Autumn tends to be characterised by a distinct group of ingredients and styles – pumpkin, apple, pies and one-pot meals – but that isn’t the whole story. A simple, frugal pasta dish can be comforting and delicious in equal measure. Arrabbiata, with its hints of chilli and garlic demonstrates this perfectly, especially with a few butterbeans thrown in for good measure. Of course, chicken is the most common pairing with this Italian favourite, but for me it can often be a less-than-inspiring ingredient. Butterbeans all’Arrabbiata mixes things up beautifully, bringing an already incredible sauce to life.
Paneer is an ingredient common across South Asian cuisine. It has, for instance, played a role in Indian cuisine – notably North Indian – for centuries, despite Indian food being particularly prone to development and change. Mutter Paneer, paneer with peas, is perhaps the best known of all these dishes – especially in the West – and since it’s such a quintessentially Indian ingredient, it seemed offensive to ignore paneer any longer!
A simple and “creamy” rendition of gazpacho, salmorejo is in my experience a glimpse of traditional Spanish cuisine perfect for the country’s climate. In the scorching summer months, during the afternoons of which not even the locals venture outside, this cold soup is enjoyed morning, noon and night – as a refreshing start to the day, or light evening starter.
The one quality that makes chickpeas so fantastically versatile is their rather marvellous texture. More uniform and slightly drier than other pulses, chickpeas possess an almost claggy characteristic perfect in hummus, as a crispy ball of falafel or even a “meaty” chickpea burger. What is more, chickpeas have a culinary coup in reserve; their flavour is a little less prevalent than that of other pulses. With chickpeas a delightful ambience of taste is assured, one that is easily peppered with high points from a wealth of suitable ingredients.
Dhal is one of my very favourite Indian foods. It’s both simple and honest, not to mention so pleasantly frugal that one could it all day every day and never notice it make a dent in one’s finances. To the uninitiated, dhal may at first appear sloppy and unappealing – rather like porridge – but once you’ve had a chance to experience its dense and satisfying texture your views on Indian cuisine will be forever enhanced.
Hello! I'm Nick, frugal food enthusiast and curator of frugalfeeding, a food blog about eating good, well-sourced food as economically as possible.