23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (2024)

Pioneering Los Angeles chef Nancy Silverton has been creating big, delicious waves since the 1980s, starting with her role as opening pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills. In 1989, after falling in love with Italian cuisine while vacationing in Tuscany, Silverton co-founded both the Cali-Italian restaurant Campanile and La Brea Bakery to virtually instant acclaim, the latter of which ushered the city squarely into the artisan bread movement. She became famous for her fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches in 1998 and is credited for igniting a worldwide trend. In 2014, Silverton received top honors with the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Chef Award. Today, she heads up several beloved L.A. dining establishments, most notably the Michelin-starred Osteria Mozza. Get a taste of Nancy Silverton's affinity for fresh, straightforward flavors with this collection of recipes she's contributed to Food & Wine over the years.

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Beets with Chicories, Yogurt, and Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (1)

Roasting beets with the skins intact is a trick chef Nancy Silverton picked up from the restaurant North Abraxas in Tel Aviv, and uses to great effect in this salad. Roasting the beets with the skins on means you get both the bright, colorful flesh and the crinkled papery skin. Don't skip eating the beet tails, which emerge from the roasting pan crispy and salty.

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02of 23

Grilled Cheese with Corn and Calabrian Chile

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (2)

This upgraded grilled cheese is filled with a charred sweet corn-studded blend of nutty English cheddar, sharp caciocavallo, and just enough mayonnaise to bind it all together. Thick slices of sourdough get a beautifully buttery, golden crust in a cast-iron skillet, while Calabrian chile sneaks in with just the right amount of heat.

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03of 23

Spring Gem Salad with Soft Herbs and Labneh Toasts

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (3)

Nancy Silverton says the first sign of spring is when she puts this salad on the menu at Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. She dresses the asparagus, peas, radishes, and sugar snap peas with a lemon vinaigrette, then offers toasts topped with labneh alongside, turning this ode to spring produce into a light lunch or first course for dinner.

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04of 23

Pasta with Guanciale, Radicchio, and Ricotta

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (4)

To make this rich pasta, 1990 F&W Best New Chef Nancy Silverton sautés guanciale (cured pork jowl) and then cooks the radicchio and red onions in the rendered fat. She likes to use a little-known pasta called calamarata — which looks like thick squid rings — to catch the sauce, but any wide, tubular pasta is great.

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05of 23

Little Gem Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (5)

Nancy Silverton's lovely salad, also adapted from herMozza Cookbook, features Little Gem lettuce, a smaller, sweeter variety of romaine. If you can't find it, use hearts of romaine instead.

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06of 23

Sautéed Spinach with Lemon and Garlic Olive Oil

"In every little restaurant in Umbria, there are sautéed greens on the menu," says Nancy Silverton. Here, she blanches spinach, then sautés it in garlic-spiked oil until all the leaves are thoroughly coated.

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07of 23

Five-Herb Frittata with Prosciutto and Parmesan

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (7)

Nancy Silverton has strong opinions about frittatas. She likes them to be creamy like scrambled eggs, with various toppings like prosciutto, cheese, and a generous amount of herbs. At her dinner parties, she often serves this 15-minute frittata as a side dish, so guests can cut wedges at the table.

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08of 23

Golden Chicken Thighs with Charred Lemon Salsa Verde

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (8)

This crispy, delicious chicken is baked with lemon and garlic and served with a vibrant salsa verde made with pieces of oven-roasted lemon.

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09of 23

Herbed Chickpea Bruschetta

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (9)

The key to these delicious bruschetta from Nancy Silverton is lots of olive oil. After she bakes the chickpeas with a variety of flavorings — including onions, pancetta, and carrots — she purees them with a good amount of oil, spreads the puree on toasts, and drizzles with a little more oil.

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10of 23

Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (10)

This no-cook salad from Los Angeles chef Nancy Silverton, inspired by the antipasto in Italian-American restaurants, is a delicious toss of iceberg lettuce, mozzarella, salami, and olives in an oregano-laced dressing.

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11of 23

Baked Onions with Fennel Breadcrumbs

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (11)

These simple, incredibly flavorful onions are baked in the oven until they're falling-apart tender. Fennel seeds punch up the crispy breadcrumb topping.

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Rosemary-Garlic Lamb Chops with Pimentón and Mint

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (12)

Nancy Silverton adores the grilled, herb-flecked lamb chops scottadito ("burnt fingers"). Here, she adds a kick to the lamb by garnishing it with smoky pimentón de la Vera and little mint leaves.

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13of 23

Burrata with Speck, Peas, and Mint

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (13)

Nancy Silverton is known for deliberate simplicity, and this dish is no exception. Though it's not strictly a spring dish, that's the feeling the meld of lavishly creamy cheese, pungent mint, tender peas, and smoky speck evokes. A no-fuss dressing of lemon juice and olive oil, along with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan, offers harmonious balance in every last bite.

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14of 23

Harvest Salad with Gorgonzola, Bacon, and Concord Grapes

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (14)

This great salad combines tender Bibb lettuce with an array of tasty ingredients: smoky bacon, Gorgonzola cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and sweet Concord grapes.

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15of 23

Nancy Silverton's Tomato-Oregano Pizza

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (15)

This outstanding cheese-less pizza recipe is modeled after the pies at cult favorite Pepe in Grani outside of Naples, Italy.

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Raspberry Custard Tart

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (16)

"Eating this tart warm is a very sensual experience," claims Nancy Silverton, who found the inspiration for this simple, silky tart in a classic summer combination: "You can't go wrong with raspberries and cream," she says.

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Lamb Meatballs with Red Pepper and Chickpea Sauce

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (17)

Nancy Silverton got this hearty meatball recipe from Matt Molina, the former chef de cuisine at Campanile. When the meatballs are almost cooked through, she pushes them to one side of the skillet and adds the ceci (Italian for chickpeas). That way everything soaks up the flavor of the luscious roasted red pepper sauce.

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Sautéed Cauliflower Frittata with Thyme

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (18)

Nancy Silverton often prepared a tender frittata for her antipasti table at La Terza in Los Angeles. This version includes sautéed cauliflower topped with homemade breadcrumbs for a lovely bit of crunch. Silverton's trick for making small amounts of breadcrumbs is to toast a slice of sourdough bread, rub it with a garlic clove, and grind it in a mortar.

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Fregola Tabbouleh

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (19)

Fregola sarda is a wonderfully chewy mini Italian pasta from Sardinia. Because its size is similar to bulgur wheat's, Nancy Silverton uses it in her fun riff on tabbouleh.

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Spaghetti with Garlic, Onions, and Guanciale

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (20)

This dish is elegant in its simplicity. With so few ingredients, be sure to choose the best you can get your hands on, including a good-quality olive oil.

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Ricotta Gnudi with Chanterelles

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (21)

These tender gnudi, adapted from Nancy Silverton'sMozza Cookbook, are delicious with buttery chanterelles.

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Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Pie

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (22)

If you don't want to make a caramel or fudge sauce, Nancy Silverton suggests using high-quality jarred ones like King's Cupboard cream caramel sauce and Scharffen Berger chocolate sauce.

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Stovetop Asparagus Frittata

23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (23)

For this single-serving frittata, Silverton cooks the eggs gently, then tops them with asparagus, prosciutto, and crème fraîche. Since the frittata is not warmed in the oven, it’s best to have the toppings at room temperature. Also, keep them near the pan so you can work quickly once the eggs are cooked.

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23 Irresistible Italian-Inspired Recipes from Nancy Silverton (2024)
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