A humble packet of spaghetti can be transformed into something truly special. This long skinny pasta works when coated in emulsified carbonara sauce, tossed in a spicy tomato puttanesca, quickly mixed in a herby garlic oil – the options are too long to list. Spaghetti can also be elevated into something luxurious when served with shellfish, like prawns, clams or crab.
The shape of spaghetti makes it the perfect pasta partner for a butter or oil-based sauce. Our top tip is to upgrade to bronze die cut spaghetti. This premium pasta is made using a technique that gives it a rough surface that better absorbs sauces, providing maximum flavour in every bite.
Another piece of advice that will improve your pasta-eating experience is to reserve a cup of the salty, starchy pasta water after cooking. In Italy, pasta and sauce are combined in the pan before serving, and adding this precious cooking liquor helps the whole dish come together by adding body, flavour and general oomph.
Don’t forget to adequately salt your water to penetrate the finished dish with necessary seasoning, and keep the pasta very al dente as it will continue to cook as you mix the spaghetti and sauce.
Read on to discover our best ever ways with spaghetti to see if your favourite recipe made the list.
The ultimate storecupboard supper. This saline hit of anchovy, olives and capers is tempered by sweet tomatoes and the heat of chilli flakes. A major contender for the mix-in-the-pan technique, use reserved pasta water to toss until glossy and serve direct in the pan with tongs for scooping. Make our classic spaghetti puttanesca recipe.
Spaghetti alle vongole
Spaghetti works with seafood of any sort, but mastering this classic dish means you can make the most of fresh clams when they’re in season. Steam the shellfish in dry white wine on top of oil flavoured with chilli and garlic. Double up on the carbs to serve – crusty bread for mopping up the extra cooking liquor is mandatory. Make our spaghetti alle vongole recipe.
Spaghetti with pine nuts, sardines, raisins & fennel
Raisins with pasta and fish? Trust us, this works a treat. This take on a Sicilian dish strikes the perfect balance between salty fish, fragrant fennel, sweet bursts of juicy raisins, plus lemon zest and chilli heat. Basically all the best flavour components are present in a unassuming dish that perfectly demonstrates spaghetti’s versatility. Make our spaghetti with pine nuts, sardines, fennel & raisin recipe.
Spaghetti with prawns and crispy breadcrumbs
Granted, the juicy prawns and fennel salami are a delight in this dish, but the true star of the show is the breadcrumb topping. Creating this ‘pangratatto’ is a great way to use up stale bread and perfect for when you want to switch up the standard grating of parmesan, especially when serving seafood pasta – traditionalists avoid serving cheese with fish. Once you’ve tried the combination of silky, soft pasta and crunchy fried bread, you’ll never look back. Because double carbs are the best carbs. Make our spaghetti with chilli prawns, salami & crispy gremolata breadcrumbs recipe.
A dish that encapsulates how a few simple ingredients can be taken to brave new heights when deftly combined with spaghetti. The caveat to this dish is that you have to like fennel, it containing not only fresh fennel but also fennel seeds. It’s remarkably simple and healthy, being both low in fat and calories, not attributes always associated with pasta. Make our fennel spaghetti recipe.
One-pan nduja spaghetti
This recipe uses an all-in-one method where you combine everything in a pan, turn on the heat and let the magic happen. Using nduja (a soft, spicy Italian sausage) in any recipe is a sure-fire way to add a serious hit of hot flavour. Add some black olives, fennel flavours and a generous amount of garlic and you have yourself an umami bomb ready in no time. Be sure to follow the recipe quantities closely to ensure the correct level of sauciness. Make our one-pan spaghetti with nduja, fennel & olives recipe.
A dish that requires zero introduction… but how do you make yours? Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way and we have over 30 versions of Bolognese on our site. With ingredients ranging from chicken livers, milk, shallots, fish sauce, lentils and salami, we really do encourage an experimental take on this family favourite. But if you’re in hunt of perfection and aren’t afraid of a few unorthodox ingredients, try our project recipe with game-changing results. Make our next level spaghetti Bolognese recipe.
File next to spaghetti Bolognese under ‘desert island dishes’. Unlike spag bol, we endorse a traditional approach to this pared back dish – just bacon, eggs, spaghetti and cheese. Take it up a notch by sourcing Italian guanciale, a ramped-up bacon with lots of fat for rendering. It’s all about the technique so study our next level spaghetti carbonara recipe carefully before you start cooking or risk ending up with scrambled egg spaghetti – unsurprisingly, a dish that doesn’t make our best-of list. Make our next level spaghetti carbonara recipe.
Spaghetti with walnuts, raisins & parsley
One of spaghetti’s many positive traits is that it’s affordable. If you’re watching the pennies, try this super simple dish made with storecupboard raisins, stock and walnuts. Perk it up with fresh parsley and parmesan (or use vegan cashew parmesan as a dairy-free alternative) and you have a super quick, healthy supper that’s easy on the pocket. If you prefer a saucy pasta, whizz the walnuts, parsley and parmesan with olive oil in a food processor to make a pesto to fold through the cooked spaghetti. Make our spaghetti with walnuts, raisins & parsley recipe.
A dish loved by kids and adults alike, this is another classic you can experiment with. We broke down the components of this Italian-American titan for our next level spaghetti and meatballs and decided to stuff the meatballs with melty mozzarella for added indulgence. Our top tip? Use a pork mince as well as beef, as its fat content stops the balls from drying out. Keep the marinara-style sauce simple to let the meat do the talking. Try our vegan ‘meatballs’ as a new take on the dish. Make our next-level spaghetti & meatballs recipe.
Crab is one of our favourite shellfish to serve with spaghetti as it’s easy to toss through. Use cherry tomatoes and basil to bring out the sweetness of the crab, plus a handful of capers for sharpness. This recipe uses canned crab, making this an extra-special storecupboard supper that sounds fancier than its components. Make our spaghetti with crab, cherry tomatoes & basil recipe.
Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce
Say hello to summer on a plate. The trick to this recipe is using very good, in-season tomatoes. The no-cook sauce is pummelled in a pestle and mortar to combine with tomatoes with shallots, chilli, red wine vinegar, sugar and olive oil. We recommend topping with mozzarella or, better still, burrata. This softer, more unctuous relative of mozzarella is filled with cream. Make our spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce recipe.
Italy’s diverse regions each have their own traditional pasta dishes and the region of Genoa is not only the birthplace of pesto but also spaghetti Genovese, a dish that combines pasta with – you’ve guessed it – pesto. But forget all notions of studenty pesto pasta. This regional dish also contains green beans and sliced new potatoes. Cook each component in turn in boiling water then combine with pesto and olive oil for extra shine. If you use a free-from pesto this can be veggie or vegan, too. So simple and so satisfying. Make our spaghetti Genovese recipe.
Those of us prone to cooking too much pasta (guilty!) could potentially be throwing away considerable amounts of precious durum wheat each year. Never waste surplus stands again by using them in an omelette. Bear with us here – the spaghetti gives the frittata-like omelette body and structure, while courgettes, cheese sauce and onions provide the flavour. Cut it into wedges to serve. This one is bound to be a hit with kids. Make our spaghetti omelette recipe.
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Are you a spaghetti fan? How do you serve yours? We’d love to hear your recipe suggestions…