathCare Bone & Joint Institute at Hartford Hospital—of how you can eat sensibly and healthfully without depriving yourself. . .or skipping dessert.