An Easy Pasta Recipe with Garlic and Butter for Less Than $15 | Wine Enthusiast
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An Easy Pasta Recipe with Garlic and Butter for Less Than $15

Pantry pasta” is a tricky term because no two larders are exactly alike. But the phrase resonates in this recipe made with an array of shelf-stable ingredients. It also just so happens to be a satisfying dinner for two for less than $15.

Budget meals don’t need to taste of privation, especially if you spend your grocery dollar wisely.

“Properly combining expensive and inexpensive ingredients can mean having your cake and eating it, too,” writes Beth Moncel in Budget Bytes. “It’s all about the ratio, which can be tweaked to fit the needs of any budget.”

For instance, because butter features prominently in this dish, it makes sense to spend a good portion of your $15 in the dairy case. Quality brands like Kerrygold and Plugra are widely available and can be frozen for six months or more, so you can stock up when they’re on sale, and use it with supermarket dried pasta and canned mushrooms to keep costs at bay.

You can accentuate this recipe with other pantry items you might have on hand. Top the finished dish with grated Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese, or add a half-can of rinsed white beans, such as cannellini, with the mushrooms. You might need more salt, pepper and pasta water to keep your sauce balanced, so taste and adjust your seasonings accordingly.

Don’t hesitate to serve this in your favorite dishware or finest china. Meals on a budget can still taste awfully rich.

How to Make This Easy Pasta Recipe


10-12 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, such as Plugra or Kerrygold
½ lb spaghetti, bucatini or other long pasta
6 ½ ounces canned or jarred mushrooms, such as cremini, drained
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper


Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just shy of al dente, 5–7 minutes, depending on shape.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan over very low heat, melt butter with garlic and ½ teaspoon salt, 2–3 minutes, stirring periodically to prevent garlic from sticking and burning.

Add drained mushrooms and black pepper to the pan with the butter and stir until ingredients combine and mushrooms lose their canned taste, 2–3 minutes.

When your pasta is almost al dente, remove from heat and reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Use tongs or a spider to transfer pasta directly to the pan with butter and mushrooms, pour in pasta water, and stir vigorously over very low heat until the sauce comes together and looks glossy.

Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.