I know, I know…pasta is harder to come by right now than an invite to a dinner party at the Hemsworth’s. But, when you can get your paws on the stuff, even the shittest of cooks (me) can make some half decent, restaurant-worthy pasta dishes on a budget.

For some reason I’ve been loving pasta dishes more than ever right now. I think it’s life inside and the pending autumn season (in Australia!) that are making me want to get all cosy under blankets and carb up to fill my soul.

Here are my 6 favourite cheap, delicious and easy pasta dishes to fancy up your isolation dinners:

1. Cacio e Pepe

The absolute easiest EVER. Cook pasta according to packet instructions, and reserve a little pasta water. Meanwhile, heat a knob of butter in a pan, and add a generous amount of black pepper.

Add a splash of pasta water to the butter and pepper mix, and add the cooked pasta and a big handful of finely grated pecorino cheese.

Stir until melted, add more black pepper and dive in.

2. Carbonara

My ultimate fave pasta is traditional carbonara – not the modernised one with cream and other unnecessary add-ons. Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, mix an egg and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese in a mug.

Optional: fry a rasher of streaky bacon in small pieces, and add to the egg mixture when ready.

When the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat, drain, and add to a hot pain – with no heat underneath. Toss through the egg mixture through the hot pasta, keeping it moving to stop it from scrambling. Once combined, remove from heat, season with salt and lots of pepper, and scoff. 

3. Kale Pesto (+ optional chorizo)

Great for getting in some greens (which let’s face it ain’t easy in iso). Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, boil a pan of water and blanch a handful of kale leaves for a few minutes. Remove from water and add into a food processor or blender. Add olive oil, a handful of parmesan, salt, pepper and a glug of olive oil and blend until a pesto-y consistency.

Optional: fry off small chunks of chorizo in a pan.

Drain pasta, reserving a little pasta water. Add cooked pasta to the kale pesto mixture, and loosen with pasta water if necessary. Add chorizo if ya like, season, and get stuck in.

4. Mushroom and parmesan

Cook pasta according to packet instructions.

Meanwhile, add a knob of butter or glug of olive oil into a pan, and heat. Add black pepper, a crushed clove or two of garlic, and sliced mushrooms of your choice. Mix through cooked pasta and add parmesan until lightly melted.

Serve with parsley for extra chef points. 

5. Spicy tomato and basil

Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, throw a tin of crushed tomatoes, a good squeeze of tomato purée and 2 cloves of garlic into a pan, and mix over a medium heat. Add a generous glug of olive oil for depth, and stir through. Add a good shake of dried oregano, and as many chilli flakes as you like. To balance, add a glug of red wine or balsamic vinegar. 

Optional: to make it creamy, stir through a spoonful of cream cheese just before serving.

Simmer the sauce until it’s your desired thickness, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. 

Add pasta, and serve with basil and fresh chilli. Optional: sprinkle with parmesan or pecorino.

6. Blue cheese

This is purely made up by me but if you’re into blue cheese, it’s delish. Cook pasta according to packet instructions. 

Meanwhile, heat a little butter and add salt and pepper. 

Add the pasta once cooked, stir through crumbled blue cheese, and serve with parsley to accentuate the sharpness of the blue. *chefs kiss*


Try these Cheap and Easy Pasta Recipes

6 Cheap and Easy Pasta Recipies