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.
FUEL TIME: 12 MINUTES
FUEL SOURCE: SINGLE HOB, ELECTRIC OR GAS
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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