Cook books are my kind of kitchen porn. No matter how many I have or whether or not I get through the hundreds of recipes they contain, I never get bored of pouring over the beautiful food photos and discovering new and old recipes in their pages. As an Italophile with a particular fetish for the food, it’s not surprising that many of my cook books are about Italian cuisine. Some focus solely on pasta, strange perhaps to people who think of this as something you make with a pot of boiling water, jar of ready-made sauce and no thought whatsoever. But as soon as you start to learn about the intricacies of the perfect pasta, it is hard not to become obsessed with making the softest tagliatelle you can and creating the ultimate eggplant parmigiana.
Nigella Lawson clearly feels that same way about Italian food as me as she has just published a cook book of recipes showcasing her spin on express Italian cuisine called Nigellisima. Less about home-made pasta and more about bringing the ingredients and, her words, ‘the spirit of Italy’ into the home. Her pea and pesto soup from a previous Express – an earlier cookbook of Nigella Lawson is a good example of this.
As for me, I still tossing up about whether or not I’ll fork out for the Nigellisima cookbook. I prefer my Italian recipes more or less as you’d find in an Italian kitchen rather than West London. For those of you similarly undecided, here is the first episode of the TV series of Nigellisma, which features recipes you’ll find in the hard-copy version.