Enter your email address

The Best Pasta You’ve Never Had –
Hostel Eats & Treats

by Tony · 8 comments

Ahhh, Pasta.

The foundation of every cheap backpacker’s menu.

But don’t worry… this is not just a simple pasta recipe. Because everyone knows how to make pasta right?


Whether on the road or comfy in your own kitchen, there is such a thing as making bad pasta.

And you know what? You probably are.

How To Finally Make Pasta The RIGHT Way

Prep Time: 5-7 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

The Sauce

Best damn pasta sauce

Please... for foodies everywhere... make your own sauce!

  1. Do not buy your pasta sauce… it is so easy and so much tastier to make your own. Simply go to the market before you start to cook and buy the tomatoes and whatever veggies you like. For a nice bolognese, buy some sausage or ground beef from the local butcher.
  2. See below for our preferred way to make sauce, but pasta sauce is a very personal thing. No judgments here on what you want to add or takeaway.

The Pasta

Yes. I really am going to explain to you how to cook pasta. The most overlooked, but absolutely key, piece to the entire meal. You do not just boil water, throw in pasta, drain when cooked, and serve with sauce on top.


The key to the best pasta of your life… the one secret that Meg and I have deduced from watching years of the food network and experimenting with pasta every other night on the road… is simple:

  1. Cook the sauce in a larger pan than necessary.
  2. Boil the water and add in a little salt and oil if desired.
  3. Throw in the pasta as the water begins to roll.
  4. IMPORTANT: Take the pasta out about a minute before it is al dente (that delicious texture that all true italians love) and instead of draining all of the water, use prongs to plop the pasta (along with some delicious starchy water) into the sauce pan. The starchy water does something transcendent to the sauce as the pasta and sauce bind together when mixed.
  5. After a minute of stirring and massaging the sauce into the pores of the pasta, you should be ready to serve some perfectly cooked al dente pasta.


Recipe for 2 people (plus some small leftovers)

  • 2-3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green/red pepper
  • 1 small hot pepper (if you like spice)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (if you aren’t going out later or just don’t care about your bad breath)
  • Mushrooms (if not too expensive from the market)
  • Eggplant
  • Red wine (You’re drinking red wine with your pasta, right?)

Cooking Instructions

Hostel Pasta Sauce

  1. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil.
  2. Slice the onions and get them into an oil coated pan asap. We’re going to caramelize the heck out of these bad boys.
  3. Now slice the pepper, eggplant, and mushrooms into strips while you mince the hot pepper and garlic. Dice the tomatoes into whatever size you prefer, but we like half inch chunks.
  4. When the onions just begin to brown, throw in the eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and hot pepper. Let these cook until nice and soft as well. Do not be afraid to burn the onions. The reason caramelized onions are always so good at restaurants is because they brown them way past when most amateurs would… Burn those suckers!
  5. Once the onions have that beautiful brown hue we’re looking for and the eggplant, pepper, mushrooms, hot pepper, and garlic have softened up, throw in the tomatoes with a healthy splash of whatever red wine you are having with your meal.
  6. Keep the lid off of the pan and let the tomatoes soften until you have a nice healthy red liquid of tomatoes and wine marinating in all of those veggies. This should reduce nicely over the next 6 minutes.
  7. The water in the pot should now be boiling, so throw in your pasta and add any salt or oil if you wish.
  8. Test after 3 minutes for the proper texture. Remember, it should be a slightly more firm than al dente. After about 5-6 minutes, you should find what you’re looking for (times differ depending on the type of pasta).
  9. Take your prongs and pluck the pasta, still dripping with water, into your sauce.
  10. Mix so that the sauce envelopes the pasta and let this marinate for a minute or two.


Plate your creation and prepare to taste the best pasta you have ever cooked…

That is a LandingStanding Guarantee or your money-back!

Total cost of meal: US$6 for two people plus leftovers (counting the wine – add another $3… we’re on a budget!).

About Tony
Quit his job to try actually following his dreams for once... and is currently loving it. He is working hard to to make this life-style permanent by writing about his adventures and brainstorming money making opportunities with his partner-in-crime, Meg.

Magz February 12, 2012 at 1:05 am

Pasta water in with the sauce – Who knew?!? Alton Brown better watch out.. you two are kicking his butt in the cooking dept. Just sayin.

Tony February 19, 2012 at 12:05 am

Didn’t know it until we tried it… pasta water is the key. The Fiance will be very impressed the next time you cook pasta…

Megan February 12, 2012 at 5:17 am

screw makin this at a hostel…im makin this at home!

Tony February 19, 2012 at 12:05 am

It’s so easy you can make it anywhere! Super versatile though… you can add anything to it and it will be good.

JR February 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

It is lunch time now in the USA. I know what I am having for Lunch. This sounds delich and pretty easy.

Tony February 19, 2012 at 12:06 am

SUPER easy… let us know how it goes!

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Older post:

Newer post: