Spaghetti with anchovies, garlic, chile & broccoli rabe

It’s called the Sunday Night Blues but let’s call if SNB for short as it’s, 1) shorter and, 2) sounds far more scientific. You don’t need a Nobel prize winning scientist or some fancy doctor to diagnose this one. The symptoms are all too apparent. Basically, it’s an overwhelming sense of doom. Yep, a feeling that life as you know it is pretty much kaput thanks to the eminent arrival of your least favourite day and mine, Monday.

Now, the smarty pants out there will tell you there are lots of things you can do to combat SNB, like pretending that Saturday is Sunday so Sunday becomes Saturday. Yep, I think it’s a pretty dumb idea too. Because, let’s be honest, if you do that you don’t get rid of SNB, you just end up with two days of SNB rather than one.

Or you can go outside and surround yourself with nature and get lots of fresh air and remind yourself how lucky you are to be alive. That lasts for about 10 minutes until the rain starts and you realize how short the days are and get really depressed.

Or you can do like I do. Don’t fight it. Feel sorry for yourself. Lament the passing weekend like you do your youthful good looks. Wallow. Sigh a lot. Stare out the window and sigh some more. And when you’re done being a killjoy then head into the kitchen and get cooking.

And yes, I know that food won’t ‘cure’ SNB but it sure as heck won’t hurt. Which would you rather be? Miserable and hungry or miserable with a bowl of pasta in front of you? Duh. Next question. This recipe is simple and satisfying. It doesn’t pretend it can make the world a better place or eradicate SNB. It’s more like a hug, a reminder that another weekend will come in approximately 120 hours, more or less.

Spaghetti with anchovies, garlic, chile & broccoli rabe

This makes enough for one hungry curmudgeon. If anyone can stand being around you, feel free to double the quantities.

4 ½ ounces spaghetti

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small clove of garlic, finely minced

2 anchovy fillets in oil

½ tsp Chile pequin

2 ounces broccoli rabe or regular broccoli, chopped

Handful of parsley, chopped

Parmesan cheese, grated

Bring a pot of water to boil. Generously salt it and add the pasta. Cook according to the package directions until al dente (with a bit of bite and definitely not mushy).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic, anchovy fillets and chile flakes. Mash the anchovy fillets with the back of your spoon – they will melt into the olive oil. This will only take a minute or two – don’t go check your Instagram account or the garlic will burn.

When the pasta is done, scoop it out of the pot with some of the water clinging to it and place it in the pan with the anchovy, garlic and chile. Pop the broccoli rabe into the pasta pot for a minute just to cook a bit, then add it to the frying pan with the pasta in it as well.

Toss to coat the pasta until any excess water is absorbed. Taste and add salt if needed and more chile flakes if you so desire. Stir in the parsley, place in a bowl and garnish with parmesan.

Enjoy, or as much as you can on a Sunday night.

Aglio e Olio

You’re tired. It’s been a long day. You hate your job and your life. And you’re very, very hungry. You get home and open up the fridge door. And the refrigerator laughs. It laughs as if to say, “What did you expect? Something to eat?” Because the fridge is empty. Sure there’s a jar of olives – or are they pickles? And something that used to be lettuce back in the ‘50’s. But there’s nothing you can eat without risk of food poisoning.


So you can 1) give up and go to bed, 2) go out and go shopping (are you kidding?) or, 3) get creative. Let’s go for option 3. Scrounge around – and I mean properly scrounge around – and you’ll probably find something. We’re talking about what cookbooks call ‘store cupboard staples’. These are the dry goods you should – and I emphasize should – have on hand. Okay, you’re no Martha Stewart but you do keep something in those cabinets, don’t you?


Here’s a crisis (because that’s what this is) meal that you can probably whip up. All you need is pasta (spaghetti please), red chile flakes, garlic, and olive oil. And running water. And electricity or gas. You get the idea. The dish is Aglio e Olio – or Aio e Oio  if you’re in Rome. It’s a classic example that the less you fuss about with food the better it tastes.


A couple of suggestions…sauté the garlic in a large sauté pan. Don’t drain the pasta but instead scoop it out and place in the pan with the garlic/olive oil/chile mixture. The small amount of water that clings to the pasta will make the dish taste better and richer. Add fresh parsley – if you’ve got it– and parmesan if you want (not traditional but tasty nonetheless). While you’re eating it, make out a grocery list. No more laughing refrigerators, promise?

Aglio e Olio

2 servings or 1 if you’re famished

½ pound spaghetti
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ tsp or more chile pepper flakes
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
grated parmesan (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 Tbsp salt and the pasta. Cook according to the package directions until al dente (with a bit of bite and definitely not mushy).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic and the chile flakes in a large skillet. This will only take a minute or two. You do not want to brown the garlic or burn it. When the pasta is done, scoop it out of the water and place in the pan with the garlic, olive oil and chile flakes. Reduce the heat. Toss to coat the pasta until any excess water is absorbed (only a minute or two). Taste and add salt or more chile flakes, if desired. Stir in the parsley. Place in bowls and garnish with parmesan – if using.