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Cooking for an entire flat or just yourself? Payday or is your card declining? Love to cook or loathe it? Just make sure you have that cheap, versatile pasta in your cupboard. I have two recipes this week, which can be served with pride to your flatmates or could just as easily be eaten in bed with a good book on a cold night.
Quick Tomato Pasta
This is easily one of the nicest things you can do with those cheap tins of tomatoes!
3 tablespoons olive oil (don’t substitute cooking oil if you don’t have olive oil, use butter instead)
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 tin of plain chopped tomatoes
1⁄2 cup vegetable/chicken stock
400-500g pasta (linguine, spaghetti or penne are good here)
Heat the oil and gently fry the garlic on a low heat. Add the tomatoes and stock and turn up the heat, stirring well. Let it simmer until the sauce is reduced somewhat. It may look rather lumpy and oily, which doesn’t sound appetising at all but trust me, it will come together. Taste for seasoning and take off the heat. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until edible; drain, and throw the lot into the sauce, stirring well to coat the pasta. Serve immediately to four. This can easily be downsized for one or two people.
Sunday Night Pasta
This is simple, fast, comforting and, most importantly, delicious. The ingredients may not look like much, but try it on a cold Sunday night when you are hungover (or not looking forward to the week ahead) and you will find that the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
30g butter (or thereabouts)
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1⁄2 chicken stock cube or 1 teaspoon chicken stock
4 tablespoons cream
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. In another pot, melt the butter over a low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and let the cream bubble for a bit before taking the sauce off the heat. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce. Taste to see if you want more cream, stock, or garlic (this is obviously not a cutthroat recipe; add more of anything if you want). This serves one, although for two people just use 200g pasta and increase sauce ingredients as you see fit. It would also be fab with cubes of fried bacon stirred through, although that would take it far out of the realms of ‘cheap.’I now bring you the bargain food tip of the week: New World Metro, although not renowned for cheap produce, almost always stocks great $5 double packs of fresh sausages which are due to go off. Either cook them that night or freeze, and it should all be kosher!