Nigellissima, like the Italian cooking from which it takes its inspiration, is a celebration of food that is fresh, delicious, and unpretentious. Here Nigella Lawson serves up 120 straightforward and mouthwatering recipes that are quick and easy yet elevate weeknight meals into no-fuss feasts.
“It was when I was sixteen or seventeen that I decided to be Italian. Not that it was a conscious decision . . . No: I simply felt drawn to Italy,” writes Nigella. And so it was that before she was a Food Network star and bestselling cookbook author, Nigella found her way to Florence, where she learned to cook like an Italian. Indeed, Italian cooking is trademark Nigella: light on touch but robust with flavor.
With beautiful color photographs to inspire, Nigellissima has all the hallmarks of traditional Italian fare in its faithfulness to the freshest ingredients and simplest methods. From pasta and meat to fish, vegetables, and, of course, dolci, this cook’s tour has something for every mood, season, and occasion: Curly-Edged Pasta with Lamb Ragu is the perfect salve for a winter’s night, while tangy and light Spaghettini with Lemon and Garlic Breadcrumbs takes just minutes to prepare. Meatzza, the favorite at Nigella’s table, is a meatball mixture pressed into a pan and finished with traditional Margherita ingredients—or whatever you may have on hand. And the versatile Baby Eggplant with Oregano and Red Onion works beautifully as a starter or side or as dinner sprinkled with ricotta salata or crumbled feta. Here, too, are Green Beans with Pistachio Pesto, Roast Butternut with Sage and Pine Nuts, and fluffy Mascarpone Mash, Nigella’s twist on mashed potatoes. Never an afterthought, Nigella’s low-maintenance “sweet things” include Instant Chocolate-Orange Mousse; light, doughnut-like Sambuca Kisses; and One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream, to name just a few.
Nigella believes that every ingredient must earn its place in a recipe, and she gives tips and techniques for making the most of your time in the kitchen. For example, a stash of sweet vermouth saves you from opening a bottle when you need just a splash. If a recipe calls for the juice of a lemon, Nigella uses the zest, too—that’s where its force and fragrance lie. She guides you to stocking your pantry with a few supermarket ingredients and shows you how to make the most of them for spontaneous meals that taste boldly Italian.
Nigellissima is a love letter to the pleasures of cooking—and eating—the way Italians do. With a nod to the traditional but in Nigella’s trademark style, here are recipes that excite the imagination without stressing the cook.