damn you chris kimball!!!

i picked up a copy of the best of america’s test kitchen 2012 the other day from barnes & noble. i had a gift card from christmas taking up space in my wallet (thanks MJ and ali!) plus i like to compete with ATK in the kitchen. i view each and every one of their recipes as a challenge. a thrown gauntlet if you will. not like i’m some great chef or anything, but i like to look at the ridiculousness that is 5 pages of musings on whether turning the oven 3 degrees lower might have made the texture of the tibetian yak pie less stringy and using organic parchment paper would have rendered the belgian chocolate free-form tortes even more delectable and belgian-y. i live to condense their 9 page recipes into 1 and show them up by making whatever it is in 4 simple drama-free steps – and still blow your mind. after flipping through the 96 pages of food porn nonsense, i settled on the pasta roll-ups with chicken. such an unassuming name. bastards. they almost had me fooled. after skimming their recipe, i decided that it was absolutely unacceptable. i got rid of the sundried tomato and pine nuts immediately. while pine nuts are very yummy, they are extremely expensive right now. why go buy a bag of pine nuts for 17 bucks when you can get a scoop of walnuts from the bulk food aisle at any supermarket for a couple of bucks? i also subbed ricotta cheese for goat (though i do love goat cheese, i didn’t see this dish hanging on the use of goat cheese). but went ahead with the mozzarella and shredded parmesan. i simmered my chicken breast till done (figure it out) along with some salt, pepper and bay leaves for company. DO NOT BOIL! and when it does temp out, leave it to rest on a plate for 10 minutes while you put the rest of this nonsense together. soak your no-boil lasagna noodles in hot water for about 5 minutes till pliable. set aside and cover with a damp paper towel or cloth. i sauteed some bacon, and used the grease as a base for the roux. i made a simple roux with garlic, onion, half & half, s&p, chicken broth, and added parmesan, chopped walnuts and some mozzarella. ATK calls for nutmeg, but honestly, i never seem to have nutmeg and i don’t see this dish suffering too much from it’s exclusion. back to the chicken: use two forks to shred it  and then incorporate half the sauce. at this point, i add some herbs such as basil and oregano, possibly a little red pepper flake if you like it hot. i chose to add prosciutto to this recipe on a whim (i had it in the fridge). lay out your wet noodles and line with prosciutto. spoon the chicken/sauce mixture on top and prepare to roll. once you have your pasta rolled, place in a greased casserole dish and cover with the reserved sauce. cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes @ 350. remove foil and top with remaining shredded cheese and broil on high for 3-5 minutes. bazinga. if you can’t follow my simple directions, you have no place even cracking an ATK book, let alone reading this blog. make me proud. 

2 thoughts on “damn you chris kimball!!!

  1. Jen says:

    I heart this post for many reasons – from you taking on my old employer to this parenthetical: (figure it out).

  2. i remember way back when, when you introduced me to the “gentleman farmer”…seems like a lifetime ago. as for the rest, either you got it or you don’t. real chefs figure out a way to make it happen captain!

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