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Easy Mix & Match Pasta Recipes

Welcome to my Broke Betch Cooking series, which is exactly what it sounds like: cooking deliciousness on a budget! Living in NYC is expensive, as is ordering takeout for lunch and dinner every day. Other than Sushi Sundays, which is a long, beloved tradition for me, I try to cook most of my meals at home. Sometimes I’ll go to the grocery store with something specific in mind, but a lot of the time, I end up making something with whatever I can find in the fridge/pantry (I am the leftovers queen). I am a HUGE foodie, and strongly believe that a delicious meal is worth all the time and effort. I’m continuously surprised by how often people will reach out about the pictures of food that I post on Instagram (yes, I am that basic bitch), so I figured I would share my “recipes,” if you will, to spread the wealth! Enjoy! 

Today we are talking pasta! Italian is by far one of my all-time favorite foods. If we’re being perfectly honest here, I order pasta in bulk on Amazon (LOL). It’s cheaper and I know that I’ll for sure always have a dinner option, making ordering takeout less tempting! The thing I love about pasta is that there are endless possibilities when it comes to sauce and topping combinations. I have a few particular favorites, but as long as you have one of each category in the house, you’re ready to cook up some gourmet pasta deliciousness. 

Here is a break-down of my favorite options, with “recipes” that don’t take too much effort or a large budget:

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi is like the grown-up version of a kids’ pasta with butter (I was a big fan). This is great to make when you are craving seafood, but not down to drop $30 on an entree at a restaurant. You can get big bags of frozen shrimp at the grocery store, so they’re always in the freezer, ready to go. Cut up a lemon and toss the slices in there if you’re feeling fancy. 

1. Pasta: Linguini or Angel Hair pasta

2. Sauce: Extra virgin olive oil

3. Veggies: Cherry tomatoes

4. Protein: Shrimp

5. Toppings: Garlic, salt & pepper, basil (optional: parmesan cheese, lemon)

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

Rigatoni is one of my favorite pasta shapes…don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. What makes this dish spicy is cayenne pepper when cooking the chicken and red pepper flakes on top. I like to chop up my broccoli into little florets so you get some veggies in every bite. If you like creamy pasta (don’t even get me started), you can also mix in some Alfredo sauce with your marinara until it’s a pretty pink! Spicy and pink– what could be better? 

1. Pasta: Rigatoni

2. Sauce: Marinara (optional: a little Alfredo)

3. Veggies: Broccoli florets

4. Protein: Chicken

5. Toppings: Red pepper flakes, garlic, salt & pepper, parmesan (or Pecorino–my fave!) 

Creamy Gnocchi with Spinach

I’m literally drooling just typing that title. Gnocchi is my all-time favorite dish, which I discovered when my family and I visited Italy in 2011. It’s mushy and soft like a potato but looks and tastes like pasta. When making gnocchi, I usually don’t use a protein or large vegetables, because the pieces of gnocchi are so bulky themselves. Spinach is a good alternative to larger veggies because they mix right in so you get some in every bite. 

1. Pasta: Gnocchi

2. Sauce: Alfredo (or this Bertolli Four Cheese Roma Sauce–YUM)

3. Veggies: Cooked spinach

4. Protein: N/A

5. Toppings: Salt & pepper, parmesan, basil

A not-so-glamorous picture of one of my recent gnocchi mix & match combos.
A not-so-glamorous picture of one of my recent gnocchi mix & match combos.

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