Here’s a pasta dish to get your kids eating their vegetables

This recipe is the perfect example of how something so simple can be so delicious

Delicious: Spaghetti aglio e olio with kale and mushrooms

Spaghetti aglio e olio, literally spaghetti with garlic and oil, is such a classic Italian dish from Naples. It’s the perfect example of how something so simple can be so delicious. It’s easy to make and can be adjusted to your personal taste. I love plenty of black pepper and Parmesan, and even some chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Here, I’ve added some greens in the form of kale. You could also add spinach but I love the texture of kale. Thickly sliced mushrooms provide even more flavour and taste good with the garlic. The basic recipe is delicious on its own, but it does have potential for adding your own ingredients. Some cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, finely diced anchovies or black olives all take this in a different direction. It’s a fantastic basic recipe to teach kids when they’re learning to cook.

Plenty of garlic

I use a huge bunch of kale. Kale can often be thought of as a health food that can only be eaten raw or in juices. It tastes amazing here, soaked with this simple sauce of pasta cooking water, good olive oil and plenty of garlic. I always add chilli flakes too.

Use your favourite spaghetti or a thicker, flatter variety of pasta. I usually use the wholemeal organic spaghetti from the Irish company, Bunalun. It does take a little longer to cook than regular spaghetti. Either way, don’t forget to reserve some of the starchy cooking water as it forms the base of this simple, silky sauce.


This dish requires only simple ingredients and it can be made in well under 30 minutes. A good olive oil is key for drizzling over the finished dish. Toonsbridge Dairy sell five-litre bottles of excellent Spanish extra virgin olive oil at its shops and online. I find it so handy to have and perfect for refilling smaller bottles. It has a fresh and fruity flavour without being overpowering.

Recipe: Spaghetti aglio e olio with kale and mushrooms