Pasta is quite possibly the best food for making cheap meals. For less than $2, you can buy a pound of pasta. (If you hit a supermarket sale right, you might spend as little as 79 cents.) Since two ounces of pasta is a serving size, you'll get four meals for two out of the deal.
Not to get all healthy on you, but if you haven't made the switch yet, it's time to start buying whole-wheat pasta. The thought of it might make you gag, but it's actually good! Quite honestly, once you put a full-flavor sauce on it, you can't taste the difference anyway. And you'll get a couple more grams of fiber per serving if you make the switch. (If you need some good-tasting suggestions, check out the winners of EatingWell's whole-wheat pasta challenge taste test.)
Even though heating up a jar of marinara sauce is convenient, why not make a fresh, healthy and more delicious pasta recipe? Here are three yummy dinners to try:
1. Penne with Vodka Sauce & Capicola is one of my go-to recipes. The velvety tomato sauce is spiked with cubes of salty capicola and a few shots of vodka.
12 ounces whole-wheat penne
1 2-ounce piece capicola or pancetta, finely diced (see Shopping Tip, below)
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup vodka
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook penne until just tender, 12 minutes or according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, cook capicola (or pancetta) in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
3. Return the saucepan to medium-low heat; add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 1 minute. Increase heat to high; add vodka and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce and crushed red pepper to taste; reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.
4. Drain the pasta; serve topped with the sauce and sprinkled with the capicola (or pancetta), basil and pepper.
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 311 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 9 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrate; 12 g protein; 7 g fiber; 324 mg sodium; 517 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (25% daily value), Iron, Magnesium & Vitamin A (20% dv).
Shopping Tip: Capicola and pancetta can be found in the deli section of most large supermarkets. Buy one thick piece for this recipe.
2. Ultra-creamy No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese is not only nearly as fast as the boxed variety, but you will be able to pronounce every ingredient. If you aren't a broccoli fan substitute a frozen vegetable of your choice.
3. Turkey Sausage & Arugula Pasta pairs spicy Italian turkey sausage with peppery arugula and sweet cherry tomatoes for a truly delicious dish.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
Related Links from EatingWell:
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