Pasta sorta alla Nigella

I like to think Nigella Lawson and I have a lot in common. We both love cooking and eating and feeding people, we both love buying cookbooks and bits of kitchen kit, we both have brown hair and beautiful daughters. We both have millionaire husbands and live in swanky Georgian houses in Belgravia… oh, hang on, that’s right, I knew there was something that didn’t quite match. For all our similarities, I doubt Nigella has the same sort of slightly sick feeling in the middle of January when she gets her credit card statement. She probably doesn’t look in her pantry and think, oh god, there’s nothing to eat and another week until pay day. But if she did, I like to think this is what she might come up with…

Pasta sorta alla Nigella
This is my entry for Forever Nigella, a new blogging challenge set by the wonderful Sarah of Maison Cupcake fame. The theme for this month’s challenge is ‘Seasonal Sensations’ – which I have interpreted as ‘making something sensational even when you are broke after Christmas’. I’ve taken inspiration from Nigella’s Ultimate Greek Salad (published in Forever Summer), which we have been eating almost constantly. But with no feta or olives left in the fridge, this is what I came up with to sustain us on a night when the cupboard was bare and the only thing we had in abundance was basil in the garden. Actually, the cupboard seems bare quite often at the moment, so we are eating like this a lot (which is no bad thing).

1/2 cup olive oil
1Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed with a little salt
4-6 vine ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
handfuls of fresh basil, roughly torn
225g pasta
salt and pepper

At least an hour before you want to eat (preferably two or more), put the olive oil, vinegar, onion and garlic in a small bowl. Stir well and cover.
Just before you want to eat, put the tomatoes, sugar and salt in another small bowl. Stir well and leave at room temperature.
When you want to eat, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain into a serving bowl, then tip the onion and tomato mixtures on top, followed by the basil. Grind over lots of black pepper. Toss well and congratulate yourself on another night of outwitting the bailiffs.



  1. January 10, 2011 / 9:09 pm

    I wish I had a pantry like Nigella and live in a swanky Georgian house in Belgravia. This looks like a wonderful salad. I'm sure Nigella would be happy. 🙂
    I cannot look at my bank statement… it's scarier than a horror novel and pay day is not until another week. yikes!!

  2. January 10, 2011 / 9:29 pm

    I love basil, sounds great. Wish we had your season right now, lovely tomatoes and salad would be nice, but it's tooooo cold.

  3. January 10, 2011 / 9:32 pm

    oh my god sounds amazing!…but to be honest, it's me that is Nigella…NOT you!

  4. January 10, 2011 / 9:46 pm

    I remember this salad but I've never got around to making it… when our seasons catch up with yours I must make sure I do it this year.

    Thanks for taking part in the first Forever Nigella! I hope to see you in future months.

    I wish I had a pantry too – I can manage without Belgravia though.

  5. January 10, 2011 / 11:55 pm

    I'm a fan of Nigella too. She is great in her cooking and presenting herself with lots of personality. This pasta dish looks easy to cook….hope that I can be like Nigella too LOL

  6. January 11, 2011 / 9:59 am

    Yum! Love the sound of this. And I'm so pleased I am not the only one who suffers from Nigellaitis! It is indeed a nasty feeling when the cupboards are empty with pay day still in the distance!!

  7. January 11, 2011 / 12:19 pm

    Well done. I'm away to make scrambled eggs for lunch in the same spirit of making a meal from what there is. Your salad looks lovely and cheering.

  8. January 11, 2011 / 2:51 pm

    Fantastic that you have produced such a delicious from bare cupboards!!

    I love your take on "seasonal"!!

  9. January 11, 2011 / 6:44 pm

    Oh, this looks gorgeous and so fresh! I adore Nigella:)

  10. January 11, 2011 / 8:59 pm

    I want Nigella's pantry and her money of course, but your cooking skills are pretty damn good and this pasta sounds delicious.

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