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Cold climes call for indulging in something cheesy, delicious, and soul-satisfying.
When I was a kid and it was cold outside, my mom used to make pappa al pomodoro, a hearty soup with thick chunks of French bread, half-melted Parmesan, and basil. And when it’s freezing outside, I still crave that kind of rich, belly-filling fare. My body needs the extra calories—and the extra goodness! Beyond the mouthwatering aspect, there’s something that happens in the brain when we eat this kind of comfort food. It triggers our neurotransmitters to release endorphins and serotonin, which make us feel good.
Soups are perfect for this time of year—and my ribollita, sort of a souped-up minestrone with spaghetti, is just the thing—but I also love a really cheesy baked pasta with a great golden crust. It just makes me feel warm and cozy inside. Roast chicken, which makes the whole house smell amazing, is a winter classic for a reason—and it’s easier than you think.
And on chilly days, snack time calls for something a bit more decadent than usual, like a thick slice of toast sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and slathered with ricotta cheese, a bit of orange zest, and sea salt. It’s the perfect treat after a brisk walk outside (or just because). I may eat two—and not even feel guilty!