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Nigella cooks tonight's dinner

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With the release of her new book, 'Stylist's former guest editor Nigella Lawson talks us through an Italian feast – that takes just 10 minutes. Ideal…

"I know this sounds like a Dr Seuss recipe but it is, as the Italians say, ‘sul serio’ (‘no joke’). The green factor isn’t crucial, but came about because I happened upon some spinach-dyed coils of trottole pasta (named after its supposed resemblance to a spinning top – I can’t see it). Serendipity is only part of the story: I have always had a thing about pasta and blue cheese. This recipe is an evolution of the pasta with gorgonzola, rocket and pine nuts in my Quick Collection app. The difference is I felt the need to sprinkle the deep green pasta with the paler pistachios, and I add no crème fraîche or mascarpone since a little pasta-cooking water, whisked into the cheese, makes it as creamy as you could wish for. This is not a dietary stance, but because the starchy water doesn’t mute the piquancy of the gorgonzola."

Green pasta with blue cheese

Serves: 2 hungry people

  • 250g trottole verde (or radiatori or fusilli)
  • Salt
  • 125g gorgonzola piccante, crumbled or chopped
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsps chopped pistachio nuts

Method

step 1: Heat water in a pan for the pasta, salting it when it comes to the boil, then add the pasta and cook according to instructions, but check three minutes early. It needs to be really al dente because it will carry on cooking as you make the sauce.

step 2: Before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of the liquid, then tip the drained pasta back in the hot pan with 2 tbsps of the liquid, the cheese and the baby spinach. Add a good grinding of coarse black pepper.

step 3: Put the lid on the pan – off the heat, though back on the stove – and leave to stand for two minutes.

step 4: Remove the lid, turn the heat back on low, and stir the pasta, cheese and spinach with as much of the cooking liquid as you need – about 100ml – until the cheese is melted and the spinach wilted.

step 5: Take off the heat, toss with two-thirds of the chopped pistachios and divide between two warmed bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with the remaining nuts. Serve immediately.

Nigellissima is out now (£26, Chatto & Windus); the BBC2 show Nigellissima begins 24 September at 8.30pm

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