Anyone who has ever heard Nigella Lawson describe food in her unmistakable sultry accent knows that she’s a Brit, through and through. But in the kitchen, her style has always leaned Italian. “It was when I was sixteen or seventeen that I decided to be Italian,” Nigella explains in the introduction to her ninth cookbook, Nigellissima. “I simply felt drawn to it, to Italy.”
I hear you, Nigella. Though I’m zero-percent Italian by birth, I’ve been an infatuated Italophile for as long as I can remember. After learning to cook the Italian way during my semester abroad in Rome, I, too, decided to be Italian. Most of what comes out of my kitchen today reflects my adopted heritage.
During her gap year in Florence, Nigella worked as a chambermaid at a family-run pensione and spent most of her free time in the kitchen with Nonna, an Italian grandmother “out of central casting.” Nigella’s recipes in Nigellissima are inspired by the classic techniques used by generations of Italian grandmothers, but she makes no claims of authenticity. The cookbook’s pastas, main dishes, vegetables and sweets all encompass her own personal spin on Italian food.
Macaroni and Cheese All’Italiana, for instance — not exactly a traditional Italian dish. But Nigella gives this rich comfort classic an Italian accent and upgrades it in the process by skipping the heavy roux-based sauce and using pennette pasta, fresh mozzarella and mascarpone. Chocolate Olive Oil Cake is Nigella’s decadent take on the flourless chocolate cake, subbing olive oil for butter, as Italians often do.
Want more of Nigella’s Italian-inspired recipes? We’re giving away a copy of Nigellissima to one lucky Devour reader. All you have to do is tell us your favorite Italian dish in a comment on this post.
You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate back with you if you’re a winner. (But do not post your email address into the actual body of the comment.)
So, tell us: What’s your favorite Italian dish?
You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 12:00 p.m. ET on February 26 and 5:00 p.m. ET on March 1. Subject to full Official Rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $35. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a/ Cooking Channel, 75 9th Ave., New York, NY 10011.