‘Midnight spaghetti’ | Recetas El Comidista EL PAÍS

When Los Rebeldes sang back in 1988 “Mediterranean, heat route, Mediterranean, to the temple of the sun, Mediterranean, nights of light and color”, they were surely thinking of the summer nights on the east and south coast of our country. However, it also comes in handy to introduce a recipe that was a banner of the summer nights of the 80s on the other side of the Mediterranean: on the Italian coast.

I’m talking about the midnight spaghetti, a pasta dish that Italians prepared – and be careful, because it is returning to the fashion among millenials– in those summer days when the sand stuck to their feet and between beer, music, friends and who knows if some furtive love of those that you no longer see in September, they were asked the many on the beach and when they returned home they were asked a question: what is there for dinner? Well, let’s not forget that we are talking about the country in which pasta is more important than the President of the Republic, so yes: it plays pasta and, this time, spaghetti. Italians – and with good reason – do not have much qualms about consuming it at night, of course, thinking about digestion they developed a more or less light recipe, with few ingredients and easily located in their pantries: oil, garlic and chilli. Come on, what they would call a garlic, oil and hot pepper.

Although this staple of Italian cuisine is spread throughout the country today and it is not easy to trace its origin, several Italian portals point out that we owe it to Naples. So that any Italian who is reading this recipe does not make me angry, we will say that today this dish is Italian from north to south. On this occasion, we take the recipe to a slightly higher point of sophistication by accompanying the garlic and chilli with other aromatic herbs such as parsley, basil, rosemary and sage, and we will use a little butter at the end to obtain a greater creaminess . If you are looking for a lighter recipe, you can do without the dairy touch, but I do not recommend it.

Midnight It’s the Italian word for midnight, so the name of this recipe doesn’t really speak much about its ingredients. Although the eighties tradition advocates the recipe that I am going to share with you, infinite variations can be made. You can enrich the recipe by adding some Cherry tomatoes -tomatitos-, some anchovies or some olives; you can use your imagination, but remember: the virtue of midnight It lies in the garlic and the chilli, but above all in its simplicity and speed, that is, if you make a Bolognese ragout or a carbonara you can no longer call them midnight, no matter how late you eat them.

If something accompanies a summer night more than a good plate of pasta, it is undoubtedly music. I have prepared a playlist for you with a few Italian songs from yesterday and today, which you can listen to while preparing the recipe that I leave you below.


Deciding to leave the beach, which always costs a bit.


For 4 people

  • 350 g of spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 branch of parsley
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 1 branch of rosemary
  • Sage (preferably branch, but can be dehydrated)
  • 1 clove of garlic (or to taste)
  • 30g butter
  • 1 peppermint (or any dry hot pepper)
  • Shall


  1. Cut the parsley and reserve. Put enough water in a pot and bring it to a boil. When it has boiled, add salt, put the spaghetti and cook one minute less than what the manufacturer indicates, stirring from time to time so that they do not stick together or to the pot itself.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in the pan and brown the garlic and chili pepper, which can be cut into thin slices or minced (to taste). Cook for a minute and add the sage and rosemary. Cook one more minute, stirring constantly. Finally, add the basil cut into small pieces with your hands and cook for one more minute.
  3. If the spaghetti is not ready yet, remove the pan, turn off the heat and reserve, returning it to the heat when we are going to strain them. Drain them – reserving a little of the cooking water itself – and pour them into the pan, integrating them well with our garlic sauce, aromatic herbs, oil and peppercorns.
  4. Add the cooking water and stir for one more minute. After that time, remove the pan from the heat, add the cold butter -directly from the fridge- and stir again until the pasta is well impregnated and a thick cream is formed. Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve as hot as possible.

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