pasta pronta

Rocket Spaghetti is my favorite (more than spaghetti carbonara – and for those of you who tried the carbonara recipe I posted, you’ll know that’s saying a lot!)! It’s a spin on Spaghetti Aglio Olio – another extremely simple and classic spaghetti dish.

I first came across this recipe, years ago, watching an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Oliver Twist. In this particular episode, Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo (his mentor) went around London foraging for wild herbs to use in their cooking. Jamie made the dish for Gennaro and boy did he gobble it up! It looked so yummy! I liked the look of the dish so much, I made it for dinner that evening. It was fabulous! I knew on my next visit to Kevin I had to make it for him too. Funny story, I’m pretty sure I drove Kevin mad getting him to take me foraging around Waterford, Ireland. I was convinced I’d find wild rocket (arugula) and make this pasta for him just like Jamie Oliver. Anything and everything was ‘wild rocket’ that day. Of course, I didn’t actually forage anything because let’s be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! HAHA. After a lovely drive along the Irish coast (with many stops – wild herbs everywhere, I swear 😉 ), we ended up buying a bag of rocket in the shops. Thanks for indulging me Kevin! I rewarded his patience with a delicious plate of rocket spaghetti.

arugula ingredients


200g spaghetti
1 bag of baby arugula
1 lemon, zest and juice
4 anchovy filets
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or sliced
a handful of grated parmiggiano reggiano
good extra virgin olive oil
peperoncino (crushed chili flakes)


In a pot of boiling water, add in a generous pinch of salt and your spaghetti. Zest and juice one lemon and set aside.

lemon zest lemon juice lemon zest and juice

Grate a good amount of parmiggiano reggiano (a big handful should do) and set aside. Finely slice or chop 2 cloves of garlic and add it to a cold pan with olive oil. Turn on heat. I like to add the garlic to the cold oil so that it flavors the oil as it heats up. When you see it start to bubble around the edges, add in your anchovy filets. As the anchovy filets heat up they will begin to break apart into the oil. Add in two-thirds of your arugula leaves into the pan.

grating parmiggiano aglio e acciughe add in arugula

The arugula will begin to wilt. Add in your lemon zest, lemon juice and peperoncino.

add in the zest add in the juice add chili flakes

Season with salt and pepper to taste. The sauce is beautifully savory from the garlic and the anchovies and has just the perfect amount of tanginess from the lemon juice. When the pasta is al dente, transfer the spaghetti into your pan. Toss the arugula and spaghetti together. Add in a bit of the pasta cooking liquid if it seems too dry.

mix altogether drain the pasta mix insieme

Place the pasta into each dish. Top with fresh arugula, grated parmiggiano reggiano and a drizzle of really good extra virgin olive oil.

plate arugula pasta top with arugula top with parmiggiano

TA DA! Your dinner is served – all in the time it took to cook the pasta. Jamie Oliver has come out with loads of cooking programs since Oliver’s Twist, but whenever I tell Kevin we’re having ‘Jamie Oliver Pasta’ for dinner, he knows what I’m on about – rocket, garlic, lemon, parmiggiano! Yum!

If you don’t have arugula on hand, you can always make Spaghetti Aglio Olio instead. All you need is Spaghetti, Aglio (garlic) and Olio (oil)!!! I personally like using anchovies in spaghetti aglio olio though, gives it an extra salty kick. To make it even more special add some pan grattato (breadcrumbs) on top for added texture.

I was thinking of joining a MEET UP group that forages in Baltimore. Would be great to discern which wild plants, herbs and mushrooms are edible and where to find them around here. Maybe then I could really make ‘Jamie Oliver Pasta’ alla Oliver Twist. 🙂

Follow me on facebook and twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog. Try this recipe and let me know what you think in the comment section below. Happy Eating!

2 comments on “rocket spaghetti”

  1. Seriously, this dish was so good and easy! Kwang loved it and his exact words were, “So much flavor!” I didn’t have any pepper flakes but it was still good without!

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