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Lockdown Linguine

Lockdown Linguine – A Recipe for Social Distancing

Lockdown Linguine is a delicious, simple pasta recipe, which also happens to be brilliant with a bottle of white wine, and it only takes 10-15 minutes to make.

It’s Italian-style, though I don’t know if there’s an Italian name for it.  Here it’s called Lockdown Linguine, as much for the alliteration as anything. Perhaps in Italian, it might be called Bucatini Bloccato or Capellini Chiusura?  Hmm, I’ll get my coat.

Anyway, as far as types of pasta, you can use linguine, spaghetti, bucatini or tagliatelle. As for the other ingredients, try and source as high quality as you can.


500 g fresh or dried Linguine
75 ml of good olive oil (extra-virgin isn’t necessary)
50 g pine nuts
5 big garlic cloves, peeled
Optional pinch dried chilli
A dozen capers
2 BIG unwaxed lemons
Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
100 g pitted and chopped green olives. Nocellara, Cerignola and Picholine are favourites.
100 g grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese*

Quantities are approximate as accuracy isn’t a major requirement. Officially this serves four, though it’s so good that two people can easily scoff this amount.


Put a large pan of water on to the boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, add the pine nuts to the olive oil and warm over low heat. Crush all the garlic into the pan and add the chilli. Continue warming and stirring until the nuts are lightly toasted, checking to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

Finely grate the zest from both lemons. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a jug for later.

Once the pasta water is boiling, add a generous amount of salt, add the pasta and cook accordingly.

Once the pasta is ready, drain and put into a serving bowl. Pour over the garlicky oil and nuts and toss well, adding the lemon zest and the lemon juice and parsley. Now add the olives, capers and cheese or serve them on the side to add later. Finally, add a pinch of sea salt for a bit of crunch, and black pepper according to taste. For decoration, a sprig of basil and a slice of lemon looks the part.

Serve and eat immediately.

*Vegetarians would substitute this cheese for those made with vegetable or microbial rennet. Here are some suggestions.

White wine

This recipe will match with any young and zingy white wine. For example, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chablis-style Chardonnay or Spanish Godello or Albariño. However, my preference would be Italian. Hence, a Vermentino, Verdicchio or Vernaccia hits the spot. More alliteration!

Why social distancing?

What, with that amount of garlic? People really won’t want to come anywhere near you afterwards. A useful spin-off during these difficult times, though if you’re planning this recipe as part of a romantic evening, make sure you both eat it.

Pasta-wise, have you tried Amatriciana with a glass of red? Try this classic here. Or how about Spaghetti alla Norma?

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