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‘It tastes like holidays’: readers’ favourite spaghetti recipes

·7-min read
<span>Photograph: StudioA/Alamy</span>
Photograph: StudioA/Alamy

Frittata di spaghetti

I was introduced to Neapolitan frittata di spaghetti on a school exchange to Pozzuoli. It’s a bit like a Spanish omelette but with spaghetti instead of potato. You use cold leftover spaghetti for it, and can even use some that has been covered in sauce. Start by beating your eggs – roughly one large egg per 80g spaghetti. Add a dash of milk, salt, pepper and parmesan to the beaten eggs, then add the spaghetti and stir until fully covered in the slippery egg mix. Then add to a hot, oiled frying pan and cook on both sides. Flipping the frittata over without it falling apart is probably the trickiest bit, but otherwise it’s not a complicated recipe. Elisa, civil servant, Dundee

Spaghetti with clams

My favourite spaghetti recipe is very easy: boil spaghetti in salted water for approximately eight minutes. Meanwhile, chop garlic, whatever herbs you have (but keep some to add before serving), fresh tomatoes and fresh chillies (not too much). Add to a warm pan with plenty of olive oil, making sure not to burn the garlic. After a couple of minutes, give the herby mix a good stir, then add clams followed by a dash of white wine. Put the lid on the pot for a few minutes (until the clams open). Then drain the spaghetti, add to the pan and mix well. Add more fresh herbs and season to taste (don’t forget clams are naturally salty). Et voilà! Cyril Haessig, public healthcare worker, Godalming

Aglio e olio

Take a high-quality olive oil, and slowly infuse with lots of garlic and chilli over a low heat. Occasionally, I also add lemon juice, lemon zest and flat leaf parsley, which give the dish a freshness. Then stir in your cooked spaghetti and season before serving. Simple but utterly delicious – pasta heaven! I always have crusty bread on hand, too, to mop up the leftover oil. Hugh O’Reilly, sales director, Dublin

Marmite pasta

This is a twist on the Nigella recipe: cook a big handful of spaghetti in a pan of salted, boiling water, then drain, leaving a tablespoon of water in the pan. Add a big knob of salted butter to the pasta and remaining water, followed by equal parts parmesan and cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir over a low heat and, once the cheese and butter have melted, add two big teaspoons of marmite (or more, to your taste). Mix well then serve, leaving a small well in the middle of the spaghetti. Fill this with a quick salsa of equal parts chopped spring onions, black olives, chopped tomatoes and capers. Finally, top with more parmesan and a good twist of black pepper. Matt, St Albans

Carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara. Photograph: Cris Cantón/Getty Images

My favourite spaghetti recipe is a simple carbonara that never goes wrong. I cook enough spaghetti for two, and I prefer it al dente. While the pasta cooks in salty water, slowly fry 100g chopped guanciale or a small packet of pancetta with a thin shaving of pork lard. Grate 80g pecorino, then add two whole eggs and an extra yolk to the cheese and season with black pepper. Salt shouldn’t be necessary, as the cured meat and pasta should be salty enough. Turn off the heat on both pans and drain the pasta, making sure to save a tablespoon or so of the pasta water. Add the spaghetti to the pan, followed by the egg mixture, tossing quickly. Once thoroughly mixed, serve immediately and grate some more pecorino cheese on top. Claudio Duarte, warehouse operative, Peterborough

Spaghetti frutti di mare

There’s something about spaghetti frutti di mare that tastes like holidays. I use large prawns, clams, mussels and squid. If you’ve got time, it’s really worth making a shellfish stock to add to the tomato base, which you can do by sauteing the prawn shells in tomato paste and a cup of water for 20 minutes. Otherwise just steam all the mussels and clams in a glass of white wine, then drain and reserve the juices. Saute a medium red chilli and a clove of crushed garlic, then add half a tin of passata or a large handful of cherry tomatoes. Get your pasta on the boil and cook for 6-8 minutes. Add the prawn stock, the shellfish, their juices and the spaghetti to the tomatoes, and swirl the pan until the sauce is reduced and the spaghetti is al dente, adding water if it starts running dry. Fry the squid and prawns in garlic butter and use them to garnish each dish. Simon de Lotz, designer and photographer, London

