Nigellissima

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I have recently been seduced by Nigella.  She has been swooning all over my television screen show-casing Nigellissima.  Of course, I succumbed to her charm and bought the book.  But I must say, it is disappointing.  Not that it isn’t a good book; just that it doesn’t compare to Nigella shrugging her shoulder as she licks a spoon.

I think one of Nigella’s biggest charms is that she makes you believe you can have it all – be forever young, eat what you like and still be slim and gorgeous.  Ah, well …

I must say, now I have the book, I can see why she is so popular.  She writes exceptionally well and her recipes are, on the whole, very simple.  Just like this one.

I decided to give her Sicilian Pasta with Tomatoes, Garlic & Almonds a whirl as I had all the ingredients, we were driving back from Bridgetown that day and would be tired (and grumpy) and it would only take minutes to prepare.

It was very nice indeed.   Even fussy Maureen gave it the thumbs up.  Don’t be put off if you are not an anchovies fan.  You cannot taste them; they merely add a salty depth to the sauce, much like fish sauce to a Thai dish.  If you are a vegetarian, Nigella suggests substituting 4 tablespoons of grated pecorino for the anchovies, otherwise, do not omit them.  You will not know they are there.

The only change I made to Nigella’s recipe is: I used 250g of pasta rather than 500g which would be way too much for two people.  I figured if I had too much sauce for the amount of pasta, we could have it again the next day but, as you can see from the photo, we didn’t.  We ate the lot.

Ingredients:

  • 250g pasta (or 500g as per the recipe)
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 25g sultanas
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbs* capers, drained
  • 50g almonds, blanched
  • 60 mls olive oil
  • basil, to serve

*These are 15ml tablespoons

Method:

  1. Put the pasta on.
  2. Whilst the pasta is cooking, make the sauce by putting all the remaining ingredients, except the basil, into your food processor and whizz them until well combined.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the fluid in case you need it to ensure the sauce coats the pasta.
  4. Pour the sauce over the pasta (add some of the reserved pasta water if you need it).
  5. Decorate with basil leaves.  (No.  Mine shown in the photo are not ‘worn’ – they are variegated.)

And that is dinner!!.  Very easy, Nigella!!

8 thoughts on “Nigellissima

  1. This sounds like a wonderful pasta, Glenda. When I’m serving guests, unless they can see them, I rarely mention that anchovies are a part of the dish. Some things are better left unsaid. 😉

  2. I’m guessing here, but I’d bet Nigella sells more cookbooks to males than females – but having said that, I’d have to admit that this recipe looks solid and promising – I’m copying it into my collection. One question, how fine do you wiz up the almonds? I know some of this ‘rustic’ dishes often leave the ingredient pieces quite large.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Doc, If you look closely you can see the almond pieces in the photo. I just checked out Nigella’s photo and you can see small pieces of nuts in her dish too. She says to chuck everything into a food processor and whizz. A food processor won’t make the nuts super small. The pieces in my dish were about 2 mils. BTW I made your salmon patties the other night. Very nice indeed!

  3. Ahhhh Nigella, there is something so seductive about her. You’re right, her recipes are simple but she seems to lure you in with her sexual innuendo when describing the ingredients! I adore her! This recipe looks lovely, I would’ve never thought to put sultana’s in a pasta dish!

    • Hi Lisa. I think the sultanas are the Sicilian influence. It is so close to Northern Africa where fruit is standard in savoury meals.

    • Hi Anne, she sure is a pouter. It seems to work for her as she sells millions of books. I have just bought Nigellissima and How to Eat and I must say, I am very impressed with both.

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