At one time or another, I've subscribed to nearly all the cooking magazines (well, not all of them—I draw the line at those that consider mixing together several packaged products a "recipe"). Last year I stopped getting Food and Wine, because I found it just too esoteric. There was rarely a single recipe I would consider wanting to make in any given issue. I still love poring over Bon Appétit and Gourmet and Fine Cooking, as well as Martha Stewart's cute little Everyday Cooking mag. I also get Saveur, although I don't think I'll renew it next time. It's beautiful, but not terribly useful. I used to subscribe to Cooks' Illustrated, but now I just get the bound annual edition every year.
Anyhow, the worst one of all is Cuisine at Home, which I just can't wait to expire (but can't bring myself to cancel prematurely). The presentation of each recipe is maddening. Some of the instructions are in the ingredients list and some in the little accompanying photos. There's no way to just glance at the ingredients list and see what you need, because rather than say something like "3 Tablespoons butter, divided," it will just list "1 Tablespoon butter" in three different places. And fussy? Man, these recipes make me crazy. They always want a tiny amount of a million different things, like 1 teaspoon of wine or heavy cream. Getting your mise en place ready takes forever. Check out the samples here. I am a pretty good cook, but I am not so confident and experienced that I can really wing it when it comes to trying a new recipe, so I end up spending a long time measuring out all the little bits of everything. Argh!
All that being said, however, we did have a yummy meal last night from this magazine. I'm retyping it below in the way it should have been presented. And if anyone over at Cuisine at Home is reading this, I'm available immediately for freelance editing—and recipe testing!
Saltimbocca Chicken Breasts with Sage Sauce and Creamy Arugula Pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6–8 oz. each)
2 oz. provolone, halved (It called for a rectangular chunk that you cut into two "sticks"; I used the sliced stuff I already had and just made two little stick-shaped bundles.)
4 slices prosciutto
1 teaspoon (!) olive oil
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
4 oz. angel hair pasta (I had only spaghetti on hand.)
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup arugula, torn
1 Tablespoon minced shallots
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
Heat oven to 400°. Put a pot of salted water on to boil for pasta.
Season chicken with pepper. Cut a slit lengthwise in each breast half, but not all the way through, and tuck the cheese into the slit. Lay out two slices of prosciutto so that they overlap lengthwise. Place the chicken crosswise on the prosciutto and roll up snugly.
Heat oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a nonstick skillet and saute chicken over medium-high heat. Cook, turning to brown all sides, about 6–8 minutes. Place chicken on a rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven for about 5 minutes to finish. (Don't put the skillet in the sink yet!) Remove and let chicken rest.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. While it's cooking, in a large bowl whisk the cream, Parmesan, egg yolk, lemon zest, red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with the arugula. When the pasta is done, drain it and immediately put it in the bowl with the cream mixture and arugula. Toss to coat pasta and wilt arugula.
Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in the same skillet you were using and saute the shallot over medium-high heat until softened, about 1 minute. Deglaze with wine; simmer over high heat until nearly evaporated. Add broth and lemon juice; simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Swirl 2 Tablespoons butter and sage in pan to finish sauce. Don't allow it to boil.
To serve, divide pasta between two places, place chicken alongside pasta, then drizzle chicken with sauce.
While eating, we watched Steve Buscemi in "Living in Oblivion." He was terrific (as always), playing the director of a low-budget indie film. Everything that can possibly go wrong on the set does go wrong, and more, too. Catherine Keener was also great. This is a very funny movie, and from the reviews on Netflix, it is also a very realistic (if somewhat over-the-top) portrayal of what it's like to be on a low-budget movie set.
Then I had to go wash all those bowls and utensils I used for that overly detailed recipe, cursing the Cuisine at Home people all the while.