Budget-dinner challenge: delicious and easy spaghetti recipe

18 May 2024

  • “Making great food doesn’t have to be expensive. To prove it, we’re going to make a winning dinner that’s both budget-friendly and delicious,” says Adam Liaw.
  • It’s worth spending a little more on quality sausages for this recipe – they’ll turn into delicious meatballs.
  • Adam’s basic pasta sauce includes olive oil, cream and a secret ingredient – a little of the pasta cooking water. This helps make makes the sauce thicker and gives the finished dish a decadent silky texture. 

After paying for a roof over your head, food is the second largest area of spending for Aussie households. That’s why having a few dishes like Adam Liaw’s sausage and broccoli spaghetti in your repertoire can help control those food costs. With this recipe, Adam proves that good food doesn’t need to be expensive, and he does this by using sausage meat and made-from-scratch pasta sauce.

According to Adam, it’s worth spending a couple of extra dollars on quality sausages – they’ll still be cheap but will give your finished dish a much better flavour.

This pasta sauce is a great alternative to spending money on those often-expensive pre-made sauces. Adam’s basic pasta sauce includes olive oil, cream and a secret ingredient – a little of the pasta cooking water, which makes the sauce thicker and gives the finished dish a decadent silky texture. 

Adam Liaw’s sausage and broccoli spaghetti recipe

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Serves 4-6


  • 500g dried spaghetti
  • Salt, to season
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1⁄2 small head broccoli, roughly chopped (including the stem)
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 Italian-style pork sausages
  • 1⁄4 cup white wine
  • 150ml thickened cream
  • Parmesan cheese, to serve
  • Black pepper, to serve


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions , checking the pasta two minutes before the end of the cooking time.
  2. While the spaghetti is cooking, heat a very large frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil and fry the onion and chopped broccoli for about five minutes until browned. Add the garlic and squeeze the sausage filling out of the casing to make rough little round meatballs. Fry until the meatballs are browned. Add the white wine and cream and bring to a simmer.
  3. When al dente, strain the pasta, saving half a cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce mixture. Combine the sauce mixture with the pasta and serve with parmesan and black pepper.

For more recipes that are big on flavour but gentle on the household budget, don’t forget to tune into The Brighter Side on Saturday at 6pm. We’ll be adding new recipes here online every week so you can try them at home! 

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