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Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration Hardcover – 13 Sep 2012
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"At her best once again... With dozens of colourful images and easy-to-follow recipes, this book is a fantastic starting point for anybody who wants to try their hand at Italian cuisine" (Italia!)
"In this new book she conjures up, with passionate relish, the warmth, simplicity and directness of Italian cooking, with an Anglo-twist" (Mrs D-Daily (Blog))
"We love Nigella for her infectious enthusiasm and her pure unadulterated joy in cooking and eating. This book made us ravenously hungry" (Jocelyn Doyle Easy Food)
"Taking the fuss out of Italian cooking" (Look)
"I wouldn’t eat if it weren’t for Nigella Lawson and Yotam Ottolenghi, so thank God they both put out books this year" (Caitlin Moran Observer)
Instant Italian Inspiration from bestselling food writer Nigella LawsonSee all Product description
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There is plenty of pasta, for example mini macaroni cheese - not the usual recipe using a roux-based sauce, but a simple, quick & effective alternative. I really liked the tortelloni minestrone and the fettuccine with marsala, mushrooms & mascarpone. Other good dishes include farro risotto; lamb cutlets with mint, chilli & potatoes; lamb steaks with anchovies & thyme; pork loin with parma ham & oregano; monkfish wrapped in rosemary, lemon & parma ham; tempura prawns with an Italian twist and a tray bake of Italian sausages & chicken thighs.
There are some very nice side dishes too. I am not normally a fan of cabbage but the savoy cabbage dish with potatoes, fennel & taleggio (the cheese is optional) elevates a mundane vegetable. I tend to avoid Brussels sprouts too but there is a recipe which looks promising - the sprouts are roasted with rosemary and lemon, then sprinkled with pecorino cheese. The gnocchi gratin recipe produces a lovely, comforting dish that can be made quickly as it uses shop-bought chilled gnocchi, and the saffron orzotto (barley instead of rice in a risotto-type dish that can be made ahead) and the fabulous mock mash made with semolina rather than potatoes are excellent too.
Sweet dishes include a no-churn coffee ice-cream, cinnamon almond cake, aniseed shortbread, amaretto semi-freddo, a very quick take on chocolate mousse and meringue gelato cake (another very quick and easy recipe).
On a seasonal note, there is a whole chapter devoted to Christmas and offering a variety of dishes as an alternative to the traditional Christmas meal. This includes nibbles like polenta triangles with a chilli sauce and parmesan shortbread, an Italian inspired roast turkey stuffed with Italian sausages and Marsala soaked cranberries, plus suggestions for vegetables. There is a good selection of desserts and sweet things such as a chocolate salami, no-churn chestnut ice-cream and an alternative Christmas cake based on panettone or pandoro.
One thing I didn't spot initially, is a final section of notes tucked away at the end of the book with useful information as to whether a dish can be prepared ahead, if so to what stage, how long it will last in the fridge/freezer. This is really helpful information but it is a pity it is easy to miss.
This isn't Nigella's best book - I would put How to Eat & Feast at the top of my list - however, I don't regret buying it.
`Nigellissima' is divided into 5 main sections - `Pasta', `Flesh, Fish & Fowl', Vegetables & Sides', `Sweet Things' and `An Italian Inspired Christmas'. Some ingredients may be difficult to source, but most recipes are straightforward, presentation is excellent, and results are mouthwatering. Nigella writes in a style that conjures up her TV image and her inspirational appeal is to both novices and experienced cooks. The striking illustrations are somewhat darker than other similar publications, the font size can be on the small side, and text is grey and therefore not as crisp as black on white. However it is the recipes that matter - these cannot be faulted. Anyone who likes Italian food will like this book, and those who haven't tried Italian should be inspired to do so, and there are enough easy recipes to confirm the description "instant".
All recipes are clearly written and involve easy to find products. , wonderfully photographed and I now have loads of those little yellow sticky pieces of paper on each recipe page which have been tried so far ... quite lot!
A nice book for Italian type food easy to cook at home.