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This is a recipe from BBC Food and that I’ve modified slightly so that we use less meat and thus bring the cost down.

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You will need:
-Streaky bacon (cheaper than its back bacon counterpart, and packs a flavour punch so you can use less). I use three slices but you could use more or less, budget depending.
-Cream cheese (I use Lidl’s,  or supermarket value range)
-A large leek, or two small.
-pasta (we use Lidl value penne,  which is less than 50p for 500g)

Put your pasta on to cook, as per instructions, and then cook off your sliced bacon in a little olive oil. You want it to crisp up and deepen in colour. Add your leek; chopped,  sliced and washed. Let it all cook through together. Add a 200g tub of cream cheese and a good splash of the starchy pasta water. Season with black pepper (no salt, the bacon will take care of that). If you want to up the veg count, add some frozen peas or sweetcorn to your pasta when almost cooked.

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Once your pasta is done, drain off and quickly add to the sauce. Give it a good toss, so that all the penne quills are coated in the glossy, creamy sauce.

If you have a jar, a few sundried tomatoes sliced up make a wonderful addition to this pasta dish. Not exactly a budget item, but it is frugal as you need very little to go a long flavour way. Good quality parmesan also falls under this category, and will finish the pasta off beautifully.

I totaled up the cost of this dish and came up with the following estimate.

Streaky bacon – 99p (three slices of a six slice pack at £1.99)
Value penne 500g 45 p
Lidl soft cheese 65p
Leek, one whole 87p

(These prices are from memory, but are pretty accurate, may be a penny to two out)

So, in total it cost £2.96 to make (a few more pence if you used sundried tomatoes), and thus 59p per person. Cheap cheap cheap.

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