Pasta Arrabbiata

Can’t cook, won’t cook? At around 50p per portion there’s no excuse for not making this easy pasta dish

I frown when I hear people say ‘they can’t afford to cook’, or worse, ‘I can’t afford to buy healthy, fresh food’. There’s a difference between being genuinely skint, as opposed to not knowing how to cook from scratch. The lines between both statements often get blurred.

Pasta Arrabbiata from Pinch of Nom is a really easy and affordable vegetarian recipe to get even the most nervous and sceptical of cooks into the kitchen. It can be rustled up for about 50p per serving in 30 minutes. Arrabbiata sauce is a traditional Italian, spicy sauce made from garlic and dried chilli peppers. This recipe requires 1 tsp of chilli flakes, but heat freaks might want to up the ante by finely dicing a normal red chilli to give it more of a kick.

If you’re looking for more imaginative vege-based pasta dishes, try courgette caponata pasta or spaghetti on fire (swap the bacon for something vege, or leave it out completely). Or for something a bit quirkier, go for creamy wild mushroom courgetti which, you’ve guessed it, uses courgettes as an equivalent to pasta. For all other pasta recipes, click here.

Recipe: Pasta Arrabbiata

Calories: 356 per serving

Serves: 4

Book: Pinch of Nom – Everyday Light  

Prep time: Approx 15 mins

Cooking time: Approx 15 minutes


  • 1 red pepper (deseeded)
  • Low-calorie cooking spray
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 320g pasta
  • Fresh basil leaves to serve (torn)

Cost per portion: Approx £0.53


Dice the red pepper into 1cm square pieces. Spray a large frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray. Place on a low heat, crush the garlic cloves into the frying pan, add the chilli flakes and red pepper and cook for a couple of minutes until the pepper starts to soften.

Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and dried herbs. Mix well, season with salt and pepper to taste, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir frequently for around 10 minutes as the sauce reduces and you cook the pasta.

While the sauce is cooking, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Once the pasta has cooked, drain and add to the sauce.

Combine the pasta and sauce, ensuring all of the pasta is well coated. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh basil.


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