Jack Monroe's 'lingereenie' pasta

The queen of budget store cupboard cooking is back and this time Jack Monroe is in her kitchen at home ready to show us a tasty and easy meal to make this Friday night.

Perfect pick me up food for when you’re low in spirits Jack’s turning her focus to feel good food with her delicious veg packed Lingreenie pasta with shredded chilli chicken!

SERVES: One hungry person or two light meals

INGREDIENTS

70g spaghetti or linguine, or any other pasta

A few pinches of salt

80g spinach or kale

40g spring onion, green parts only

20g parsley, stalks and all

1 tbsp oil or butter

2 tbsp lemon juice or light coloured vinegar

50g soft cheese, I used feta

120g green courgette, or more

80g tomatoes or peppers

Plenty of black pepper or a little chilli

Protein of choice, optional - works with cooked shredded or thinly sliced chicken, diced cooked bacon, any canned fish, or for veggie option, cooked white beans or crumbled firm tofu

To make it even more nutrient-dense, add green beans and/or peas to the party!

METHOD

  • Fill a medium saucepan two-thirds full with water and salt it generously. Bring to the boil, then snap your spaghetti or linguine in half and pop it in. You can stick half in and wait for it to soften before nudging in the other half, which is the traditional method, but most of the time I just do this instead, as it’s less effort. Reduce the pan to a simmer and cover with a lid, if you have one, or a sturdy plate, if you don’t and cook for 8-10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, stuff the kale or spinach into the large cup of a bullet blender, followed by the spring onion, and parsley stalks and most of the leaves. Add the oil and lemon juice, and a little of the cheese, and pulse to a smooth, alarmingly bright green paste. Set to one side.

  • Grate your courgette using the large holes of a box grater, skim it with a julienne peeler for thin strips, or a standard vegetable peeler for thick ribbons

  • When the pasta is cooked, pop the courgette in for a moment, pause, then drain most of the salty water away. Strain it through a sieve or colander over a large bowl and keep the liquid - it’s great for making bread with, adding to soups and stews, or using as the base for gravies. Store it in a bottle or jar in the fridge and use within 3 days, or freeze it for the future.

  • Add a splash of the pasta water (around a tablespoon) to the green sauce to loosen it slightly and bring out the bright flavours with the residual starchy salinity.

  • Return the pasta to the pan and pour over the sauce. Toss briefly until well coated, and finish with the remaining cheese, tomatoes, and plenty of black pepper or chilli if you like it hot. Serve hot immediately, or enjoy chilled from the fridge - both work well!

TIP: If you don’t have a blender, you can still make this recipe, it just won’t be a smooth pesto-style sauce, but it will still be delicious. Finely chop your spinach or kale by hand - the easiest way to do this is to roll it tightly into a sausage shape and slice thinly with a heavy flat knife. Pop it in a bowl. Mince your spring onion, by finely slicing it then chopping it vigorously to smithereens. Grate your courgette. Mix everything together with the oil and lemon juice, and season with plenty of black pepper.