I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking for good dinner party recipes, I don’t want to slave away in the kitchen for hours. But I also don’t want to serve ho-hum dishes to my guests. I want my food to taste good AND be quick and easy to prepare. That’s why today I’m excited to share a review of 20-Minute Italian by Andrea Soranidis as well as her recipe for Sicilian Pasta alla Norma.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of 20-Minute Italian in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission — at no extra cost to you.
If you love authentic Italian food, you’ll love this cookbook that has 75 quick and easy recipes.
20-Minute Italian is organized into 7 chapters which you can see below along with a few of my favorite recipes. I love the wide variety of dishes!
Quick & Easy Antipasti for All Occasions
- 5-Minute Sicilian-Style Antipasto Platter
- Caprese Salad with Homemade Basil Pesto
- Fresh Burrata Panzanella in Just 10 Minutes
Flashy Pasta & Risotto Dishes to Make on Repeat
- Sicilian Pasta alla Norma (recipe below!)
- Easy Spaghetti alla Carrettiera
- Shiitake Mushroom, Pumpkin & Rosemary Risotto
Perfect Meat & Poultry Dishes in No Time
- Chicken Prosciutto Saltimbocca
- White Wine Veal Scaloppine
- Classic Italian Polpette (Meatballs)
Exciting Fish & Seafood Mains in a Blink
- Pistachio-Crusted Tuna with Orange Sauce
- Crispy Lemon Cod Fish Balls
- One-Tray Prosciutto-Wrapped Cod Fillets with Tomatoes
Pulses & Grains Ready in Less Than 20 Minutes
- Dad’s Super-Fast Pasta & Fagioli
- Nourishing Farro, Chickpea & Grilled Vegetables
- Sauteed Tuscan Kale with Pumpkin & Cannellinii Beans
Speedy Nutritious Salads
- 10-Minute Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Apple, Celery & Walnut Salad with Gorgonzola Sauce
- Winter Persimmon & Pomegranate Salad
Effortless Everyday Sides
- Quick-Marinated Eggpant Carpaccio
- Spring-Perfect Frittata
- Mushroom & Kale Frittata Crepes
20-Minute Italian Recipes
The photos in this cookbook are vibrant, colorful, and appealing, and there’s a photo for each recipe (a plus in my book!). Most recipes make 4 servings, and the directions are clear and straight-forward. I feel like it’s pretty realistic that you could make any of the recipes in 20-30 minutes. About a third of the recipes call for specific gourmet ingredients that might be harder to find if you don’t live in a big city, but the majority are very accessible for anyone.
Unique Characteristics of This Cookbook
The cookbook lays flat which is so helpful when you’re cooking. No one likes losing their place or having to place something really heavy on their cookbook to keep it open.
No turning pages
I love how each recipe is printed completely on one page opposite the photo of the dish. No flipping back and forth between ingredients and instructions — super handy.
Labels for special diets
If a recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan, it’s marked as such. There are recipes in this cookbook for everyone.
Sicilian Pasta alla Norma
Born and raised in Sicily, Andrea knows her Italian recipes. She’s given me permission to share this delicious pasta dish from 20-Minute Italian. Make it so you can see what type of recipes are in the cookbook!
Sicilian Pasta alla Norma
This is the queen of all Sicilian recipes, beloved by grown-ups and kids alike. According to the legend, this pasta recipe was SO good, it deserved to be named for the opera Norma by the great Italian compositor Vincenzo Bellini.
Tomatoes, eggplant, basil and ricotta salata—which translates to “salty aged ricotta,” normally available online or at any Italian deli or large stores—are the few simple and inexpensive ingredients you need to make the classic Norma. It’s a super easy and satisfying meal, perfect for busy weekdays or to please a large and hungry crowd.
- 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 5 whole canned plum tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 4 basil leaves divided
- pinch brown sugar
- sea salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 12 oz. spaghetti or short pasta such as penne
- 3 Tablespoons grated ricotta salata cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Finely cube the eggplant and pat the cubes dry with paper towels.
Heat 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant in a single layer and fry it until it's crispy and golden on both sides, about 4 minutes in total. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and arrange the cubes in a single layer on a dish covered with paper towels. Dab the cubes with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Slice the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Heat a large pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and the garlic over medium heat. Fold in the tomatoes and stir-fry them for 5 minutes. Stir in the warm water, 2 basil leaves and the pinch of sugar; cover with a lid and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the garlic and season the sacue with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Lightly salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, according to package directions, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta. Add it to the pan with the tomato sauce, follwed by the fried eggplant cubes and the remaining basil leaves.
Stir all the ingredients together and sprinkle the ricotta salata all over the pasta.
Tip: If you can't find ricotta salt, substitute with classic Parmesan cheese.
Printed with permission by Page Street Publishing Co. October 1, 2019.
Do you have any questions about 20-Minute Italian? I’d love to answer them for you! You can check it out on Amazon here!