Spaghetti alle vongole is my all-time favourite dish; I always order it when I see it on a restaurant menu, but it wasn't until I started making it myself at home that I realised how quick and easy it is. I like the classic bianco (the rosso version has tomatoes), which uses just seven ingredients, five or six of which you're likely to already have in the cupboard: olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes, white wine, spaghetti, parsley and, of course, clams.
Once I found out that my local fishmonger sells clams (you can also get them at the fish counter in larger supermarkets), I realised it was the perfect solo supper - it's indulgent, requires hardly any washing up and it's relatively inexpensive; I usually just buy a handful of clams for a few pounds.
To make one portion
5 cloves of garlic*, finely sliced
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
50ml white wine (a big glug, if you can't be bothered to measure it!)
A few sprigs of parsley, stalks and leaves finely chopped
200g clams (washed clean)
75 - 100g dried spaghetti
Salt and pepper to taste
*I like it garlicky, which is the other upside to making it myself at home!
Boil the kettle and cook the pasta until al dente in salted boiling water.
A few minutes before the pasta is ready, heat a big glug of olive oil in a pan - one with a clear lid is best. Gently fry the sliced garlic with the dried chilli flakes and the chopped parsley stalks on a medium heat. Before the garlic browns, tip in the clams and add the wine. Give everything a good shake and pop the lid on the pan.
The clams only need a few minutes to cook; just make sure that they have all fully opened. Any that haven't opened within about 5 minutes probably won't open, and shouldn't be eaten! Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the clams - the pasta will soak up some of the liquid, so I sometimes add a little bit of the pasta water if I want extra juices to mop up with a piece of bread.
The dish can be salty, thanks to the briny clams, but I always like to add a pinch of salt and pepper at the end, along with the chopped parsley leaves.
What do you like to eat when you're home alone? Do you make yourself something indulgent as a treat or is there something weird you like to cook when no one else is home? No judgement here!