It's shivery-cold, the nights have drawn in and the Christmas parties not yet started - a little cocooning, a little comfort is called for. That surely means pasta and Friday night telly?
The combination of basil and mint in this recipe is not an obvious one, but it works to give a gentle lemony flavour. Last weekend I made this spaghetti with the herbs and peas, and it was crying out for the sharp and salty introduction of bacon.
For two adults: 100g spaghetti; four rashers of bacon; two handfuls of frozen peas; 10 mint leaves and 10 basil leaves; 2 tbspns sour cream; one egg; half a lemon.
First, boil a pan of water for the spaghetti and get that started. A slug of olive oil will help stop the pasta getting sticky. While the pasta is cooking, use scissors to cut a couple of rashers of bacon and put them on to fry. I cut off some of the excess fat and put the bacon in the frying pan without any cooking fat - but if no-one is watching, you can do as you like.
Now get the other ingredients ready. Take 10 or so leaves of basil and the same of mint, and tear them up. Cut a lemon so it is ready to squeeze into the spaghetti, and have the sour cream to hand. Separate an egg and keep the yolk.
Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, throw in two handfuls of frozen peas. When the pasta is done, take half a cup of the cooking water and reserve. I know it sounds strange to do this, but it makes all the difference.
Once the spaghetti and peas are cooked, drain it and put it back in the pan on a low heat. Throw in the reserved water and the egg yolk, spoon in sour cream and stir in well.
Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and any seasoning. Add the bacon and torn herbs and mix in gently, so as not to bruise the leaves.
Et voila! It will take a good sprinkling of parmesan if you like, and a glass of unoaked Chardonnay would not be a bad idea at all.