This is the pasta dish I spoke about last time. Its seriously good and with a little tweaking it comes in at an acceptable price for this blog.
Spinach & Ricotta Pasta
Priced at Asda using mySupermarket.com in January 2019
85g frozen spinach, £1.69/1.3kg, 11p
35g good for you walnut pieces, £1.64/150g, 38p
20g raisins, £2.74/kg, 5p
90g ricotta, 80p/250g, 29p
200g value pasta, 29p/500g, 11p
300g of a tin of value tomatoes, 28p for the tin, 21p
15g cheddar, grated £2.49/500g, 7p
Tsp dried basil, 49p/14g, 4p
Lots of fresh ground black pepper
Quarter of an Iceberg lettuce, shredded, 60p for the whole lettuce, 15p
200g carrots, 65p/kg, 13p
Total cost, including salad, £1.54 so 77p each
Nutrition per serving 550 calories, 71g carbs, 18g fat, 21g protein, 8g fibre
Mix the spinach and ricotta together. Chop the walnuts finely and add to the spinach mixture. Season well with salt and pepper, and maybe a little nutmeg if you have it.
Cook the pasta and drain well. Place the pasta in an ovenproof dish. Dot over the spinach and ricotta mix.
This picture is when I made it using giant shells
Season the chopped tomatoes with lots of black pepper so it’s spicy, add a little salt. Carefully pour over the pasta and spinach mix. Sprinkle over the cheddar.
Bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes.
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If you can find find giant pasta shells, they were fun to use, but far from essential.
A few sautéed mushrooms would be good. Instead of spinach you could use finely shredded kale or dark green cabbage.
Any nuts could be used instead of the walnuts, you can’t actually taste what they are. You could leave them out altogether if you wish, although the crunch was really good.
The pop of sweetness from the raisins was lovely and could be replaced with any other dried fruit.
I sprinkled over a couple of finely chopped Brazil nuts, they gave a nice extra crunch but you don’t need them.
I used generous amounts of dried basil and fresh ground black pepper. This made the sauce really good and I recommend it. Use whatever herb you want of course. Fine chopped rosemary, sage, lemon balm, parsley and thyme would all be good
I haven’t tried this with value soft cheese, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Which leads on neatly to other cheeses. Any cheddar would work, Parmesan, grana padano, Lancashire or blue cheese would all be yummy.
At 77p a serving, there is just 23p left for the rest of the day. You could have sardine paste on two slices of toast for 10p, and a big bowl of soup for lunch, perhaps this tomato soup at 18p making a total of £1.05 for the day. That extra 5p is easily recouped on another day