Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
Published: May 20, 2009
Category: Food and Wine
This cannot be. There must be some mistake. We are promised "easy" and it is. They say "simple" and they deliver.
What are the hidden flaws?
Start with the introduction. Here's the philosophy: "Simple, delicious food relies on its ingredients."
Uh, can't fault that. Butler has been cooking for decades, and the one thing he has learned is: Don't look for a bargain when it comes to olive oil. And, like the Europeans, buy the vegetables you're going to serve in the evening fresh that morning.
Then they say they divide the pastas into types --- spaghetti, short pasta and tagliatelle --- because, in Italian cooking, each suggests its own kind of sauce.
Really? I never knew.
And then they conclude: "Easy food doesn't have to mean unsophisticated food."
Apparently not. These women own a restaurant in London that is extremely expensive (for an Italian establishment), favored by a celebrity clientele and always packed with foodies --- this is fine dining, just on relaxed terms.
More signs of brilliance: There are great pictures of everything. The recipes rarely have even a half dozen ingredients. Nothing takes much time to cook.
Butler is slowly cooking his way through this outrageously wonderful book. So far, he has loved what he's cooked --- and so have his victims. His challenge today: what recipe to choose that will make you want to change your plans for tonight --- and make you want to order this book tomorrow.
Oh, spin the wheel already. And get.....
Chicken with Nutmeg
Ready for 6 ingredients?
Whole free-range chicken
4 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup white wine
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the lemon in half. Grate the nutmeg.
Rub the chicken all over with the lemon, squeezing the juice into the skin. Season the skin and inside the cavity with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Tuck the prosciutto slices into the cavity.
Put the chicken in a roasting pan, breast-side down, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 90 minutes, basting from time to time. Add the wine after 30 minutes. Turn the bird breast-side up for the last 20 minutes.
Serve with the juices from the pan.
That's it. Couldn't be simpler. Couldn't be better. And your guests, friends and family will think you're a wizard --- and nothing tastes better than praise, does it?
To buy "Italian Easy" from Amazon.com, click here.