Marmite is one of those foods, like oysters, which divides people. You either love it or hate it. There's no middle ground. And just for the record, I loathe oysters. I can't see the point of them at all. But I LOVE Marmite! Always have, always will. I particularly like it on hot, buttered toast (good toast, preferably sourdough or my homemade bread), a thin smear of the shiny brown stuff. It is especially good on toast soldiers, dipped in a soft-boiled egg. My cat Freddy is also rather partial to it; he loves its faux-meaty saltiness and a tiny dob of it on his front paws will keep him quiet for ages.
This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson's new book Kitchen, a fat, well-illustrated tome celebrating homely food. Alongside the pictures of the food, are some rather fetching shots of Herself, in a red silk robe, or her signature little cashmere cardis. I read the recipe and thought "hmmmm", but I was also intrigued, and, having just eaten a plate of Marmite Spaghetti, can heartily recommend it to fellow Marmite fans. It's a great dish for children, being both simple and flavoursome. It could be "jusshed up" for grown ups with some fresh flat-leaf parsley, a handful of toasted pinenuts and freshly ground black pepper. Oh, and fresh parmesan is a must. I enjoyed my plate of Marmite Spaghetti so much, I was tempted to go back to the kitchen and cook another batch, but I have resisted. I would love to serve this as a starter at a dinner party and see what people make of it, without revealing the key ingredient. Supper guests, you have been warned......!!!
Serves 4 children
Approx 1 tsp butter, or more to taste
Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling water. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the Marmite. Just before the spaghetti is done, take a couple of tbsps of the cooking water and add it to the Marmite/butter mixture. The starch in the water will thicken the sauce slightly. Drain the pasta and mix in the Marmite sauce. Serve with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan and black pepper. Eat.