20-Minute Italian: Your Traditional Favorites, Faster, Easier and with a Modern Twist, written by Andrea Soranidis, features a collection of 75 classic and more inventive Italian-style recipes perfect for weeknights or anytime you want a delicious meal quickly and easily. A few highlights include Easy Spaghetti alla Carrettiera, Black Pepper Mussels, Fresh Herb Frittata Sandwich Bites, Braised Cuttlefish with Peas, and Classic Sautéed Mushrooms. I will also be sharing her recipe for Poached Eggs in Italian-Style Tomato Sauce (Eggs in Purgatory) following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Page Street Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Andrea Soranidis was born and raised in Sicily. She moved to the U.K. at the age of 18 and is currently based in London and a small town in Germany. She created the blog, The Petite Cook, in 2014 as a way to share her kitchen adventures and experiments. Her work has also been featured in The Guardian, Parade, Country Living, and Elle. This is her first cookbook.
Chapters are divided according to course: Quick & Easy Antipasti for All Occasions, Flashy Pasta & Risotto Dishes to Make on Repeat, Perfect Meat & Poultry Dishes in No Time, Exciting Fish & Seafood Mains in a Blink, Pulses & Grains Ready in Less than 20 Minutes, Speedy Nutritious Salads, and Effortless Everyday Sides.
Andrea begins with a short introduction before jumping straight into the recipes. She also provides the photography. Every single recipe is accompanied by a full page photo of the finished dish. Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Titles are written in English and occasionally Italian. Each recipe includes a headnote with background information, serving size, menu ideas, and helpful tips. She even makes a note at the top if the dish is gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or dairy-free.
This book is perfect for those looking for quick and easy Italian-inspired meals. As the title states, most of the recipes come together in 20 minutes or less, making them especially perfect for weeknights or even a quick lunch. There is a nice variety of appetizers, meat, seafood, pasta, and vegetarian dishes, though you won’t find any desserts or beverages. Most of the ingredients can be found in the average American grocery store. A few that may require further searching in some areas include Italian rustic ciabatta bread, vialone nano, pearled barley, chickpea flour, burrata, saffron, bucatini pasta, fresh seafood, smoked pancetta, chanterelle and porcini mushrooms, and veal cutlets.
Poached Eggs in Italian-Style Tomato Sauce (Eggs in Purgatory)
The Poached Eggs in Italian-Style Tomato Sauce (Eggs in Purgatory) is a great pick for an easy lunch or as a brunch/appetizer option. Andrea states, “What I love the most about this speedy classic Italian dish is that it can be easily whipped up with basic pantry staples.” That is definitely what I love about this dish too.
Canned tomatoes are simmered with herbs and spices over medium low heat until thickened and the flavors meld. Eggs are added into small wells, covered, and cooked until poached with a still soft runny yolk. The eggs are topped with fresh basil leaves and served immediately with grilled slices of bread.
I also made the Fresh Burrata Panzanella in Just 10 Minutes, Easy Pillowy Ricotta Gnocchi, Fast Oven-Baked Chicken Cotolette (Breaded Chicken Cutlets), and Speedy Pan-Roasted New Potatoes.
The Fresh Burrata Panzanella in Just 10 Minutes is the very first recipe in the book and includes a combination of some of the best of summer. Slices of ciabatta bread are rubbed with garlic, cubed, and grilled until golden. They are tossed with sliced red onion, cucumber, and tomatoes to create a quick, yet flavor-packed salad. For an incredible finishing touch, the salad is served with creamy burrata cheese and fresh basil.
Gnocchi were a favorite of mine growing up and I often turn to the ricotta version when I am short on time. This Easy Pillowy Ricotta Gnocchi was no exception. Drained ricotta is combined with egg, Parmesan, and flour to create a light dough, then formed into little individual dumplings. After cooking until just tender, the gnocchi are tossed with a butter sage sauce.
The Fast Oven-Baked Chicken Cotolette (Breaded Chicken Cutlets) is a version of the traditional chicken cotoletta adapted to create a lighter meal. Thin slices of chicken are seasoned and coated in a panko breadcrumb mixture, then baked until golden and crisp. Recommended pairings include the New Potato, Green Bean & Tuna Salad or 10-Minute Panzanella.
I especially love the variety of quick and easy sides Andrea has included at the end of the book. I immediately went for the Speedy Pan-Roasted New Potatoes to use up some small tricolor potatoes I had on hand, but also have the Garlicky Stir-Fried Broccoli and Sautéed Brussels sprouts with Crispy Pancetta bookmarked. She included this crispy skillet version of cooking the potatoes to save time and create the perfect accompaniment for serving alongside grilled fish or chicken.
Poached Eggs in Italian-Style Tomato Sauce (Eggs in Purgatory) Recipe
Excerpt from 20-Minute Italian
Poached Eggs in Italian-Style Tomato Sauce (Eggs in Purgatory)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili pepper flakes
- 2 cans (28 oz each, 800 g) whole plum tomatoes I recommend organic, undrained
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 leaves basil leaves hand-torn, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly dried oregano leaves
- Pinch brown sugar
- 4 large eggs I recommend organic
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 slices rustic bread
- Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red chili pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the sprigs of thyme, a couple of basil leaves, the oregano and the pinch of sugar. Break the tomatoes into pieces with a wooden spoon and cook, letting the sauce bubble, for about 13 to 15 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Use a spoon to make 4 small wells in the tomato sauce and crack an egg into each well. Season the eggs with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a lid and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the eggs are set, about 2 to 3 minutes for soft runny yolks.
- While the eggs cook, heat a large grilling pan over medium-high heat and brush the bread slices with the remaining extra-virgin olive oil. Grill the bread until crispy on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove the eggs in purgatory from the heat. Sprinkle the remaining basil leaves on top, season with extra black pepper if desired and serve with the grilled bread.