This is a one-pot-wonder! A very simple pasta recipe which leaves you with very little washing up – winner.
The cost was approximately £1.50 for four portions – dinner for two plus leftovers for lunch. I have just eaten my leftovers outside in the sunshine, which is the first time I have eaten al fresco this year – always an significant occasion I feel!
One of the things I have been struggling with since stripping down my utensils to (more than) the bare minimum is only having one saucepan. Since starting the Basic Kitchen project I have struggled with anything which is served with pasta or rice. When I made veggie chilli I had to make the chilli, put it to one side, wash the pan and then cook the rice. When I made the delicious spicy stew I was too tired and hungry to spend time washing the pot and cooking rice so we dipped bread in it instead. This is an important point. I was clear at the outset of this little project that I am coming at this from a position of privilege – I do have money, I work part time so I do have time and usually energy, I love cooking and don’t consider it a chore. If it is difficult for me to cook with only one pan how much more so for someone who, for example, is working long hours for little pay or who is a carer?
So, discovering that pasta can be cooked this way was a revelation. I also think that the pasta is tastier because it absorbs the stock and tomato.
One of the nice things about this recipe is that it can be almost infinitely varied, so it is great for using up things which you have in the fridge. For this meal I used a base of bacon, onion and mushroom, but the recipe which gave me the inspiration used veggie sausages, sundried tomatoes, spinach and soy cream.
Have a go! Experiment! I would love to know what variations you make.
- One onion
- A clove (or two) of garlic
- 125g Cooking Bacon (see note below)
- About 5 mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
- Black pepper
- Tin of tomatoes
- 1/2 pint vegetable or chicken stock (note, if you are not adding a tin of tomatoes you will need more liquid)
- 4 cups of wholewheat pasta
Fry the onion, garlic and bacon in a little oil and black pepper; when cooking with bacon you only need minimal oil because the bacon fat will melt. After a few minutes add the mushrooms, chilli and mixed herbs.
Boil the kettle to make the stock (I had to guess the amount because I don’t currently have a measuring jug – all part of the fun of the Basic Kitchen project!). Add the pasta, tinned tomatoes and stock to the pan and give everything a good stir. Cook on a low heat with a lid on the pan for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. You may find that you need to add a little more boiling water if the sauce begins to dry out. Test the pasta to see if it is how you like it (I like mine to still have a bit of ‘bite’) and taste the sauce. Add further seasoning if necessary.
Serve with some cheese on top.
- One onion – £0.09
- A clove (or two) of garlic – £0.05
- Bacon – £0.15 (see below note)
- About 5 mushrooms – £0.47
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs – £0.01
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes – £0.01
- Tin of tomatoes – £0.40
- Stock cube – £0.04
- 4 cups of wholewheat pasta – £0.29
Total cost = £1.51 – pretty good for four servings!
A note on bacon. By far the most cost effective way to buy bacon is to get what I call the ‘scrag ends’ – the bits which the butcher ends up with when he has cut all the perfect shaped rashers. I usually try to get this at the butchers because it is a cheap way to get high quality meat, however, I did my shopping in Tesco this week so the bacon was seriously cheap but not ‘butchers quality’. Buying bacon in this way is always a bit of a surprise – sometimes you get tiny offcuts, other times thick pieces which are almost gammon steaks. This packet contained three gammon steaks – so guess what we will be having for supper later in the week! So, all in all, 60p well spent!