Anna Jones’s spaghetti with garlic, chilli oil and greens (aglio, olio e peperoncino). Photograph: Matt Russell/The Guardian. Food styling: Rosie Ramsden. Prop styling: Louie Waller.
The modern cook

Spaghetti and ice-cream: Anna Jones’ meals for one

There’s no need to get fancy when cooking for one: bring on the spaghetti with chillies and greens, followed by a chocolate and sticky blood orange sundae


My husband thinks that, rather than write more recipes, I should start documenting the things chefs cook for themselves.

We are a strange bunch, programmed to feed and spoil, but once we’ve fed others, the idea of picking up another pan is a turn-off. Some of the bleakest and laziest meals I’ve ever heard of have been eaten by the best cooks I know; from a dinner of just wine gums to a bowl of cold, tinned marrowfat peas. My recent dinners have included bowls of cereal, a slice of chocolate tart, and peas and chilli oil.

When I’m on my own, I don’t want to get fancy – I want to eat on my lap under a blanket. This pasta is my go-to: a twist of spaghetti and greens with crisp garlic (don’t hold back) and chilli, infused with a good amount of olive oil, which I slurp happily.

The sundae is based on flavours from my favourite ice-cream shop in London, Gelupo. I always order the dark chocolate sorbet with the blood orange granita on top, and this is my homemade version.

Aglio, olio e peperoncino
with greens

This is ready in the time it takes the pasta to cook, and made with ingredients I almost always have to hand, meaning as little of my precious time alone is wasted as possible. You can add as much garlic and chilli as you dare – the joy of cooking for one.

Prep 10 min
Cooking 15 min
Serves 1

100g dried spaghetti
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced
½-1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ head spring greens, rinsed and shredded
½ unwaxed lemon
Parmesan cheese (I use a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese)

Cook the spaghetti in a saucepan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions – around eight minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a generous drizzle of oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and chilli, and fry for a minute or so, until the garlic is starting to turn golden at the edges.

Add the spring greens and cook, stirring occasionally, for three to four minutes, or until the greens have wilted a little. Finely grate over the lemon zest.

Drain the spaghetti, keeping some of the cooking water, then put the pasta back in the pan with a splash of the water.

Squeeze over the juice of about a quarter of the lemon, and serve topped with a drizzle of oil and a wispy pile of finely grated parmesan.

A few things you could add, if you have them to hand: crumbled feta, crispy breadcrumbs, toasted pine nuts or torn basil.

Chocolate and blood orange sundae

If you can’t get blood oranges, a normal orange or clementine will be fine. Make sure you let the sticky blood oranges cool enough so as not to melt the ice-cream.
Anna Jones’ chocolate and blood orange sundae.

Prep 15 min
Cooking 5 min
Serves 1

1 blood orange
2 tbsp maple syrup
2-3 scoops good-quality, shop-bought chocolate ice-cream
1 handful toasted pecans
1 square dark chocolate, for grating

Peel the orange with a serrated knife to avoid getting any pith. Roughly chop half the orange, put in the bottom of your sundae dish or glass, and pop it in the freezer. Cut the remaining orange into slices.

Put a small frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the maple syrup and wedges of orange, and cook for four to five minutes, or until the oranges are all sticky. Leave to cool slightly.

Now, layer up your sundae: take the glass out of the freezer, then top the chopped orange with the ice-cream and sticky maple oranges. Finish with the toasted pecans and a grating of dark chocolate.