‘I tried Nigella Lawson’s 42p Marmite pasta for first time – then she messaged me’

Marmite: you either love it or hate it or so the spread’s advertising campaign famously claims.

Well, the yeast-flavoured food is dividing opinions once again thanks to none other than Nigella Lawson.

The celebrity chef sparked a fiery debate about cooking with Marmite after she incorporated it into a spaghetti recipe.

Originally featured in her 2010 book Kitchen, the now infamous dish has become an internet sensation.

It sparked outrage in 2020 when pasta lovers branded the mix of ingredients “an abomination”, and it is doing the rounds online again – as nobody can quite decide what to think.

Eager to see what all the fuss was about, Mirror journalist Amber O’Connor gave the recipe a try. Here’s what she thought…

Having never tried Marmite before (I know, I’m sorry), I had no idea what to expect from this meal. But knowing its reputation for dividing opinion, I felt a little apprehensive.

Nonetheless, I stocked up on the needed ingredients – a simple task since there were only four – and got to work.

Reading Nigella’s introduction, the unusual-sounding ingredient list started to make sense.

She explains: “I know the combination of pasta and Marmite sounds odd to the point of unfeasibility, but wait a moment, there is a traditional day-after-the-roast pasta dish, in which spaghetti is tossed in stock.”

Her logic continues: “If you think about it, Marmite offers saltiness and savouriness the way a stock cube might.”

It was also reassuring to learn she found the recipe in Anna Del Conte’s memoirs, Risotto with Nettles; after all, the dish now had the backing of two chefs.

At this moment, I paused, deciding to take to Twitter to ask my friends to wish me luck. And I was shocked when Nigella herself responded with a sweet message.

“You don’t need luck, but will gladly wish it anyway!” she wrote.

Taking this as my sign to finally take the plunge, I started on the recipe.

Luckily you don’t need to be a whizz in the kitchen to try it out. After boiling my spaghetti, then combing melted butter, a dollop of Marmite, and a little pasta water, I was done.

This is a no-fuss, quick and easy recipe. You only need two pans, and you could easily suffice with one.

After adding a sprinkling of cheese to my pasta, as recommended, I was ready to tuck in.

And I was amazed. The cheese was an important addition since it added variety, but even without it, I would have enjoyed the dish.

Full of flavour, despite the few ingredients in the sauce, the pasta would work well as a side dish or as a meal on its own.

It was slightly on the salty side, so I’m glad I stuck to the instructions and used unsalted butter, but this did not make it unenjoyable.

In all fairness, I also used more than the recommended amount of Marmite, as per Nigella’s recommendation you can add “more to taste”.

After finishing the small portion I cooked as a tester I was left wishing for more. Luckily, there’s so much Marmite left I reckon I could make the recipe for months to come without needing to buy a new jar.

So I’m pleased to report the taste test was a success. Far from the monstrosity I feared I’d end up with, based on the strong reactions to this recipe, I was pleasantly surprised.

There’s a reason fans trust Nigella, and this no-nonsense recipe proves why. It is simple, tasty, and delivers a meal high in vitamin B.

Moreover, it’s also really cheap to make and your wallet will certainly thank you for it if you decide to give it a go!

Research has recently revealed the meal can be made for as little as 42p per potion when you are cooking for a family of four to six people if you buy your ingredients from Aldi.

The dish can also be made for as little as 51p or 57p per head, if you buy from Tesco or Morrisons, respectively.