My mum almost never eats pasta. It's strange to think that just one generation before me, pasta was pretty much unheard of. Spaghetti hoops on toast for a Sunday night tea was the closest I came to pasta as a child.
But now, pasta is a staple food for me. Two, maybe three nights per week we eat pasta. It's quick, it's versatile, it's simple and its cheap.
I usually buy those really big bags of pasta from Asda. Penne, usually, but I'm not too fussy. I also buy spaghetti, and lasagne sheets. I can't imagine not having a decent stock of pasta in my cupboard, because if I have that, then I can always make a meal.
Fresh pesto is delicious, but jars are pretty good too, and we will eat pasta and pesto two or three times a month.
I really enjoy tomato based sauces, but my husband doesn't, so I usually serve them on nights when he isn't home. It's easy to make up a tomato sauce with tinned tomatoes, onion and herbs. Garlic is great in there, so is basil, and all kinds of veg an go in there too. Sometimes I roast a load of veg with garlic, then whiz it all up with some tinned toms. This can be frozen in portions, then used as a sauce with pasta, or chicken, or on pizza.
Often my husband with fry up some onion in olive oil, add some bits of bacon, cooked pasta and a sprinkle of grated cheese to make a quick, tasty meal.
Pasta is frugal because it can turn a few bits and pieces into a filling, satisfying meal. It is quick to cook, so a meal is always on hand, thus avoiding trips to the take away!