Les Petits Chefs cook the books: Nigellissima (and a giveaway!)

Nigella Lawson meatzza from Nigellissima

See that up there? ^^^ Those would be “meatzzas”. A cross between a meatball and a pizza that only Nigella could pull off with class. Well, until Les Petits Chefs got their hands on the recipe, of course 😉 When I was flipping through Nigella’s latest book (Nigellissima, (published by Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada), I was struck by the tasty simplicity of these “Italian inspired” recipes and knew I would have to include this in this term’s “cooking the books” sessions with the boys.  But what to make? Well when I was chatting with Nigella (! more on that later) she suggested that I make the Parmesan shortbread but since we don’t have the time for dough to rest in the fridge, I looked around for something else that was do-able within the hour we have.  I was chatting with Jan who has two tween boys and she suggested I couldn’t go past the meatzzas. I mean, come on – meatball and pizza, in one dish? I knew it would be a hit and if I made mini-versions, it would definitely be cooked within the hour…

So back to when I was chatting with Nigella

When an invitation to the Chatelaine Kitchens to hang out with Nigella for the grand reveal after a much-needed remodel landed in my inbox, I couldn’t resist. Especially since Nigella would be the special guest.

NIgella in the Chatelaine Kitchens Toronto

I’ve been a huge fan of Nigella’s for many years now. I truly enjoy her writing style and could honestly listen to her all day – that lovely plummy voice makes you feel so comforted – and having met her, I know now that she talks like she writes (or is it vice versa?). In any case, she’s charming, down to earth and downright gorgeous. Even more so in real life if you can possibly believe that.

At the kitchen opening, she spoke about Nigellissima, talked about where she draws inspiration from every day, how to fix kitchen mistakes (sprinkle parsley on savoury dishes, icing sugar on sweet – covers a multitude of sins!) and even touched on how she entertains at home (casually, by the sounds of it – food served family style in a relaxed atmosphere).

The Chatelaine kitchen remodel is gorgeous –  powered by GE Café appliances and with work by Canadian reno giant Rona creating a gorgeous that’s feels like a home kitchen but operates as powerfully as a professional one – which the Chatelaine team definitely needs for developing and testing the hundreds of recipes it produces and shares with readers every year.  At 33X26 feet and featuring sleek GE Café appliances, including four ovens, 15 stovetop burners and two high-powered silent dishwashers the kitchen now has a built-in studio for cooking demos/videos/media appearances and entertaining small groups.

In keeping with the Chatelaine mission to “make the everyday extraordinary” there could have been no better celebrity to officially declare the kitchens open than Nigella.  Known for her elegant, yet down-to-earth approach to everyday cooking, Nigella’s dishes have the potential to make every day feel like a special occasion.

In the Chatelaine kitchens with Nigella

Mardi Michels Nigella Lawson Chatelaine Kitchens Toronto

Yes, I’m just a little star-struck…
Thanks Jan (@FamilyBites) for the picture!

Her new book, Nigellissima, features easy “Italian-inspired” recipes – as she acknowledges, it’s not authentic Italian, it’s Italian the Nigella way… Described as a “celebration of food that is fresh, delicious and unpretentious” and featuring fresh ingredients and simple methods, it’s a perfect book for fairly accomplished little chefs who are all about cooking real food, not dumbed-down for kids. Especially when there’s a meatball recipe where the meatball is flattened to for a pizza-style base and topped with pizza toppings… 😉

When I told the boys what we were making on Monday, they were a little bewildered but once they understood the concept, they were fully into it. No-one balked at working with raw meat (we used ground chicken because I had to go shopping on Friday and there was no ground beef that had a long enough use-by date. Such is life in the world of Les Petits Chefs where real life sometimes often gets in the way of the ideal case scenario. In any case, the chicken would have made a delicious meatball so it was a fine substitute.

