Have spaghetti sitting in your cupboard? How about dried spices like basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and red pepper? Have honey on hand? A little S&P, olive oil, and garlic? Do you even have tomato paste? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should shell out the less than $5 to get whatever you’re missing and some feta cheese (I’m guessing most people don’t usually have that on hand) and make this dinner. I like to keep things simple on Sunday nights, especially when I have a lot of reading to do and I don’t have as much time as I’d like to dedicate to cooking (that’s what Saturday’s are for). Like many of the other SND’s I’ve made, this is a quick and good meal to make. For my friends still in college (which is many of you), this is the kind of cheap food that you can make quickly and make in a larger quantity to have leftover if you don’t have time to grab a bite to eat between rehearsals. Or if you’re off the mealplan and still want to have something appetizing to eat while at the Marketplace, instead of buying one of their frozen dinners with Flex points.
The part that took the longest with this meal was the spaghetti, pretty much just because I had to wait for the water to boil. This is basically like a light spaghetti meal and the most key ingredient is probably the tomato paste because it coats the noodles well. Use whatever spices you have on hand and enjoy!
Cooking Notes: We apparently don’t have dried basil, so I substituted garlic powder instead because I’m convinced you can never have enough garlic!
Easy Tomato Pasta (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 4)
6 oz. thin spaghetti
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
A pinch of crushed red pepper
A few cranks fresh ground pepper
3 oz. tomato paste
1/2 tsp honey
3 oz. feta cheese
Bring water for pasta to a boil. While waiting, begin tomato sauce in a separate skillet. Combine minced garlic with olive oil, basil, oregano, salt, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper, and cracked black pepper. Heat over a medium flame, stirring until it starts to sizzle. Once it sizzles, continue stirring for about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue to cook and stir until mixture turns a darker shade of red (about 2 more minutes). Turn off heat, then stir in honey.
Keep an eye on water and when it boils, add spaghetti. Cook for 7-10 minutes until tender. Once pasta is ready, drain, but make sure to keep some of the pasta water in case the pasta gets dry when mixing. Add pasta to skillet with tomato sauce and stir to coat. Add pasta water if necessary. Crumble about 2 oz. of feta cheese into skillet and stir to combine. Serve and crumble more feta over top and add a few fresh basil leaves. Eat and enjoy!