Day 2/10 of my cookbook challenge, the books and cooks who have influenced my kitchen over the past 40 years: Pasta Italian Style by Patricia Lousada.
Back in the day (1984-86) I worked for Sainsbury’s in HR which is one of the reasons why they have always been my favourite supermarket I guess. What they also did in the ’80s was to publish a range of small but perfectly formed cookery books that sold at something ridiculous like 90p so I bought one most weeks with my shopping. Covering everything from American Baking to the Cooking of Provence, these tiny little books were a treasure trove of inspiration and written by wonderful authors like Rosamund Richardson, Joceline Dimbleby and the late Lady Patricia Lousada.
Lady Lousada was born in New York, a member of the New York City Ballet and, when touring in Paris, attended the Cordon Bleu school. Her friend and former ballerina, Anya Sainsbury (wife of John), persuaded her to share her love of cooking with us through these wonderful books. This particular one about pasta is still, in my view, the best one in my extensive collection even after all these years. It’s also so much easier to buy great Italian ingredients now than it was then – good quality olive oil, mozzarella, Parmesan and pecorino, fresh and dried pasta (Sainsbury’s Taste the difference range is a favourite) and I still use her exact recipe for Spaghetti alla Siciliana and Spaghetti alla Puttanesca today. This one I published on the blog for pasta al peperoni is a contemporary version of one of her recipes – I’m minded to cook through the entire book again.