Christmas Season Emergency Meal: Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes

Here’s a meal that is perfect for this busy time of year, when you’ve come home exhausted from work and shopping.  You can be sitting down to a bowl of this on the couch 10 minutes after walking through the front door.

If you don’t have basil growing in your garden or balcony then I strongly recommend planting some this weekend. Put it in a sunny spot and you will have lovely fresh basil leaves all summer long.


Serves 2

  • Dried spaghetti – enough for 2 serves
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • About 10 small basil leaves
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated fresh parmesan or pecorino cheese


Cook the spaghetti in boiling water, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t all stick together. When its nearly cooked,  heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, toss in the garlic, let it cook just briefly, half a minute, then add the lemon zest and tomatoes.  Scoop out a little of the pasta water – just a tablespoon or two – into a little bowl or cup and set it aside, drain the pasta and tip the spaghetti – unrinsed – straight into the pan with the garlic etc.  Mix everything through over a low heat and add the little bit of reserved cooking water and a little squeeze of lemon juice. Stir through the basil leaves until just wilted, season, and serve with the parmesan.



One thought on “Christmas Season Emergency Meal: Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes

  1. theabbotsfordkitchen February 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm Reply

    I can’t believe I didn’t think to point out that the colours of this dish are fittingly festive. 🙂

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