Cheap Dinner Recipes For Concerned Budget Bashers

These scrumptious cheap dinner recipes are authentic Italian pasta dishes, which means their main ingredient is cheap to buy and they are super-quick to prepare - a double whammy of convenience you might say.

1. Breakfast Pasta (serves 4)

This cost-effective, runny-eggy delight is the cheap dinner recipe you wish you had known at college.

- Boil a deep pan of water, throwing in a handful of salt (to bring out the taste of the pasta)

- Check your pasta's cooking time and throw 400g/14oz of this into the pan. Stir.

- When your pasta has 5 mins left to cook, melt 50g (a medium knob) of butter in a frying pan (use a medium heat so it does not burn)

- Pasta done? Drain it, pop it in a large mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter.

- Drop this slippery mixture into 4 serving dishes and pop a fried egg on top of each. Delicious.

2. Pasta fagioli (bean pasta) (serves 4)

This vegetarian broth-like winner is a real steal, because there is no expensive involved. It also makes a great winter warmer, now the weather is beginning to turn.

-Put a big splash of olive oil into a deep pan/skillet, along with 2 whole garlic cloves (peeled and ended). (If you do love your meat and have bacon in the fridge, chop a little and throw it in now).

- When the garlic browns, drop in 4 plum tomatoes (from a single 400g/14oz can).

- After a couple of minutes, the toms should be softer, so break these into bits with a spoon and give it a good stir.

- Throw in two 400g/14oz cans of white cannellini beans (in water). Add a good pinch of salt and crank up the heat to medium/high, so that everything simmers lightly.

- Let the beans cook for a couple of minutes, before throwing in 320g/11.2oz of your favourite short pasta.

Note: The final consistency of this cheap dinner recipe should be 'creamy'. If it becomes creamy before the pasta is cooked however (test it to see), just pour in a cup more boiling water and keep stirring.

3. Bacon and cream penne (serves 4)

The last of our cheap dinner recipes requires a mere 6 ingredients and is done and dusted in only 4 steps.

- Boil a couple of kettles of water and get this boiling in a large deep pan on a high heat hob.

Stir in 2 handfuls of salt and drop in 400g/14oz of penne pasta. If you can, set a timer as per your pasta packet's instructions (penne typically takes 8-10 minutes).

- Melt 25g/.8oz of butter in a frying pan. When melted, throw in 100g/3.5oz of pancetta (belly) bacon or chopped bacon bits. Cook until slightly crisp and browned (usually 4-5 minutes).

- When the bacon is brown, pour over a quarter litre (250ml/8.5fl oz) of full-fat single cream. Mix gently and heat through for 2 mins on the same medium heat hob.

- When the pasta is ready, drain it and throw this in the frying pan along with 50g/1.75oz of grated Parmesan cheese. Mix this all through for a minute or two, then serve.

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About The Author,
Matt Wade is the creator of - a site packed with clearly-explained cooking guides, pasta information and more. Matt is also the creator of Pastastic!, the world's first digital newsletter for pasta obsessives, and he highly recommends making fresh pasta whenever possible.