The warm air is vibrating softly with the sound of insects and the sweet smell of freshly mown grass and sleepy daisies hangs heavily all around you. The piercing blue sky pulsates brightly as a couple of lazy pigeons swoop by. Someone serves you a cool glass of Pimms and you’re just about to take a sip before, suddenly, you’re jolted awake by the rattle of the Wednesday morning rubbish lorry outside your house. The dull drumming of raindrops on your single-glazed window prevents you from drifting back in to that soporific summery dream and reality has crept up on you like a big, fat, hairy and unwelcome spider. You’ve woken up in a soggy February day in England – the Sun hasn’t made an appearance in weeks and you’re beginning to wonder if you should start gathering every other animal on Sidwell Street and build some sort of ark.
Rather than huddling by the heater, clutching steaming mugs of tea and fending off the frostbite with damp smelling wooly jumpers, why don’t you do what Brits do best and find solace in food?
Now, that doesn’t mean legging it to your nearest KFC, nor does it mean that you should get Dominoes on speed dial and order a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese. If you’re going to comfort eat, do it in style. You may not be in the Mediterranean right now, but you can at least pretend.
So, this evening, instead of your usual baked potato and beans, have a go at this delicious, light and lovely supper. Not only is it incredibly easy, it’s also much better for you than a greasy takeaway and tastes nicer than any burger (except those at Exeter’s Hubbox of course). Invite over a few friends, play something summery on Spotify and imagine basking your slightly burnt, sun-cream-saturated bod under sunny seaside rays.
Lemony Black Linguine Recipe – Inspired by the slightly more decadent crab linguine River Café recipe.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
- 300g of black linguine (aka squid ink dyed spaghetti). I know, I know. Squid ink spaghetti sounds strange and slimy but it actually tastes delicious. It’s a little more expensive than bog standard pasta but is a lot more interesting. You can find it lurking around in Italian food shops, online or in Waitrose. Alternatively, if you fancy something with a smaller price tag, then just stick to normal or whole-wheat spaghetti.
- Two tins of sustainably caught tuna in spring water.
- Two small cloves of garlic.
- Two tablespoons of capers.
- Juice of one lemon.
- A big handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley and a few fresh basil leaves.
- One chopped and deseeded fresh red chilli pepper or a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes (optional).
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Two large and very ripe vine tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
How to make it:
- Put a pan of water on to boil.
- Finely chop up all the herbs, tomatoes and chilli. Put them in a big bowl. Add the lemon juice, tuna, capers and two tablespoons of the oil. Mix everything together and add plenty of ground black pepper.
- Chop the garlic and gently sauté in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan on a medium heat until golden. Take off the heat and put aside.
- Once the water is boiling, add the linguine/spaghetti with a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil to stop it from sticking.
- Relax and sip on some wine (this is the most important part of the recipe).
- Warm three bowls in the oven for two to three minutes.
- Check on the pasta by taking a piece and biting into it. If it’s chalky and very hard in the middle then cook it for a bit longer. It should be cooked all the way through but with a bite to it, unless you like your spaghetti sloppy!
- Once the spaghetti is ready, take it off the heat and drain away the water. Add the garlic and the oil it was cooked in. Add the tuna, chilli, herb, caper, lemon and tomato mixture. Mix well and divide into the bowls. Taste and season with salt, pepper and/or extra chilli if needed. Sprinkle a few torn up basil leaves on top.
Wave goodbye to your rainy day winter woes and enjoy! This dish goes very well with crusty garlic bread and a glass of dry white wine. Just don’t expect to be kissing anyone afterwards.
Now to find somebody to do the washing up…