Pasta in a Pinch
Cooking in college presents a variety of challenges. Personally, I struggle the most with finding meals that are cost-effective, fresh, and easy to prepare. Another issue that I have identified with many recipes is that they will call for a super-specific ingredient and then only use a small portion, causing the remainder to sit in the fridge forgotten. Gigi Hadid’s Spicy Vodka Pasta recipe has been my go-to meal in college and has allowed me to solve many of these issues while providing a delicious meal that reminds me of home.
Super Simple Recipe
The recipe only requires 10 ingredients, many of which I find myself already having on hand: olive oil, yellow onion, garlic cloves, tomato paste, heavy cream, vodka, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, pasta noodles, and parmesan cheese.
You begin by combining ¼ cup olive oil, half of a diced yellow onion, and 2 garlic cloves in a large saucepan. Once the onions are soft add in ¼ cup tomato paste until it appears darker in color. Then add ½ a cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of vodka allowing it to simmer until evaporated. Add in as much or as little red pepper flakes as you desire as well as salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta separately. I prefer rigatoni but trying out a new shell is always a fun way to mix it up! When the pasta is done save ¼ cup of pasta water before draining and add it to the saucepan. Add the pasta into the sauce and stir in 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. It’s that easy!
Pricing And Meal Planning Tips
All ten of the ingredients total $13.50 or at least that’s what it cost me the last time I made the meal. I am generally able to make one batch of this recipe last me 5 whole meals, equaling $2.70 per meal. This surely isn’t the most nutritious meal but it's fresh and reminds me of the food my mom once cooked for me.
It is easy to prepare only requiring a saucepan, cutting board, knife, strainer, pot, and perhaps some containers for leftovers. While it’s certainly not required, I generally pair the pasta with a form of protein and a vegetable to further balance the meal. Both chicken and Italian sausage are a great addition. To add some greens to the dish I generally prepare either broccoli or brussels sprouts which I season with the same ingredients required for the pasta recipe, including a splash of olive oil, parmesan, and garlic. On occasion, I also add spinach to the sauce which provides a great source of nutrients while not taking away from the decadent sauce.
However, perhaps my favorite part of this meal is its ability to bring people together. Not only has this become a staple in my college home but in my friends’ kitchens as well. After trying my pasta my friends made numerous requests for the recipe so they could prepare it themselves. This perhaps is the best compliment when cooking a meal. In a sea of instant mac n’ cheese and ramen, being able to show my friends how to cook food that reminds us all of home has been the biggest pleasure of all.
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