Today is the start of a brand new feature on my blog called ‘My kitchen cookbooks’, that’s all about sharing with you my passion for cookbooks. I’ll select one cookbook from my continually growing collection and tell you why I love it. I regularly visit my local library, so the odd library book may appear every now and again.
The first book I’ve picked is Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson.
The strapline for this book is ‘Instant Italian inspiration’ and that really does sum up the book well. Packed full of Italian influences and flavours this is the book that really got me into cooking and helped me progress from just baking. Nigella herself states within the book that the recipes are not authentically Italian but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The recipes feature lots of my favourite Italian ingredients such as pasta, pancetta and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
The first recipe I ever cooked from Nigellissima was the Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta. I halved the quantities and cooked it just for me and I now make this often if I’m eating alone. The uniqueness of this dish is that orzo pasta is substituted for risotto rice, making this far less labour intensive than a traditional risotto. The combination of the salty pancetta and sweet peas work beautifully together, this is a recipe I highly recommend.
Another recipe I cook frequently from the book is Curly Edged Pasta with Lamb Ragu. I’ve cooked this dish so much that the book pages are stained from splashes of tinned tomatoes and the recipe is now committed to memory. This is a straight forward no nonsense recipe combining a meaty lamb sauce with long pasta. For me, the use of chilli flakes and red currant jelly absolutely make this dish complete. Don’t bother to make it unless you have them because it isn’t quite the same without them. The malfadine pasta used can be a bit tricky to find in the supermarkets, I do one of two things either track it down in an Italian deli or substitute it for tagliatelle or bucatini pasta instead, both work equally well.
I have quite a sweet tooth so I’m always keen to try any new cake or dessert recipes. I really enjoyed the Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, which is a bit like a light and luxurious chocolate brownie. The recipe states using regular olive oil but I recall in the TV programme that accompanies the book Nigella suggests using mild and light olive oil. Guess what, you can’t taste the olive oil at all just pure yummy chocolate cake.
If you’re on the look out for a super easy but divine dessert then the Meringue Gelato Cake with Chocolate Sauce is amazing. Incredibly simple and quick to prepare ahead, makes this dessert a perfect after dinner treat.
Nigellissima has less recipes than Nigella’s other book but it is undoubtedly my favourite. There are still many more recipes I hope to try, so watch out for those recipe reviews on the blog.
If you have a copy of Nigellissima, I’d love to know what’s your favourite recipe and why?
Until next time.