Cheap & Elegant Pasta recipe -

Cheap & Elegant Pasta

More. More. More. I loved this recipe as a baby and used sign language to say “MORE.” My mom said she couldn’t cut the Penne pasta in half quick enough to feed me. If you love garlic & feta you’ll be saying “More” too!

In fact, this is one of the fist recipes I learned to cook (when I was about 8-9 years of age). My family used to eat this weekly. It’s fairly simple enough to cook in a large skillet on the stovetop. I would suggest using a large skillet that can hold all the ingredients when you stir & reheat it before serving. It is also helpful is you have a glass lid to help with cooking the tomatoes and spinach. Also glass lids are wonderful since they allow you to see what’s going on without lifting the lid and letting all the heat escape.

You can use mozzarella cheese instead of feta. We love feta so we use an entire 4oz container of feta, which increases the price of this meal. Some people may prefer using a combination of mozzarella & Parmesan instead.

Use can easily use fresh garlic, basil, plum or cherry tomatoes from your garden in this recipes. We have used sun-dried tomatoes for added flavor, as well as fire-roasted diced tomatoes which adds to the cost of this meal.

This recipe can usually be cooked in about 30 minutes; making it a great for an evening meal after a long day of activities and homeschool. Start boiling the water for the pasta first, then gather all your ingredients. Hopefully, the pasta fill finish just in time to throw it into the pan after your spinach has steamed/wilted.

Typically, we do not have leftovers. Personally, I don’t like this dish reheated. However, my mom does occasionally like this recipe served cold the following day.

Cheap & Elegant Pasta

A quick penne pasta meal which can easily be customized. This can be used as a side-dish or your main course alongside a salad & garlic bread.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cheap, pasta, quick
Servings: 4
Author: Crazy JC Girl


  • 2 1/2 cup penne pasta, dry
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp basil, dried
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 handfuls spinach, torn
  • 2 – 4 oz feta, crumbled


  • Cook & drain pasta.
  • Saute garlic in olive oil.
  • Add basil, salt, & tomatoes.
  • Simmer 5-10 minutes to allow flavor to cook through.
  • Add torn spinach & cook another minute.
  • Stir-in drained pasta. Adding a little more olive oil if pasta is sticking to itself.
  • Add 1/2 of feta and allow it to slightly melt.
  • Spoon onto servings dishes & sprinkle with remaining feta.


We typically use 1/2 a box of Penne which is usually about 2.5 – 2.75 cups dry pasta.
If you have a large enough skillet, you can boil your pasta in the same pan first. Then return to burner and continue with recipe.
Mozzarella, Parmesan or a combination of these, can be used instead of feta cheese. 
Use can use fresh garden veggies, fire-roasted tomatoes, or  sun-dried tomatoes to boost the flavor of this. 
Feel free to experiment with what you have on hand (sausage, olives, etc.).
I do tend to add more olive oil to coat the drained pasta. Not too much since you want the veggies to stick to the pasta. Drizzle the oil just enough to prevent one huge lump-o-pasta in the pan.