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3 min read | Written by Wez Thistlethwaite

There’s corona virus mayhem in the outside world, but how can you make your home a gastronomic paradise whilst the apocalypse ensues?

Now we are locked down here is a pandemic plate that can be made from long life store cupboard staples and perishables that are delicious to eat even after a few weeks.

Pasta al’arrabiata

This dish seems suspiciously easy with simple ingredients, but believe me, it takes practice to get the balance and nuance correct. However we are all on lockdown for at least the next 3 weeks, so you have time!

• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 tsp Chili Flakes
• 3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
• 400g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
• 200g Penne Pasta (Or whatever you have in)
• Red Wine Vinegar to taste

1. Heat pan to a medium heat and add a good slug of extra virgin olive oil. The oil should not be smoking or sizzling. Add garlic and chilli and stir while they infuse until the garlic is just colouring. Whatever you do, do not let the garlic burn.
2. Add tinned tomatoes to the pan and stir. Increase heat to medium high. Add the pasta to boiling salted water. Once the pasta is cooked (approx 10 mins) the sauce should be well reduced. If the sauce is looking very dry add a tsp of the salted pasta water.
3. Add red wine vinegar to sauce to taste.
4. Drain pasta and add it to the sauce. Stir until well coated.
5. You could add in torn basil, parmesan or peccorino cheese at this stage if you wanted.
6. Dish up and add an extra drizzle of the oil.

Top Tips

  • Salt the pasta water until you can taste the salt
  • Don’t over cook the pasta – It must have a bite
  • Keep adding the red wine vinegar in small amounts until it tastes like your tomatoes zing.

I would love to see any of your creations made from things in your cupboard so feel free to tag @contactmcr in any of your pictures – contactmcr on all socials.

I will be back with another tasty, pandemic plate later in the week so see you soon!


We are all going through a trying time right now as we face the COVID-19 virus and to reflect these changing times and embrace the Contact philosophy of providing comfort, support and a safe space to be heard – it is important for us to share wisdom, stories and general daily boosts of positivity to get us and our followers through these challenging times.

We are aiming to release a collection of blogs from various Contact staff and advocates over the next few weeks, so please keep an eye on here and our social media channels.

Thank you for reading and keep on keeping on.

Enjoying our pandemic blog series? Read more blogs from our staff here.