And off they went.  Cracking and mixing the egg into the meat…

Mixing egg and ground chicken for NIgellas meatzzasShowing off knife skills chopping parsley…

Measuring breadcrumbs to help bind the mixture  (because every session involves some kind of science lesson, right?)…

Measuring breadcrumbs for Nigellas eatzza

Grating Parmesan and chopping garlic to add some flavour…

Grating cheese and mincing garlic for Nigellas meatzzas

Et voilà:

Making Nigellas meatzzas

Then we got slicing our Mozzarella…

Cutting mozarella for Nigellas meatzzas

and buttering the mini pie tins we would bake the meatzzas in…

buttering pizza trays for Nigellas meatzzas

And then the fun part – styling our meatzzas…

Assembling Nigella Lawsons meatzzas

Yes that’s a face up there on the right. And yup, that’s a lot of cheese on the left there…

And then they were ready to go in the oven…

NIgella Lawsons meatzzas

Check out the face at the bottom of the tray there (artfully styled, wouldn’t you say?)

Result: an easy recipe (you can find it online here) that even some of my more choosy Petits Chefs were excited about! Win! I’m looking forward to checking out some of Nigella’s other recipes from this book because they look easy enough to make on weeknights. This is always a bonus in my book 😉

Nigellissima book giveaway

Nigellissmia cover pic

Through a twist of fate, I happen to have two copies of Nigellissima so I’m giving one away to a lucky Canadian reader (sorry US/ International friends).

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what you’d put on your meatzza!

For a bonus entry, tweet the following message and come back to leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

Win a copy of @Nigella_Lawson ‘s Nigellissima from @eatlivtravwrite ! Details here: http://bit.ly/ZzfpWC

Winner will be drawn at random after 6pm on Wednesday March 6th and announced in the final “Les Petits Chefs Cook the Books” post for this term (it’s a good one you won’t want to miss!) on Thursday March 7th.

And hey, for a second chance to win a copy of Nigellissima, head on over to Jan’s Family Bites right now!

On March 7th EDITED TO ADD: Thanks for the great suggestions for meatzza toppings – the giveaway is now over!

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44 Responses to Les Petits Chefs cook the books: Nigellissima (and a giveaway!)

  1. Melissa February 27, 2013 at 09:00 #

    I’d put lentil-ricotta meatballs in my meatzza (“meat”zza?), since I’m a vegetarian, and I think I’d have to go with my current favourite pizza toppings: Bleu de Bresse, chopped toasted walnuts, Brussels sprouts (leaves picked), and a drizzle of honey. That sounds like a pretty classy meatzza to me!

    I’m sad that I missed Nigella this time around–I had SUCH a good time at the dinner they hosted for the launch of Nigella Kitchen. She was incredibly lovely and answered my questions and wore the best boots.

    • Melissa February 27, 2013 at 23:31 #

      Oh yes, and I tweeted! I’m @heartandsalt

  2. Daniela February 27, 2013 at 09:02 #

    I have two petits chefs in the cooking club – one is a picky guy and the other will try and eat anything. These meatzzas were a HUGE hit and were eaten on the drive home from school! My “Picky Petit Chef” said it was the best thing he made. What would I add to the meatzza? Black olives of course! A definite easy and delicious dinner option we will make at home! Thank you Mardi and, of course, the fab Nigella!

  3. Gillian February 27, 2013 at 10:01 #

    I would put mozzarella di bufala on my Meatzza as everything is better with mozzarella di bufala.

  4. Ann Mah February 27, 2013 at 10:04 #

    I’m not eligible for the giveaway, but oh my GOODNESS! Meatzzas = genius. I am inspired! I bet these would be cute in mini versions, too.

  5. David B February 27, 2013 at 10:36 #

    Mozza on my Meatzzas!

  6. Meghan A February 27, 2013 at 10:37 #

    yummm! I’d make mine just as you did, with mozza and basil. They look good 🙂

  7. SUMMER PLEWES February 27, 2013 at 11:12 #

    MUSHROOMS.. lots of them.. basil and onion!! yum. Omg.. so hungry now!!

  8. SUMMER PLEWES February 27, 2013 at 11:20 #

    tweeted thank you


  9. Bridget February 27, 2013 at 12:04 #

    Lots of veggies!

  10. Marina@Picnic at Marina February 27, 2013 at 12:17 #

    This is such an inspiring post! Thank you Mardi! Your little chefs are doing an amazing job!
    and I am not participating in giveaway… sigh… 🙂

  11. Colette @ JFF! February 27, 2013 at 12:17 #

    These are a great idea to engage the kids, Mardi!

