Spaghetti with Basil and Caper Sauce

Wednesday 14 November 2012

I have never made any secret of my fondness for Nigel Slater's cooking.  If I was a millionaire I would tempt him to come and cook with me, but only if he let me help.  He cooks like I want to eat.  He is the most un-pretentious down to earth cook you could ever ask for.  Simple ingredients, simple methods . . . fabulous taste, end of.

As you know I treated myself to his second volume of his kitchen diaries a month or so back and I just love it.  Just look at that beautifully splodged cover . . . that is how all of my best handwritten recipes look . . . all splodgy and loved . . . that's how you can tell they are good, and that they are loved . . .  and it is the same with this book . . . it's stogged full of recipes which are really, really good, and loveable too . . .

 photo basil_zps74c4cb60.jpg

The Toddster  went into town today, leaving me on my own,  which I don't mind really.  It's nice to be able to enjoy time together . . . but it's nice to be able to enjoy time on your own too.  I knew he would be treating himself to a nice hot bowl of soup and a roll at the Market Cafe for his lunch, so I decided to get together with Nigel and cook myself an equally as delicious lunch.

And you know what that means when I cook when the Toddster is away . . . I cook PASTA!  Coz he hates it . . . and I love it, and I just got to have it sometimes.  Besides I had a packet of fresh spaghetti in the fridge that was going to soon expire.  Today was my chance to use it.  Don't you just love fresh pasta?  I know!  It's soooooo good!

Nigel never disappoints.  I had only been looking through his gorgeous book for a few minutes when I spied exactly what I wanted to make, right there on page 416 near the bottom.  It wasn't even a recipe, so much as it was an idea . . . a few sentences describing what he had made for his supper . . . but it sounded very, very good . . .

I love that he is not afraid to just grab a few simple ingredients that he has on hand and then throw them together  in a simple way to create a fabulous meal for one or two.  Just look at all of that creamy deliciousness sitting in that  bowl!  Wowsa!

I had absolutely everything I needed with the exception of Pine Nuts.  I used spaghetti because that is what I had . . . he used cappelletti.  They are two different animals . . . but it worked.

Don't  look at me like that Nigel . . . ok . . . I know there is a big difference between little tortellini types of pasta and spaghetti . . . I do.  But stay with me here . . . it gets better . . . I promise.

I used salt and pepper cashews instead of pine nuts . . . coz that is what I had to hand . . .
I had a brief moment wondering what Nigel would think . . . I mean first I used spaghetti instead of Cappelletti . . . and now cashew nuts?  Salt and Pepper Cashew nuts!

See  . . .  I've already intrigued him . . . I'm cooking like he does and he's impressed.  I've taken what I had to hand and I've used it in a very delicious way.  He wants a taste . . . I know he does!

Anytime Nigel . . . any time.

This was rich and creamy . . . with a fabulous mix of flavours and textures . . . including that moreish crunch from the cashew nuts.  I mean "in for a penny in for a pound."  There's already cream . . , so why NOT cashews I say!  Why not indeed!

Oh wow, wouldn't that be so cool to cook for Nigel Slater . . . I wonder what I would make for him??  Hmmm . . . . I'll have to give that some more thought I think . . .

*Spaghetti with a Basil and Caper Sauce*
Serves 2 generously
Printable Recipe

Quick, delicious and as easy as boiling a pot of water.

220g of fresh pasta (5 ounces)
a large pot of lightly salted boiling water
a few good handfuls of fresh basil leaves
a clove of fresh garlic, peeled
1 generous teaspoon of Dijon mustard
2 TBS white wine vinegar
1 tsp capers (I  like the ones in vinegar, but you can use salted ones if you want.
just rinse them well.  I also like to use the non pareil ones, or tiny ones)
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil (may need more)
2 to 3 TBS cream
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Toasted pine nuts, or  broken salt and pepper roasted cashews

Put the basil leaves, garlic, mustard, vinegar, capers, and the olive oil in the blender or the beaker which came with you stick blender.  Blitz until smooth adding more  olive oil if need be to make thick, yet pourable mixture.  Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook your spaghetti al dente according to your package directions.  Drain well.  Return to the pot and toss together with the sauce.  Divide between two pasta bowls and sprinkle with some toasted pine nuts or cashews.  Enjoy!

I ate it all.  *burp*


  1. That looks decadently delicious!! I share your love of pasta, and this one reminds me of something my mom used to make with pine nuts... But it is a fuzzy memory... Because she always made it for office parties with this peanut sesame pasta that was to DIE for!! I'll have to post it eventually :) I will definitely try this one!

  2. Mmmm delicious, my type of food, I must try this one. I have Nigel on my Amazon wish list, wonder if he will come for Christmas ;o)



  3. I love Nigel too Marie, for exactly the same reasons as you! When we were staying with friends who live in the south of France I watched her make this dish (but with pine nuts) and Peter LOVED it! We'd only been home a week and I had to make it too...maybe I'll try the cashew nuts with it next time!

  4. Brilliant post - rather funny too. :) Nigel is a chef I am only recently becoming very fond of. I may have to invest in one of his books. I too love his approach to cooking, using what you have to hand and the food spillages only make it better :)

    Nicole Waterman

  5. April that peanut sesame pasta dish sounds to die for. You must make it and then share it with us!

    Sheilagh, I do hope that Nigel comes for Christmas. He'd be the perfect guest!!

    Pat, I know!! It's the simplest and most delicious Pasta dish! How lucky for you that you have a hubster that likes pasta! I wish mine did!

    Nicole, you should really treat yourself to one of his books. They are the best. I don't think I could choose just one as a favourite. I love them all . . . but his Tender series is especially good. xxoo

  6. Great post Marie. I'm sure Nigel would have been proud of you. Adapting the recipe to suit what you have to hand would be just up his street!

  7. I love Nigel Slater too and this look yummy!!! xoxoxoxo


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