Here’s another under $5.00 recipe from my Bargain Meal of the Week: I came inside from working in the yard and Giada was cooking up a Campanella Pasta Salad on Food Network. With temperatures here in the twin cities running in the 70′s and 80′s this week, it looks refreshing and I think I can make it fit the budget – my cheaper version is $3.15.
Every once in a while, when I play with a recipe, I wonder what a recipe might taste like if made with the exact ingredients the Chef used…this is one of those times. I am somewhat mollified by the fact that this recipe cost SO little. Here’s my budget version:
Recipe: Pasta with Tuna and Tomatoes: 6 servings/$3.15
- 1 pound pasta (free)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1/4 cup (15 cents)
- 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped (15 cents)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (5 cents)
- 1 (6-ounce) can tuna (78 cents)
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved ($2.00)
- 3/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
In a 14-inch skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the cherry tomatoes and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the pasta, the tuna and the parsley. Toss until all the ingredients are coated, adding a little pasta water, if needed, to thicken the sauce. It should be creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.
Money and Time Saving Strategies:
For pricing, remember to use your coupon matching sites for your local stores. My favorite is Pocket Your Dollars in my area, but every store has a group of enthusiastic couponers who can point you to the best bargains. Don’t be discouraged if your prices are higher at first – just keep shopping the best sales and follow the strategies and you’ll get there! Check under Saving on Basic Ingredients for more detailed information and storage hints – use <control f> to search each page to bring you to the item you want to check out.
See the hyperlinks for discussions on individual ingredients and how I bought them at this cost. This is an extremely quick recipe, start the pasta water and while that is going, complete the sauce.
Per Serving: 414 Calories; 11g Fat (23.3% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 61g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 9mg Cholesterol; 108mg Sodium. Exchanges: 4 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 2 Fat.
Put your own spin on it:
- I eliminated the capers from the recipe due to cost, but I’ve made similar recipes that have called for a bit of lemon; the acidity would help brighten the dish.
- I’ve also made similar recipes with no tuna fish – if you use a higher protein pasta you could certainly make without.
- I would imagine if the tomatoes are not good, this could be made with a quality canned tomato, and might even lower the cost a bit – but sometimes the simplest dishes rely on the highest quality ingredients you can afford; the more complex the ingredient list, the more you can “cheat” it a bit..
My Payoff : An extremely quick, easy and simple dish.
Pasta with Tuna and Tomatoes made October 2011