  12. Maggie C February 27, 2013 at 12:23 #

    I would put cilantro and lots of garlic and onion!! yum yum!! =D

  13. Kathryn February 27, 2013 at 13:09 #

    I sure would love this book: I am number 700 or something on the hold list at the library…

    Boring, I know, but I would put spinach, mushrooms and hot peppers on the meatzzas – and it probably wouldn’t look as pretty as le version des petits chefs.


  14. Kathryn February 27, 2013 at 13:15 #


  15. Sydney D February 27, 2013 at 17:53 #

    Mozzarella and mushrooms! 🙂

  16. Sydney D February 27, 2013 at 17:54 #

    https://twitter.com/toocutebows/status/306900013152354304 tweeted

  17. Kim Beaulieu February 27, 2013 at 19:08 #

    Is it crazy that I would want to add more meat to it? I’d totally top it with Italian Sausage. Or chorizo. It’d be a meatastic meatzza. I have problems, what can I say.

    So cool you got to meet her. You did better than I would have. I would have been passed out on the floor.

  18. Alex February 27, 2013 at 20:35 #

    love this post on so many levels

  19. Martha February 27, 2013 at 21:24 #

    I’m putting these on next week’s menu plan. Red peppers, black olives (for me) and teeny slices of pepperettes will probably go over well with the boys.

  20. yummychunklet February 27, 2013 at 21:55 #

    Looks like you had a blast at the book signing!

  21. Pamela February 27, 2013 at 22:12 #

    How about some ham and mushrooms? The meatzzas look delicious.

  22. Pamela February 27, 2013 at 22:16 #

    I have shared on twitter. I admire Nigella Lawson so much. She looks so beautiful and of course so talented in the kitchen.

  23. Mellany February 28, 2013 at 01:20 #

    If my son had his way, I’d top it with chicken, pineapple, garlic, onions and bacon. 🙂

  24. MaryCatherine February 28, 2013 at 07:54 #

    Pine nuts, torn basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano would rock the meatzzas! I love the great idea!

  25. Ali February 28, 2013 at 11:22 #

    I would put mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, and tons of parsley!!

  26. Jeannelle February 28, 2013 at 17:26 #


  27. Jan February 28, 2013 at 17:38 #

    Anchovies, broccoli rabe and loads of garlic…

  28. Cakelaw February 28, 2013 at 21:53 #

    I own Nigellisima but missed this recipe. I adore Nigella – I had my program signed at the Melbourne Food and Wine Show a couple of years back – she is stunning and gracious.

  29. Jess February 28, 2013 at 22:46 #

    Caramelized onions and mushrooms!

  30. Zosia March 1, 2013 at 06:37 #

    They do look delicious the way they are but I would add broccoli and peppers.

  31. Elizabeth Friesen March 1, 2013 at 18:36 #

    I’d put about a pound of fresh mozzarella and basil on my meatzza!!! And some pancetta!!! Yum!!! Thanks for a great giveaway!!! 😀

  32. Elizabeth Friesen March 1, 2013 at 18:40 #

    I tweeted!!! I’m @emfriesen!

  33. Chi March 2, 2013 at 21:04 #

    Pancetta would be perfect!

  34. Wendy March 3, 2013 at 10:40 #

    I’d put Kimchee!

  35. Sarah March 3, 2013 at 13:11 #

    I’d use found turkey, Granny Smith apples, and Brie!

  36. janet @ the taste space March 3, 2013 at 14:06 #

    Looks great… although I’d top mine with lots of veggies.

  37. sherrine francis March 4, 2013 at 21:41 #

    Mozzarella and basil = beauty combination.

  38. Dreena March 4, 2013 at 21:48 #

    I’d add mushrooms to mine and basilico.

  39. Dreena March 4, 2013 at 21:49 #

    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/Alexandrina_M/status/308770680613265409


  40. Marlene March 5, 2013 at 14:01 #

    I’d strew on a few of the slow-roasted roma tomatoes that I made and froze last fall, along with a grating of parmesan and some fresh thyme!

  41. Marlene March 5, 2013 at 14:04 #

    I tweeted the message, @musingmar!

  42. Arjun Rudra March 5, 2013 at 14:08 #

    Would put some turkey veal, duck breast, mushrooms, leeks and truffles in my meatzza.

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