Spaghetti with Beef & Tomato Pasta Sauce – 29p a portion

Jul 18, 2013 | 4 comments


I was inspired yesterday by Jack Monroe’s ingenious use of fish paste to make a pasta sauce, it isn’t an ingredient I have ever given a passing thought to and had a look on to see what other varieties were available. At that price there were several kinds, enough to give variety

I wanted to try and make a beef and tomato pasta sauce using one. I don’t have an Asda near me, and driving a 34 mile round trip to pick up a pot of paste probably isn’t a very frugal idea! So I popped up to my local Spar shop and the only thing they had was a pot of beef paste for 50p, that will do I thought and carried one off home to play with.

Shippams Beef PasteBearing in mind I wanted to include this meal in a 7 day plan, so anything I added would need to come out of the £1 a day budget, I added a tablespoon of tomato puree and tasted it. It was nice, but needed something else, so added 2 tablespoons of yogort, then it wasn’t tomatoey enough any more, so added another tablespoon of puree. Thought it would be lovely with peas and spaghetti, but had run out of frozen peas. So dug out of the larder a small tin of peas that was in a WI raffle basket that I won AGES ago and have never fancied eating.

So opened them, stirred in about half of them, plus some of the juice from the tin to ‘let down’ the sauce a little. Yes, that was a posh cheffy term. Result, a really decent tasting little pasta sauce. I’m wondering now if I could have got away without using the yogort, because using it means I need to buy a pot from the £1 a day budget.

Having eaten it for dinner this evening, I definitely wouldn’t use the yogort. I would use the 2 tblsp tomato puree and let it down with a little water from the pasta cooking water

  • pot of beefy paste, I used a Shippams 50p one, but get a 32p one if you can
  • 2 tblsps tomato puree, 10p Asda 142g/35p
  • 100g frozen peas, 10p, Asda £1/1kg
  • 160g spaghetti, 6p Asda 19p/500g
  1. simmer the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente
  2. mix the paste with the tomato puree
  3. when the pasta is almost cooked, tip in the peas, bring back to the boil
  4. once the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving a little of the water
  5. mix the meaty paste into the pasta and peas and let down with a little of the cooking water until you have a still thick sauce that is clinging to the spaghetti strands
  6. serve with a few salad leaves if you have them, and maybe a little vinaigrette over the leaves if you have any




  1. Esther

    Such fussy fussy eaters. Wont eat cheesecake (although I must confess its probably a good thing otherwise I’d be making it all the time and then eating it myself 😛 ) I think going down the indian route might work, so might try a curry or perhaps a chilli con carne topped with rice. I’ll wait for the inspiration to strike. 😛 Worst case scenario I’ll substitute it for the milk on my crunchy cereal… Thank you for your help though.

  2. Esther

    I’ll go buy some fish paste, I just figured that sadly with Jack’s recipe (not a complaint) it only uses 100g of yoghurt, and the pot is 500g… so I figured for the purposes of fairness I’d try making hers and then try yours with the beef paste. 🙂 Not to worry though, I’ll follow yours without the yoghurt and just find something else to use it up. 😛 But if I can convince the fussy eaters I might be onto a winner.

  3. Lesley

    It was more about it tasted better without the yogort. It would probably be better in the original fish version that Jack Monroe did, have you got any fish paste? Or maybe you don’t like it.
    You could have it for breakfast with some defrosted berries. Defrost them and add a tiny bit of sugar and they will create a lovely juice.
    You could mix it with soft cheese and sugar to make a cheesecake
    Or chop a little white cabbage and a carrot and mixed it with a tbslp mayonnaise, 2 tblsps of yogort and some Dijon mustard for a coleslaw

  4. Esther

    But would the lack of yoghurt usage be down to preferred flavour or a case of it is a unnecessary luxury on a budget? (Got some yoghurt and trying to decide what to do, don’t want to ruin the sauce though if you think yoghurt doesn’t work well)

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thrifty Lesley has an associated Facebook Group. Do come over and say hello if you haven’t already joined. I’d love to see you!

I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community.