Tuna anchovy spaghetti

When my husband and I bought our first house, we were always looking for “cheap and cheerful” but tasty recipes and this became a favourite of ours – and it still is, 31 years later. Empty a can of anchovies into a pan, oil and all. Then take a tin of drained tuna and add that to the pan with a crushed garlic clove. Gently fry until the anchovies have blended a little with the tuna and the mix is on the dry side. Meanwhile, cook enough spaghetti for two people in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until al dente and drain well. Tip the pasta back into the saucepan and then add the tuna mix, a large knob of butter, some chopped flat leaf parsley (optional) and loads of freshly milled black pepper. Top with fresh basil leaves to serve. Isobel Bryce, education consultant, Cornwall

Spaghetti all’ubriaco

This recipe for spaghetti all’ubriaco – AKA drunken spaghetti – has become a firm favourite of mine, especially for dinner parties. Cook the spaghetti in water for a couple of minutes before draining and swapping the water for red wine. The spaghetti turns a beautiful dark red colour and absorbs lots of lovely flavour. While the pasta is cooking, fry pancetta and garlic in oil and butter, then stir through the cooked spaghetti. Top with pine nuts and grated parmesan or pecorino. Totally delicious. Lia Buddle, baker, transcriber and building operations team member, London

Chilli crab spaghetti

I love spaghetti; I could eat it every day. One of my favourite recipes is pretty simple: it’s spaghetti mixed with fresh crab, chilli, lemon and mint. Cook your spaghetti – al dente is best – then drain and stir through white crab meat, chopped mint, chopped red chilli and the juice of a lemon. You can also add some cream. Delicious! Tracy Mearns, Northern Ireland

Basil ricotta spaghetti

Spaghetti with ricotta and basil.
Spaghetti with ricotta and basil. Photograph: Nina Firsova/Alamy

Cook your pasta in a pot of salted water. In a separate pan, on a low heat, add thinly sliced garlic and chilli flakes to a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Cut vine tomatoes in half, then add to the pan. (For more flavour, add the vine the tomatoes were on, too, and remove it after a few minutes). As the tomatoes soften up, add a handful of basil leaves, followed by a spoonful of pasta water, to thicken the sauce. Add grated parmesan cheese to taste, followed by the drained spaghetti – it’s best to do this before it’s al dente, so that it finishes cooking in the sauce and absorbs more flavour. Top with a couple of spoonfuls of ricotta, finely chopped basil and a dash of olive oil before serving. Sarthak Nayak, student, India

Spaghetti and meatballs

For years, I searched for the perfect spaghetti and meatballs recipe and, through a lot of trial and error, I think I have found it. I make my own meatballs with 500g of minced beef and 300g sausage meat, combined. Whiz up a crust of bread in the food processor and soak the crumbs in milk for at least 10 minutes. As they’re soaking, saute a very finely chopped onion in a little olive oil, then combine the onion, breadcrumbs and chopped basil in with the meat. Shape into balls and cook in the oven, before finishing them off in the tomato sauce. I make a simple sauce using onion, garlic, basil, tomato puree, a carton of passata and a tin of chopped tomatoes. My secret ingredient is a tablespoon of beef gravy granules and a beef stock cube/pot dissolved in a dash of boiling water to create a thick, beefy paste. Stir this into the sauce for instant depth of flavour, as though you’ve been cooking it for hours. Add your spaghetti to the pan of sauce and meatballs, with a little of the pasta water. Serve with boatloads of parmesan or pecorino. Jonny Chambers, creative director, Sunderland

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