Welcome to the first entry of our new series featuring cookbook reviews. We’re huge fans of the tiny monthly magazine Everyday Food from Martha Stewart because they’re filled with recipes that are simple and delicious. In fact, when the other Double P moved to New York, she gifted her collection of old mags to me so they’d be in good hands. So it’s only fitting that we kick things off with Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast. Check out what happens when we test out the first of two dishes, plus, we give you the recipe for their Farfalle with Arugula and White Beans.
Our major gripe with cookbooks is there are many filler recipes you know you’ll never make. They’re either too complicated in terms of the specific ingredients, how to make it, or both. Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast is completely the opposite. The number of ingredients are minimal (you’ll have a lot of them on hand in your kitchen already) and the prep time and cooking time are short as well.
Visually, this cookbook is a dream. The ingredient list and instructions are on one side, and there’s a full-page, full-colour picture of the finished dish on the other. Having a photo for every recipe is key for me, so this book fulfills that requirement. I decided to try a simple vegetarian pasta, that required only six ingredients.
Farfalle with Arugula and White Beans
prep time: 10 minutes
total time: 25 minutes
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 12 ounces farfalle
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, thiny sliced
- 1 pound baby arugula (can substitute spinach)
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted, for garnish (can substitute pine nuts — which I did)
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil; add a generous amount of salt. Cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta.
2. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the garlic to the pot; cook over medium heat, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add arugula; toss just until wilted.
3. Add beans, pasta and remaining 3 tablespoons butter; season with salt and pepper. Heat, tossing until butter is melted and beans and pasta are warmed through, about 1 minute. Add enough reserved pasta water to create a thin sauce to coat pasta.
4. To serve, divide among shallow bowls, and garnish with walnuts.
As you can see, my food styling abilities aren’t quite up to the Martha Stewart standard, but it tasted phenomenal. Both my guinea pigs, Rodrigo and Elenisan, gave it two thumbs up, and went up for seconds and thirds. I made a few adjustments; I used the entire package of bowtie pasta which was slightly more than called for, didn’t have quite enough arugula, cut out a tablespoon of butter and added some finely grated parmigiana. It tasted light and fresh, while the white beans kept it hearty and the reserved pasta water created a buttery coating. The dish is easy enough to make on a weeknight and I highly suggest trying it.
Check back later this week when I attempt another recipe, Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks with Herb Dipping Sauce.
Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast by Martha Stewart Living
Canada $29.99 / USA $24.99
Difficulty Level: Easy. Minimal ingredients and easy prep for most recipes.
Design and Photos: Excellent. Everything you’d expect from Martha. A highly produced, enticing photo accompanies each recipe.
Shelf-life: You’ll use it again and again, then pass it on to the next generation.
Overall Rating: 5/5
Excerpted from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast by Martha Stewart Living Copyright © 2010 by Martha Stewart Living. Photo Copyright © 2010 by Kana Okada. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.