A Single Bowl of Spaghetti Pomodoro


A single bowl of spaghetti, an underrated comfort. 

A little story from a few months ago:

My boyfriend is snuggled inside a sleeping bag on the lounge in front of me, his hand has flopped over the edge and I can see my cat Sooty with his two little black ears poking out from above the protruding arm. 

The blue Le Creuset cast iron pot is bubbling with heavily salted water on the stove behind me as I’m tearing basil leaves as delicately as my fingers can manage. It’s raining. Not heavily, just a musical pitter-patter, enough to feed my herbs that I’ve let run dry for days. 

It’s 2:00 in the afternoon and my mind is searching for something to save it from the housebound boredom. COVID cases have jumped in the area: leaving the house feels risky when faced with the chance of a 2 week, unpaid isolation stint. 

The dryer is spinning noisily in the next room, drying the only pair of comfortable jeans I have left. I can barely breathe in the others, including the ones I’m wearing, button undone while I cook. My 2020 Corona belly has betrayed me. But it seems we’re stuck together for the time being, given my unwillingness to let go of the carbs and red wine that are keeping me sane.  

I stir the pasta in the pot, catching a strand to taste with the claws of the spaghetti ladle: there’s a bit of bite, maybe more than there should be, but I like it that way.   I scoop it out and toss it straight into my bowl of red sauce with a splash of pasta water and a handful of torn basil leaves, throwing the pasta around in the bowl until it’s coated like silk. A good drizzle of olive oil (a little Corona belly never hurt anyone), a crack of pepper, a flurry of sea salt and it’s perfect. I cooked just enough for me. 

A single bowl of spaghetti, an underrated comfort. 

I twirl the spaghetti around my fork, catching as much of the olive oil rippled, pomodoro sauce as I can in the process. I lift it to my mouth, then slurp the flyaway strands. Fork, twirl, slurp; fork, twirl, slurp; until there’s only a few splatters of sauce and a stray basil leaf left in the bowl for me to scrape up with a finger. 

I wipe the red stains off my face with a tea towel, watching the other two snoring lightly side by side together in the sleeping bag, and I think: what’s the rush to go back outside? 

Spaghetti Pomodoro for One

vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, gf option
Makes one large bowl of spaghetti, enough just for you.
Servings 1


  • 125 g spaghetti, gf if needed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil + more to serve
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • small pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 x 400g can of good quality whole tomatoes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • squeeze of lemon or a dash of red wine vinegar/balsamic
  • a handful of torn basil leaves
  • fresh black pepper
  • flaky sea salt/vegan parmesan to serve


  • In a small-medium pot, melt the olive oil and butter over a low heat, then add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes. Cook until the onion is softened and sweet – about 5 minutes or so. Pour in the whole tomatoes and their juice, crushing them with your wooden spoon as you add them to the pot. Sprinkle in the sugar, a good pinch of salt and the lemon or vinegar. Give it a stir. Let it simmer on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until reduced and thick. Take off the heat and blitz it with a hand blender until smooth (or leave it chunky if you’d prefer!). Pop a lid on it to keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt it well until it's salty like the sea. Cook your spaghetti until al dente, a couple of minutes less than the packet says (it should have a bite to it). When your pasta is almost ready, pour the sauce into a large serving bowl. Once al dente, scoop the spaghetti out with tongs or a spaghetti ladle and throw it into your bowl of Pomodoro sauce along with the basil leaves and a splash of the pasta cooking water, give it a good toss until it's silky and coated, adding more pasta water if needed. Drizzle with olive oil, crack over some pepper and sprinkle on a little flaky salt or vegan parmesan. Eat.
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pasta

Join the Conversation

  1. Ellie Santana says:

    Your description of your cooking is so incredibly lovely! Thank you for this beautiful recipe, it is just want I was looking for 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Ellie 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the recipe xx

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