Recipe: A Personal Pasta

The reason I call this ‘A Personal Pasta’ is because it comes in so handy for those moments of solitude when you need to cook for one and don’t quite have the same motivation as when you cook for two or more. It’s also so quick it’s almost ridiculous considering the flavour punch it packs which makes it the ideal midweek meal after a long day.

An absolute lifetime favourite of my store cupboard is tinned mackerel in tomato sauce, spread it on toast and I’m drooling. With these tasty tins of goodness you can make a meal fit for a king in just 10 minutes. So next time your alone and contemplating a takeaway, give this a try instead.

(serves 1 busy person, but easily doubles up for two!)


1 tin of mackerel in tomato sauce
10 black olives (pitted, from a jar)
Small handful chopped basil
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tsp chilli flakes
pinch of salt
100g dried spaghetti or linguine
Juice of half a lemon
Black pepper


Bring a deep pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked al dente while you make the sauce.

While the pasta boils, make the sauce. Add the olive oil to a shallow saute pan, add the whole tin of mackerel, the olives, the chilli and  a pinch of salt. Gently heat the sauce, but don’t boil it. Break the mackerel up lightly and fold the ingredients until you have a nicely combined warmed sauce. Add the basil and stir through. At this stage use a kitchen ladle and add about 100ml of the boiling starchy pasta water to the sauce and stir through.

When the pasta is cooked drain it and immediately add it to the mackerel sauce. Before stirring, squeeze the lemon juice over the cooked pasta. Use tongs to lightly combine the pasta and the sauce before serving heaped into a bowl.

Finish with a crack of black pepper.

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