One of the biggest ways you can overspend at university is on your grocery budget; the combination of having to throw out uneaten food as well as the weekly wine run can be costly. So what if you could make use of your excess shopping? We’ve compiled a list of 4 excellent hacks to help keep your pocket and stomach happy.
1. Got extra alcohol?
Freshers is often famed for big nights out but why not use the residual wine to have a big night in instead?
Followers of Gigi Hadid are no stranger to pasta alla vodka after her recipe went viral earlier this year. However, this dish’s recent popularisation overshadows an interesting history, as neither the US nor Italy are able to agree on who invented it. Transatlantic tension aside, what can be universally agreed upon it is pretty much foolproof in delivering flavour with every bite. The secret is that vodka acts as an emulsifier, preventing the cream from splitting and tempering the acidity of the tomatoes. It’s also one of the easiest meals you can make in under 10 minutes, so when you’re time-crunched or simply stuck with a surplus of Russian vodka on your kitchen table, it’s the perfect go-to meal. We recommend pairing this with penne or rigatoni, as the ridges on these pasta shapes will cling to the sauce, soaking up every last morsel.
A long day of studying stuck inside? As the cooking time is relatively hands-off, making pasta with a rich ragù and red wine sauce is the perfect way to pass a lazy Sunday. To maximise the depth in flavour of this sauce, ensure that you add wine early on in the cooking process. Why not try your hand at our luxurious beef shin ragu recipe with Barolo wine?
Your leftover white wine is a smart addition to dishes with a strong citrus flavour, as well as those with mushrooms and seafood. If you want to try your impress your new flatmates, try making handmade our handmade ravioli, filled with lemon and ricotta. By substituting wine for some or all of the vinegar in more creamy sauces, they will also take on less of an acidic flavour adding complexity to the richness.
2. Don’t throw your bread!
If you’re at university, chances are that you will find yourself questioning how your bread always manages to go stale before finishing the packet. Sadly, (for your pocket and the environment) this stale bread often gets wasted; so much so, that 20 million slices get thrown in the bin every day. To put this into perspective, this amount of wastage in a year would be enough to circle the Earth 28 times. So if that nice loaf of sourdough you just bought starts to lose freshness, don’t throw it away. Instead, do as the Italians do.
Italy is famously inventive for the way in which it uses stale bread, and it often takes pride of place in home-cooked dishes. (Think Panzanella, ribollita, and pappa al pomodoro.) Emanating from the cucina povera philosophy, - referring to a barebones cooking style - the Italians transform their old bread by slicing it up, drizzling it with olive oil, and putting it in the oven until crisp. When put in a food processor, the result is a beautiful pangrattato that you can use as a topping on our delicious lemon and pine nut vegan orecchiette.
3. Stock up on soup
One of the highlights of my university flat was the weekly Sunday roast, yet the preparation involved always meant that there were a lot of vegetable scraps. While the food bin is a better alternative to depositing them in the landfill, an even better idea is to use these offcuts to make stock. Any vegetables that look past their best in the fridge can go in, too. Bring a large pot of water up to the boil, add the vegetables and then lower to a simmer for around 2 hours. Strain when done and you’ll have the most delicious (and pretty hands-free) vegetable stock which can be kept in the freezer for later.
Alternatively, you can also use leftovers to make soup. In a large pot, use a hand blender to purée the vegetables with 500-600ml of stock, and then put on the stove to heat. This would be perfect with some croutons (following the above method) or stirred in with a spoon of our wild rocket pesto.
4. When life gives you lemons...
It goes without saying that someone in your kitchen probably has a bag of lemons lying around, unopened and ready to be used. Instead of leaving them to go moudly, use their zest to enhance your pasta toppings, making even the most basic recipe that little bit fancier.
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.