How Padma Lakshmi prepares a budget-friendly herby white bean and feta pasta for 4

The "Top Chef" host posted the budget-friendly dish on Instagram.

January 23, 2023, 4:44 PM

Padma Lakshmi recently shared a recipe for a delicious pasta dish on a budget.

The celebrity food TV host, author and activist posted a video on Instagram of her attempt at a $10 cost-conscious cooking challenge, which was first popularized by Danny Kim, who regularly asks professionals chefs to create a dish of their choosing under a sure dollar limit.

"This recipe is both hearty and fresh thanks to some healthy handfuls of parsley. Oh and add 2 [tablespoons] of lemon juice to pan just before adding pasta," Lakshmi wrote in the caption. "It serves 4 easily, and in my house it got devoured so fast it never even saw the inside of my fridge."

PHOTO: Padma Lakshmi tastes her easy budget-friendly pasta dish.
Padma Lakshmi tastes her easy budget-friendly pasta dish.
Courtesy of Padma Lakshmi

Lakshmi also gave a shoutout to Kim -- @dannygrubs on Instagram -- whose videos she said she loves.

Lakshmi's Instagram video shows her browsing a native New York City grocery store with money in hand, and the prices of her procured ingredients pop up on screen to show the running total, which at checkout and after tax goes slightly over her $10 budget at $11.54.

PHOTO: A bowl of spaghetti with sauteed onions, white beans and herbs.
A bowl of spaghetti with sauteed onions, white beans and herbs.
Courtesy of Padma Lakshmi

"Everything was more expensive than I thought it was going to be, of course," she says later in her home kitchen, post-shopping and pre-cooking. "We went over, but in my defense I'm going to create lunch for more than one person. I probably could've stayed on budget without the parsley, but I love how much chlorophyll there is in parsley, how herbacious it is with a little bitter edge, and it has a ton of vitamin C and other nutrients. So I stand by my selections."

Below, see Lakshmi's recipe, with a full list of ingredients and approximate prices.

Padma Lakshmi's Herby White Bean Pasta with Feta

Ingredients

1 pound spaghetti, such as De Cecco, $2.49

1 bunch fresh parsley, washed, stems removed, $1.99

1 vast Spanish onion, reduce into thin crescents, 0.79 cents

1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, $2.39

1 6 oz container crumbled feta, $2.99

Additional pantry ingredients used

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Directions

1. Cook pasta in a vast pot of salted (2 tablespoons) boiling water according to package instructions, subtracting 1-2 minutes from last cook time.

2. Melt butter with olive oil in a vast sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onion and ½ tsp salt, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent.

3. Add thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes. Turn heat down to low, cover and cook 2-3 minutes more.

4. When pasta is cooked, transfer all of your pasta and ½ cup pasta water to the sauté pan. Add lemon juice, beans and parsley and toss all to combine.

5. Continue cooking until the pasta water has all evaporated, then turn off the heat and add lemon zest and feta cheese.

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