10 Cheap Pasta Recipes

Karen Frazier
pasta and tomatoes

Pasta recipes are great for tight budgets. Pasta itself is quite inexpensive, and you can combine it with multiple ingredients to create affordable meals. The following recipes are perfect for tight budgets.

Angel Hair With Sage Brown Butter Sauce

This simple pasta has a nutty flavor due to the butter. It only uses a few, affordable ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained with 1/4 cup of pasta water reserved
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 12 whole fresh sage leaves
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water before draining the pasta.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
  3. Add sage leaves.
  4. Swirling the pan occasionally, allow butter to cook until it begins to brown and sage softens. You can see this best if you use a light-colored pan.
  5. Add reserved pasta water and boil for one minute.
  6. Add pasta and toss to combine.
  7. Before serving, toss with black pepper and grated cheese.

Pasta Puttanesca

pasta puttanesca

Puttanesca uses affordable ingredients such as olives to create a deeply flavorful sauce.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) chopped tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup black or green olives, halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped anchovy filets
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pound penne pasta, cooked and drained

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  2. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about five to six minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until tomato paste begins to brown, about three to four minutes.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and juice, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add olives, capers, anchovies, basil, and red pepper.
  7. Simmer sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and reduces, about 45 minutes. Season to taste.
  8. Toss with hot, cooked penne.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

This recipe uses affordable ingredients like frozen spinach and cottage cheese. The sauce is a creamy, milk-based white sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 box (16 ounces) lasagna noodles, boiled, drained, and cooled
  • 1 box frozen spinach, thawed, chopped, and drained
  • 1 jar (about 6 ounces) premade pesto
  • 1 container (16 ounces) small curd cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions and drain them.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, pesto, cottage cheese, and eggs until well combined.
  4. Stir in Parmesan and mozzarella.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat until it bubbles.
  6. Add shallot and cook until it softens, about three minutes.
  7. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it loses its raw scent, about two minutes.
  9. Stirring constantly, add milk, salt, and nutmeg.
  10. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  11. To assemble the lasagna roll ups, spread half the sauce in the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.
  12. Spread cooked noodles with spinach and cheese mixture, and then roll into a roll.
  13. Place in pan on top of sauce.
  14. Top with remaining sauce.
  15. Bake, uncovered, until heated through, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Farfalle With Peas and Bacon

farfalle with peas

This simple recipe uses affordable ingredients like frozen peas and bacon. You can use an affordable dry white wine for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound farfalle (bow tie) pasta, cooked and drained
  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about five minutes.
  3. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
  4. Add onion and cook until it softens and begins to brown, about five minutes.
  5. Add garlic and cook until it is fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with the side of your spoon.
  7. Add chicken broth, peas, and red pepper flakes.
  8. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about nine minutes.
  9. Toss bow tie pasta with sauce, reserved bacon, and cheese.

Baked Pizza Pasta

This pasta is easy to make, and it uses affordable ingredients such as sliced pepperoni and premade tomato sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) rotini pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups pre-made spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces sliced pepperoni

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown sausage in a large sauté pan, crumbling as it cooks.
  3. Add onion and cook until it is translucent, about four minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in spaghetti sauce, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with the side of your spoon.
  6. Stir in red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
  7. Toss meat sauce with pasta and place in a 9 x 13" baking pan.
  8. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the pasta.
  9. Arrange slices of pepperoni on top of the cheese.
  10. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Fettuccine With Italian Sausage and Kale

This simple recipe uses only a few affordable ingredients to make a delicious and healthy pasta dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of kale, stems and ribs removed, washed, drained, and chopped
  • 1 pound Fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When water boils, add kale and blanch for five minutes.
  2. Remove kale from water with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.
  3. Add the Fettuccine to the water in which you blanched the kale and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat oil until it shimmers.
  5. Add Italian sausage and cook until it is well browned, crumbling as you cook.
  6. Add cooked kale and cook, stirring frequently, until kale is tender, about five minutes.
  7. Add chicken broth, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with the side of a spoon.
  8. Add pasta and toss to combine.
  9. Toss with Parmesan cheese and season with black pepper to taste just before serving.

Italian Lentil, Mushroom, and Pasta Soup

Soup is always affordable because it stretches ingredients. This soup has a deep mushroom flavor from the dried porcini mushrooms. You can find dried porcini in the mushroom section of your grocer.

Ingredients

  • 1 package dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 cups hot chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup affordable red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 ounces dried lentils
  • 4 ounces vermicelli, broken into pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pour hot chicken broth over porcini, submerging the mushrooms completely.
  2. Allow mushrooms to soften in hot stock, about 30 minutes.
  3. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  4. Add onion and carrots and cook until vegetables soften and begin to brown, about five to six minutes.
  5. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add red wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with the side of the spoon.
  7. Add thyme, bay leaf, lentils, and mushrooms with broth.
  8. Simmer over medium heat until lentils soften, 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Add vermicelli and cook until it softens, just a few minutes more.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spaghetti Torte

If you have leftover spaghetti noodles, this is a great way to use them. All of the ingredients are affordable, and the recipe is quite easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, cut into quarters

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a nine inch spring form pan with cooking spray on the bottom and sides.
  3. Combine parmesan, ricotta, Italian seasoning, and eggs in a large bowl.
  4. Stir in spaghetti.
  5. Press half of the spaghetti into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon dried basil, half the tomatoes, and half of the mozzarella.
  7. Top with remaining spaghetti mixture.
  8. On top of spaghetti, sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon dried basil, tomatoes, and the remaining mozzarella.
  9. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, until heated through, 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to stand on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
  11. Carefully release the sides of the spring form pan.
  12. Cut torte into wedges and serve.

Mushroom Orzotto

Mushroom orzo

This affordable recipe is a pasta version of risotto, using orzo in place of the rice. Because it is meatless, it uses relatively inexpensive ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1 package dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, pour hot stock over dried porcini mushroom and soak until mushrooms are soft, about 30 minutes.
  2. When you're ready to start cooking, put saucepan with the soaked mushrooms and broth on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer so you can have hot stock to add to the pan throughout the recipe.
  3. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  4. Add onions and mushrooms to the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften and begin to brown, six to seven minutes.
  5. Add orzo and cook, stirring constantly, for three minutes.
  6. Add wine and thyme, and use the side of the spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add 1/2 cup of hot broth to pot and cook, stirring constantly, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  8. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time while stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed. In all, cooking should take about 15 minutes.
  9. Stir in heavy cream and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pasta Breakfast Skillet

Use leftover pasta (any type) from the night before in this affordable and easy to make breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups leftover cooked pasta
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.
  2. Add onion to pan and cook until it softens, about four minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
  5. Stir in cheese and pasta, coating pasta with egg mixture.
  6. Remove bacon and vegetables from hot fat and mix in with pasta mixture.
  7. Place pasta mixture in the bacon fat in the pan.
  8. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture is golden on both sides, flipping after about four to five minutes.

Affordable Delicious Pasta

All of the above pasta recipes are affordable and flavorful. Most can be made quickly for a weeknight meal. So, if you are on a tight budget, pasta is always a great way to stretch your dollars.

10 Cheap Pasta Recipes