Nigella Lawson, one of Britain's most influential and beautiful culinary personalities, shares her recipes and latest cookbook, Nigella Bites From Family Meals to Elegant Dinners -- Easy, Delectable Recipes for Any Occasion.
Nigela's Party Girl Recipe
Halloumi With Chili
2 Tablespoons chopped, seeded fresh red chili (about 2 medium chillies)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
18 ounces halloumi, sliced medium thin (i.e. just under ¼ inch)
juice of ¼ lemon
Mix the chopped chili and olive oil in a small bowl or cup and leave the flavors to deepen while you cook the cheese. I use a nonstick frying pan for this, without any oil, and just give the cheese slices about 2 minutes a side until they're golden brown in parts. When all the slices of halloumi are cooked, transfer them to a couple of small plates. Give the chili oil a stir, spoon it over the cheese, then give a spritz of lemon. That's all there is to it. Makes about 30.
Nigela's Rainy Day Recipe
Pasta E Fagioli
3 cups (about 18 ounces) dried cranberry beans
5 cloves of garlic, whole, plus 1, Microplaned or grated
1 knee-high hosiery sock
2 leafy sprigs of rosemary
1 onion, peeled and quartered
salt to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons olive oil
sprig of rosemary, about 2 inches, needles finely chopped
7 ounces ditalini, tubetti or other small pasta tubes
extra-virgin olive oil
Put the cranberry beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let the beans soak overnight or for at least six hours.
Drain the beans and tip them into a large saucepan. Using the flat side of a large knife, press down on the whole garlic cloves so that their papery skins tear and begin to come away. Peel them and chuck the bruised cloves on top of the beans. Now take your knee-high and in it pop the sprigs of rosemary and cut-up onion. This will stop the needles (which turn bitter on boiling) from infiltrating the soup (very irritating between the teeth, too) but allow their resiny fragrance to seep through. I also find it better not to have slimy onion skins all over the place later. Cover everything generously with cold water, clamp on a lid and bring to a boil. Once it's started boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for an hour. Check the beans and see how cooked they are and, only when they're tender, add salt to taste.
Chuck out the corpsed knee-high and its contents. Remove a mug full of beans-or more if you want a very thick soup-and tip into a blender (my preference) or processor, along with a tablespoonful of tomato concentrate and 1 ¼ cups of the bean-cooking liquid and liquidize.
Now, add the 3 tablespoons of oil to a small saucepan and grate (I always use my fine Microplane for this) or squeeze in the sixth clove of garlic. Cook over a low to medium heat until soft but not colored and then stir in the finely chopped rosemary. Cook for another scant minute, add the liquidized soup and cook for another minute or so, then tip into the large pan of beans. Bring back to the boil and add the ditalini, cooking them according to package instructions. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.