The best dishes to warm you up during winter 2012

As the temperature drops, these best dishes of 2012—ramen, cassoulet and Italian warmers—will provide comfort from the cold.

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  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Baked ziti with meat gravy at Parm
    Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone add a few steps to elevate this Italian-American staple from a humdrum suburban casserole to a restaurant dish well worth its attendant buzz. Their baked ziti—made with a mix of mild mozzarella and aged SarVecchio (a domestic Parmesan cheese)—is seared on the flattop in individual portions so that there is an abundance of crispy edges, then topped with fresh-whipped ricotta and a slow-simmered gravy of veal, pork and beef. 248 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-993-7189, parmnyc.com). $15.—Jay Cheshes

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Lasagna al forno at Bar Corvo
    A smart chef knows when to embroider a classic and when to leave it alone. Anna Klinger’s take on the ultimate Italian comfort food sticks to the basics—and gets all of them right. Fresh sheets of pasta layered with just enough béchamel, Parmigiano and ragù bolognese are baked fresh to order in personal crocks. The result is rich, gooey and restorative—just as New York’s best lasagna should be. 791 Washington Ave between Lincoln and St. Johns Pls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-0940, barcorvo.com). $17.—Jay Cheshes

  • Photograph: Michael Skigen

    Cassoulet at Chez Napoléon
    This classic French peasant dish is a house specialty at the stalwart Gallic eatery in Midtown West. Chef Marguerite “Grand-Mère” Bruno was born in Brittany, but picked up the preparation of the dish she serves at Chez Napoleon in Paris. She combines a slow-cooked white bean stew with chunks of soft duck confit, thick rounds of pork sausage and morsels of lamb; an infusion of house-made tomato sauce provides a spicy undertow. Poured into a porcelain dish, it’s finished in the oven and served piping hot. 365 W 50th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves (212-265-6980, cheznapoleon.com). $26.—Christopher Ross

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Deli Ramen at Dassara
    As ramen increasingly becomes a staple of the modern New York diet, Josh Kaplan, Justin DeSpirito and Lana Yang of Carroll Gardens’ Dassara set out to put a uniquely local stamp on the dish, filling the Japanese noodle bowl with elements inspired by a Gotham deli. They begin with chicken broth suffused with a rich chicken tare, then toss in plump matzo balls and ribbons of Montreal-style smoked meat chashu. A few classic elements—poached egg, bamboo—keep it grounded in tradition. 271 Smith St between Degraw and Sackett Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-643-0781, dassara.com). $15.—Christopher Ross

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Ribollita at Locanda Vini & Olii
    A time-honored Tuscan comfort food, this rustic vegetarian soup combines tender slivers of Tuscan kale, cannellini beans and winter root veggies with hunks of day-old Tuscan bread, baked in-house. The soup sits overnight so that the flavors meld together, and is served the next day (ribollita means “reboiled” in Italian). It’s finished with a glug of extra-virgin olive oil and a whip of fresh black pepper. 129 Gates Ave at Cambridge Pl, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (718- 622-9202, locandavinieolii.com). $8.50.—Jamie Feldmar

Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Baked ziti with meat gravy at Parm
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone add a few steps to elevate this Italian-American staple from a humdrum suburban casserole to a restaurant dish well worth its attendant buzz. Their baked ziti—made with a mix of mild mozzarella and aged SarVecchio (a domestic Parmesan cheese)—is seared on the flattop in individual portions so that there is an abundance of crispy edges, then topped with fresh-whipped ricotta and a slow-simmered gravy of veal, pork and beef. 248 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-993-7189, parmnyc.com). $15.—Jay Cheshes

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New York is awash with comfort food to warm you up when it’s cold, but these standout examples should be your go-tos. The best dishes in this class include perfectly executed lasagna at Bar Corvo and a hearty French stew at Chez Napoléon, as well as a local twist on ramen at Dassara.



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