Spaghetti Per Martedì, 24p | 12 Minutes | One Pan | JACK MONROE

This is a variation on a classic pasta dish that’s enjoyed all over Italy; I made it for lunch today, so have christened it ‘Spaghetti For Tuesday’, because its a quick and simple midweek lunch-or-dinner fling that’s the flash of a moment to pull together. Quick and hot and surprisingly satisfying, this is ideal for those bare-fridge or bare-imagination days. It seems simple enough, but when all of the varying component parts come together, it’s utterly sensational.



EQUIPMENT: Large nonstick pan, sharp knife, grater, small bowl, colander or sieve


To serve 2, from 24p each

130g spaghetti, 6p (23p/500g, Just Essentials at Asda)

a few generous pinches of salt, <1p (30p/750g table salt, Asda)

1 very fat clove of garlic, 2p (65p/3 bulbs, Growers Selection at a Asda)

40g cheese, 18p (£3.65/825g mature cheddar, Just Essentials at Asda)

1 slice of white or wholemeal bread, 2p (39p/22 slice loaf, Just Essentials at Asda)

a few sprigs of fresh parsley, optional, 4p (50p/25g, Asda)

a generous pinch of crushed chilli flakes, <1p (£1/100g, TRS at Asda)

2 tbsp light cooking oil, 5p (£5/3;, vegetable oil at Asda)

plenty of coarsely ground black pepper, <1p (£1/100g, TRS at Asda)

2 tbsp/30g butter or spread, or 2 more tbsp light cooking oil, 5p (83p/500g soft spread, Just Essentials at Asda)

2 tsp lemon juice, bottled is fine, 2p (50p/250ml, Asda)

Pop the spaghetti into a large nonstick pan of cold water, and generously salt it. Bring it to the boil on the largest hob ring, then cover with a lid (or larger pan, sturdy dinner plate, baking tray, tin foil if you don’t have a lid for this pan – anything that will conserve the heat and speed up the cooking time, thus reducing the amount of energy needed to cook it. Incidentally that’s also why the spaghetti goes into the cold water, which some folks may find controversial, but it kickstarts the cooking process as soon as the water starts to warm up, instead of waiting for it to fully boil.) Set a timer for 10 minutes; I use the clock function on my phone for this.

While the spaghetti is boiling, prepare the rest. Peel and finely slice your garlic, then chop it as finely as you can. If you have a microplane or a fine grater (usually on one side of a box grater) or a garlic crusher, here would be an excellent place to use them, but if you don’t, don’t worry, you can still chop it up super small with a small sharp knife and some patience. Set this to one side for a moment.

Grate your cheese – either coarsely or finely, as you prefer, and grate your bread into crumbs or tear it up and blitz in a small bullet blender, mini chopper or food processor if you have them. Finely chop your parsley, if using the fresh stuff. Add the garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley and chilli to a small bowl and drizzle with the oil. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper, and set to one side.

When the ten minute timer is up, the spaghetti should be cooked lovely and soft. Drain it and set it to one side for a moment, drizzling with the other tablespoon of oil to stop it from sticking together as it cools.

Pop the butter (or more oil) into the still-hot pan, and add the garlic, breadcrumbs and parsley. Pop back on the heat for a minute at most – you don’t want to burn the garlic! – and then tip the spaghetti back in. Add the cheese and chilli, and mix well to coat the spaghetti in all those lovely flavours.

Finish with a dash or two of lemon juice, a little more black pepper, and enjoy immediately.

All text copyright Jack Monroe, not to be reproduced without the explicit written permission of the author.


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  1. Good one – a bit more inventive than my 1970s end-of-term student standby of spag, butter, pepper and a few shakes of the ready-grated tub of Parmesan. (Yes, I know – it was the 70s!) Pepper grinder best investment I made! Thoughtfully, college sold butter cut into half or even qiarter packs (also 2 slices of bread at a time and eggs sold singly to eke out the budget).

  2. Hi – I think your work is so important and once winter sets in will be even more so. My partner is a techie and would be happy to take a look at your ad running issues (FOC of course). I couldn’t find a contact page – please email me if you’d like some help.

  3. Great recipe …! & it’s why I don’t support restaurants, especially certain Mediterranean-style eateries which generally sell their highly refined grain products for a greedy, exorbitant profit. May I suggest you include nutritional values – particularly fibre content – in your recipes? Saving on health costs, even if there’s the NHS, will encourage people to regard their food as medicine too & help them to take responsibility for their health with regard to some of the avoidable illnesses, often related to poor nutrition in or during childhood. People just expect to get sick because we’re brainwashed to do so by the billions of dollars’ worth Med & Pharma industries which condition us into thinking that there’s always a drug, too, free on the NHS …but I for one, don’t think that that will be the case for too long either.

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