The Unexpected Ingredient Nigella Lawson Adds To Pasta

Pasta is generally known to be a quick, simple dish that doesn't take a lot of cooking expertise to prepare. It can be dressed up or down, or prepared hot or cold, depending on what sauces and toppings are added, which can vary from cheap store-bought tomato sauce to more expensive shredded truffle.

If you're looking to spice up any ordinary pasta dish, award-winning cookbook author Nigella Lawson has a special ingredient that she adds to her recipe, and it's likely that you already have it in your pantry. With a Modern Languages degree from Oxford University, Lawson picked up cookbook writing only after being a food columnist and reviewer, according to Twisted Food.

Lawson specifically refers to herself as a "home cook," giving many of her recipes more of a down-to-earth, comforting feel (via Vogue). This is seen in dishes such as her Clementine Cake, which might appear to be fancy but still requires minimal ingredients that beginner chefs might already possess, or can quickly go out to buy. Her special pasta ingredient is no exception.

Lawson loves peanut butter pasta

Many people have used peanut butter in the past to elevate even the most simple pasta dishes. One popular example is pad thai, which often utilizes peanut butter in its base sauce. Not only does it add a great nutty flavor to the wheat dish, but it also is a great way to add extra volume and texture to a meal (via Kitchen Girl).

So it's no surprise that Lawson is also a big fan of using a peanut butter-water mixture as her pasta sauce. But rather than using rice noodles, she goes with a classic De Cecco pasta, which is typically readily available and easy to access. The rest of the ingredients to this dish are also relatively easy to obtain — spinach, chopped garlic, thyme, and chili flakes, as well as a bit of paprika and lemon, to top it off (via The Guardian).

As mentioned before, Lawson doesn't have a formal culinary background, and actually created this recipe as a part of a budget-friendly series with Ocado. Not only is peanut butter relatively affordable, but it's also a great source of protein and healthy fats, making it a great boost of nutrients in any meal (WebMD). It's a great way to elevate any dish, and pasta is no exception.