RECIPES: Chef Nigella Lawson's Favorites

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Nigella's irresistible butternut orzotto.

Read the "Nightline" profile of chef Nigella Lawson HERE.

Recipes are from "Nigella Christmas," Lawson's new book of recipes and entertaining tips for the holidays.

Butternut Orzotto


1 Butternut squash, approx. 2 lbs unprepared weight

¼ cup olive oil or garlic oil

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Platelist: Chef Nigella Lawson

1 teaspoon ground mace

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 ½ cups peal or pot barley

½ cup dry vermouth, or white wine

5 cups hot vegetable broth, plus more for reheating

1 cup mascarpone cheese

½ cup pine nuts

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage, plus a few small leaves

Salt and pepper

Advance tip:

Leave the cooked squash, mascarpone and barley mixture, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat as directed. Toast the pine nuts up to 3 days ahead and keep in a sealable bag.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and slice the butternut, remove the seeds and cut into approx 1-inch cubes. I don't peel it, but you do not need a big knife and a bit of brute force (and bravery).

Tumble the butternut cubes out onto shallow sheet pan (I use a jelly roll pan) with 2 tablespoons of the oil and half a teaspoon of the ground mace, and swoosh about to slick all the pieces before roasting for about 40-50 minutes, or until tender. Some of the butternut, chiefly the skin sides, will be scorched and caramelized: this is a good thing.

Meanwhile, gently cook the chopped onion for about 10 minutes in the remaining oil. I do this in my wide, shallow round cast-iron braiser (about 5-quart capacity) that I'm going to serve it in the next day.

Turn up the heat to medium, add the barley to the onion, and stir for about 2 minutes, turning the barley in the mixture, then turn the heat up to height, ad the vermouth or wine and let it bubble down a bit.

Add the hot vegetable broth (unlike with a risotto, there is no need to add the liquid gradually and cautiously), put a lid on the pan and let the orzotto cook gently for a bout 30 minutes, or until done but still nubbly. In a narrower, slightly deeper pan, this could take 40 minutes and you might have to stir midway through.

When the squash is tender, take it out of the oven and put half of it (judging by eye only) in a blender with half the mascarpone, and liquidize. Stir this into the cooked barley and season to taste. You can leave for a day or for up to 3 days at this stage.

On reheating (or straightaway if you're not doing any of this in advance), add the remaining mascarpone plus, if needed, some fairly weak vegetable broth (the longer the orzotto stands in advance, the thicker it will be so the more liquid you will need to add), along with the remaining squash cubes and mace. Stir gently but firmly and reheat' this should take about 15 minutes on a gentle heat, with the lid on.

While the orzotto is reheating, or when it is hot (a few minutes on the stove top but off the heat. With the lid clamped on, won't hurt it), toast the pine nuts by tossing them in a hot, dry frying pan until they turn a deep gold.

Stir half the pine nuts into the orzotto and scatter the remaining half, along with the chopped sage, on top. Garnish with a few sage leaves.

Recipes are from "Nigella Christmas," Lawson's new book of recipes and entertaining tips for the holidays.

Chestnut Chocolate Pots


Heaping ¾ cup best -quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips

½ cup heavy cream plus more to serve if you wished

½ cup whole milk

1 egg

¾ cup (9 oz can) sweetened Chestnut cream

2 tablespoons dark rum

Crus the chocolate to smithereens in the food processor

Advance tips:

Make up to 2 days before, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Spoon the mixture into freezable, ceramic serving dishes, cover and freeze for up to 1 week. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.


In a saucepan, heat the cream and milk until just about boiling and with motor off, pour into the processor through the funnel over the chocolate.

Let it stand for 30 seconds. Process for 30 seconds, then crack the egg down the funnel and process for 45 seconds more. Add the chestnut cream and rum through the funnel, and process until everything is incorporated.

Remove the blade and, using a rubber spatula and spoon, fill 6 x 4 oz (1/2 cup) glasses or pots.

If wished, put a jug of unwhipped heavy cream on the table and let people pour it over their pots as they eat.

Recipes are from "Nigella Christmas," Lawson's new book of recipes and entertaining tips for the holidays.

Click here for more "Nightline" Platelist chef profiles and recipes.