Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Simple Spaghetti

Pasta is the staple of many British students, here I'm going to show you how I take it up a notch, for only a few pennies extra.

I bought a jar of 'Tomato and Spicy Pepper' pasta sauce, for under 50p in Aldi. To make it more interesting, I added some pitted black olives, which I chopped up to make them go further. 

Another way of saving money - by not wasting food which you have bought and cooked - is to know the right portion size for you. If you're a rugby player or a serious swimmer, you'll need more spaghetti than I do....personally squeezing an amount around the width of a 10p or 50p coin is plenty for me. These two 'portions' here are enough for two fairly big meals for my healthy appetite.
I always snap the pasta in half so that it completely fits in the pan and therefore cooks at the same rate. (A few years ago, I used to slowly edge it into the boiling water as the bottom half cooked, this is a bit of a time waster.)

As the sauce heated through, I kept testing the spaghetti to see when it was 'al dente' and time to turn off the heat (when it still has a bit of a bite to it). At this point I put about 125g of washed baby spinach over the simmering sauce and covered it with a lid. This steams, and cooks, the spinach just enough to keep a 'fresh leaf' flavour when it is plated up.

 Another habit that I have is draining pasta over the plate which I'll be eating from, this heats the plate very quickly, and means that your dinner will stay warmer for longer :) just be careful not to pour all of the water on to it...and remember to drain and dry your plate too! I have forgotten a couple of times :S

I then tip the drained pasta back in the pan, season with salt and pepper and grate some cheddar on to it. Most of the time when I put cheese on top of a finished pasta dish, it melts away and loses a lot of the flavour and texture. Mixing it into the pasta first means that the hot sauce won't ruin it at all really! 

There you have it :) a simple mid-week dinner, which is taken up a notch with tangy oily olives, a calcium and vitamin boost from the spinach, and hopefully your purse will be happy too, at around £1.33 per portion.


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