This is BA's 'Pantry Pasta'; an easy to throw together meal that works any day of the week. The original recipe called for sausage, but we substituted lean ground beef. This meal is an amazing base to start with and you can tweak it as you like.
Cost: Approximately $3.27 per serving.*
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 40 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
Crushed red pepper
½ medium red onion
¼ cup pitted olives, preferably Castelvetrano
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
16 ounces spaghetti
1 cup reserved pasta water
Pinch of sugar
2 ounces Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup torn basil
Prep Ingredients: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Finely chop the red onion. If your olives aren't pitted, remove the pits. Tear the basil leaves and set aside.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high, add the beef or sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Continue to cook for 10-12 minutes until the meat is fully cooked through and beginning to brown and crisp up around the edges. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and add to a medium bowl.
Wipe out the skillet and add the red onion and olives and cook over medium high until translucent, approximately 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and mash lightly with a wooden spoon until the tomatoes are mostly broken up. Add a pinch of sugar and torn basil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until almost al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
Add the reserved pasta water to the sauce and then add the noodles, using tongues to toss the spaghetti until evenly coated. Remove from heat.
To serve: Divide pasta between bowls and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Enjoy!
*Note: Common pantry items such as sugar, salt, oil, and herbs are not factored into the cost of the recipe.
Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work as a design manager in ed tech and I make tasty recipes in my spare time!