It’s a funny old night, New Year’s Eve. I know a lot of people hate it, but I’ve always loved a New Year’s Eve party. The excuse to wear too many sequins, the fizz, the food that’s still festive but somehow distinct from Christmas fare, that moment when someone is grappling for the remote at 23:59 to get the countdown on the telly while drunken chaos reigns around them. It’s proved somewhat harder to get excited about this year, possibly because my plans have changed about 75 times, pivoting every time another friend messages with a resigned “man down” accompanied by a picture of a positive lateral flow.
This year, I find I’m far more interested in marking January 1 than going all out the night before. The idea of newness is so enticing; I’m genuinely thrilled by the idea of going for a swim, taking the Christmas decorations down, making a batch of soup, starting again. When it comes to it, though, I know I don’t really want to just let it drift by. I’m going to want to make something of tonight, and perhaps you do too, whether you’ve got a houseful or are merely having dinner and a glass of something and turning in before Big Ben chimes.
On nights like this, I like to turn to a dinner that feels simple and elegant, the kind of dish you’d never make on an average Friday night but feels perfect for New Year’s Eve. Something like this truffle butter pasta. You’ll brown some butter and leave it to infuse with black truffle. Then you’ll make it into a kind of cacio e pepe sauce with plenty of Parmesan and black pepper, letting it all emulsify with a little hot cooking water. It would make a lovely starter if you’re feeding a crowd and just want to give everyone a little portion before the main event. And if it’s just you on the sofa, what could be a more glorious bowlful to see out the year with?