Here are 16 recipes to make with a packet of spaghetti

Spaghetti is one of the world’s most popular pasta shapes, and there are so many ways to use it. With the cost of food still increasing at an alarming rate, spaghetti is particularly appealing right now as you can pick up a packet for as little as 28p (at Morrisons and ASDA). That’s cheaper than almost any other food item you can buy these days, save for a single onion.

Let the pasta snobs turn their noses up – but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a cheap packet of spaghetti, it possess all the same slurpable qualities as a more expensive packet, and clings to sauces like a dream if you follow a few of our tips below.

Stock up on some, and make our 16 best spaghetti recipes below…

Here are 16 recipes to make with a packet of spaghetti

What is the secret to good spaghetti?

The UK’s second favourite pasta shape (after fusili, according to a YouGov poll) spaghetti is as versatile as it is inexpensive. We love how satisfying it is to eat, but it’s important to cook it right to get the most out of your spaghetti.

Don’t chuck the pasta water!

As dried pasta softens and expands in boiling water, it releases starch. The leftover starchy water looks a bit suspect, but its ability to help with emulsification – the forcing together of two liquids which stay separate (most often water and oil) – is key to great spaghetti. This process is key to some of the most famous spaghetti dishes, like carbonara and cacio e pepe. Think of pasta water as the magic ingredient that will see your spaghetti coated in a thick, creamy sauce that clings to every strand. The starch in the pasta water acts as a thickening and stabilising agent which, when combined with the motion of stirring and tossing, helps the pasta and sauce become one.

Why do you put salt in boiling water for spaghetti?

Salting your pasta water is important because the spaghetti is the main element of the dish – so it needs a little seasoning. You don’t need a great big pot of salted water to cook pasta in, though. Too much water can make spaghetti’s texture flabby. The less water you use, the starchier your pasta water will be – just remember to give the spaghetti pot a regular stir so it doesn’t stick.

Mixing pasta with sauce

Adding your spaghetti to the sauce rather than your sauce to the spaghetti means none of the sauce goes to waste and ensures each piece of pasta is coated before serving. A good trick if you’re making a dish with a rich sauce, such as the bolognese or meatball dishes below, is to finish cooking your spaghetti in the sauce for the final 4-5 minutes, which will allow the pasta to soak up some of that flavour and it will enable you to ensure the pasta doesn’t overcook when it comes into contact with the hot sauce.

Our 16 best recipe ideas to make with a packet of spaghetti

Easy spaghetti and meatballs

Make like Lady and the Tramp with this romantic dinner of pork meatballs and sugo. Made with pork mince or even cheaper sausages, you can’t beat a classic dish like this.

Spaghetti and meatballs

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Sardine, chilli and lemon spaghetti

Tinned fish are a famously inexpensive source of protein (and further to that they’re finally having their big TikTok moment). Omit the pine nuts to make this sardine spaghetti even thriftier, there is plenty of flavour from the chilli, lemon and sardine here to satisfy!

Sardine spaghetti

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Spaghetti carbonara frittata

This budget-friendly take on a classic Italian frittata is made with cheddar and spaghetti. Slice it up and enjoy it for breakfast or lunch.


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Spaghetti with kale pesto and pangrattato topping

Using a little kale in pesto offers extra nutrients and makes the sauce go further – here it’s flavoured with chilli, garlic, lemon zest and grated parmesan.

Vegan pesto

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Pasta with anchovies and capers

At 79p a serving, this recipe is a pay day-pending dream! The anchovies, lemon and capers ensure the flavour is on point while breadcrumbs offer texture.

Pasta with anchovies

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Spaghetti carbonara

One of Rome’s most famous pastas, with a sauce needing just 3 ingredients when made in the strict way: guanciale or pancetta, parmesan or pecornio cheese and eggs. You can’t say fairer than that.


Find the recipe here

Aubergine milanese spaghetti

Two aubergines feed four in this clever recipe which is a vegetarian twist on the classic meaty Italian dish. We don’t know what you’ve heard, but only spaghetti will do for a milanese!


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Roasted cherry tomato spaghetti with tarragon

A tomato pasta with a bit of a difference – this roasted cherry tomato spaghetti recipe uses a little cream and fresh tarragon which compliments the sweet tomatoes beautifully. It’s ready in 30 minutes!


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Spaghetti with cauliflower pesto

This alternative to pesto genovese is made with roasted cauliflower whizzed together with grated parmesan, a large bunch of fresh basil, anchovy fillets and olive oil until it makes a loose sauce. Seasoned with lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper, it makes a glorious (and healthy) change to the norm.


Find the recipe here

Sardine puttanesca with a herby crumb

A can of sardines is thrifty and nutritious, and here we’ve added the classic flavours of a puttanesca in the form of olives, capers and garlic. Serve with breadcrumbs on top for added texture.

Sardine puttanesca

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Spaghetti bolognese

It’s a crowdpleaser and you can’t deny it. Spaghetti bolognese is one of the nation’s favourite comfort foods. We know the Italians would rather we ate our ragù with tagliatelle or rigatoni but spaghetti suits us just fine, thanks.


Find the recipe here

Vegetarian puttanesca

Bring piquancy and flavour to a thrifty pasta dish with the use of capers and olives, and plenty of parsley in this easy vegetarian recipe.

Vegetarian puttanesca

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Broccoli, chilli and lemon spaghetti

This thrifty dish is a great use of broccoli, which should be the hero ingredient more often, we think. Almonds, chilli, lemon zest and juice and seasoning bring everything together into a speedy weeknight win.

Broccoli lemon spaghetti

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Pork, lemon and sage meatballs with spaghetti

Amp up your pork meatballs with flavours of lemon and sage served in a spicy tomato sauce for a pasta recipe with a real kick. The meatballs can also be made in advance and frozen.

Pork meatballs

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Spaghetti vongole

The holiday classic, spaghetti vongole might seem like a luxurious dish but it’s actually made with relatively few ingredients. And when the spaghetti is 28p, spending £5 on some fresh clams feels more doable…


Find the recipe here

Chicken parmigiana with spaghetti

Milanese but not, this chicken parmigiana recipe could be straight out of an Italian American cookbook. It’s pure comfort food, and the proof you needed that chicken and pasta does have its place.


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Cacio e pepe

If you thought carbonara was simple, this dish is going to blow your MIND. Cacio e pepe is made simply with parmesan cheese, pepper and pasta cooking water, tossed through the cooked spaghetti. It’s a budget cook’s dream dish.

Cacio e pepe

Find the recipe here

Browse all of our spaghetti recipes in one place here.

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