London coronavirus: We tried Jamie Oliver’s one ingredient isolation pasta recipe and this is how it went


One of everyone’s biggest fears right now is running out of food.

Shelves remain scarily empty, and food delivery slots are like gold dust, but thanks to trusty old Jamie Oliver we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

He’s got a new TV series out, Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On, that offers viewers flexible recipes that utilise the freezer and store cupboard ingredients, tailored to keeping us fed during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of his new dishes is a one ingredient recipe for pasta. Sounds too good to be true right?

MyLondon reporter and keen cook Ellie McKinnell tried out the recipe to see if it really worked.

You start by mixing together flour and water in a bowl (so technically it’s two ingredients) – until it forms a soft but not too sticky dough, something that is kind of just a guessing game the first time round.

I’d recommend about two tablespoons of plain flour per person (although if you’re fancy enough to have strong white bread flour it would probably be better) with about three or four tablespoons of water.

If it is a bit sticky have no fear, just add a bit more flour, and if too floury add a splash of water. It’s surprisingly easy.

You mix it with a fork until it’s got a dough-like consistency, then turn it out on a floured surface to roll out – this is where things get tricky.



The dough was pretty easy to make – you just had to be careful it wasn’t too sticky

The surface has to be very well floured and you will definitely have a few attempts before getting it to stop sticking to either the counter or rolling pin.

The idea is you roll it out until about the thickness of normal fresh pasta – you’re aiming for it to look like tagliatelle – but this is harder to achieve than you think, especially when you’re trying to get it even all over.

Once the dough is rolled, it’s time to cut into half a centimetre thick pieces of pasta. It’s a bit sticky, but keep adding flour and hopefully that should fix it.

Now for the hardest bit – getting the pasta from the counter to a pan of water.

The recipe instructs you to toss the pasta gently, making sure it’s coated well in a bit of flour to stop the pasta sticking together when cooking.

Now, unless you are an expert pasta chef you will not be able to do this successfully.



Seconds later the carefully cut strands were ruined

Just peeling the thin pasta strands up from the counter was hard enough – most of them broke or got stuck – so there was no way I was tossing any of the precious strands that had been successfully removed.

I dumped them in a pan of boiling water for 60 seconds, and drained the most unappetising pasta I’d seen in my life.

The strands were obviously somehow way too thick, and the texture was really slimy. In all honesty it reminded me of jellied eels.

Still, I psyched myself up and put a forkful in my mouth. Italians will be furious to hear it, but it tasted pretty good.

I got other family members to try it out with mixed responses – my mum said it was fine but that ‘she could see how bread and pasta were made from the same ingredients’ while my fiance said it was some of the best homemade pasta he’d ever had and couldn’t believe it was just flour and water.



Trust me when I say, it tastes better than it looks

I think that if you made the pasta and added a flavoursome sauce, and some meat and veg no one would be any the wiser that you made it yourself.

Overall shop bought pasta is probably better – and easier – than this homemade recipe, but if you are onto your last bag of penne this will definitely tide you over until you can next get your hands on some.

Do you have any other handy kitchen hacks you’ve come up with during lockdown? If so, get in touch by emailing ellie.mckinnell@reachplc.com





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