Move over Italy! The United States now eats more pasta than any other country in the world. And good news: It’s a long-standing favorite for budget cooks! This versatile pantry staple is a must to have at the ready for a quick weeknight dinner (which will often make for a great next-day lunch). Pasta is also a fantastic way to stretch a small amount of uneaten protein from earlier in the week or to use up whatever veggies are remaining in your crisper drawer (like my aptly-named Crisper Drawer Pasta featured in my cookbook).
And, remember, just because dried pasta is inexpensive doesn’t mean that the meal itself can’t be special. Since you’re saving on the bulk of food on your plate, you can afford to splurge on the accessories.
Also, whole-grain and protein-rich pasta (like in recipe #2)only costs a bit more than regular pasta, but it’s worth the splurge (usually $1 more than regular, although there’s usually at least one brand on sale) because the money I save by not making meat the primary protein of the meal more than makes up for the extra cost of the pasta. It makes me happy when I know that even a simple bowl of pasta is delivering lots of fiber and protein to my family.
Here are my Top 5 Pasta Recipes based on ratings from FoodNetwork.com. Enjoy!
*Bonus tip: If you think shrimp is out of your price range, it’s true only if you don’t take advantage of the mega sales at your supermarket’s fish counter. Fresh medium unpeeled shrimp go on sale often because they are so perishable. Not only is buying shell-on shrimp cheaper, but the shells are a bonus ingredient because you can use them to make a wonderfully rich and flavorful shrimp broth that gives this scampi its edge.
Get these recipes and more on my Pasta Recipes Pinterest board.