6 ingredients you need to host a budget-friendly Italian dinner party

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6 ingredients you need to host a budget-friendly Italian dinner party

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to let go of the food and activities you love. Pairing pantry staples with budget-friendly alternatives can turn even the most basic ingredients into dishes worthy of a dinner party.

Don’t let a tight budget get in the way of your plans. You can still host an intimate get-together with close friends, even when you feel the budget pinch. This menu is a meant as a helpful guide to how you can use ingredients you probably already have. These recipes are great for vegetarians, kiddies, and even gluten-free guests.

1. Cannellini beans

These fantastic Italian beans can be added to just about any meal. For your dinner party, start off with bruschetta while your guests wait for the mains to be ready. These jazzed-up toasties are the perfect Italian appetiser.

Cannellini-beans-on-toastGet the recipe for cannellini beans on toast here. 

2. Ciabatta

This rustic Italian loaf is perfect for dipping into soups and mopping up pasta sauce. We’ve used it in a classic bread salad that’s a great excuse to clear out the greens in your fridge.

Poached leek panzanella recipe

Get the recipe for poached leek panzanella here.

3. Brinjal

Your vegetarian guests need not worry. Brinjal is a great way to add a “meaty” texture without the meat. You can make a basic brinjal ragu, but for entertaining, go for this comforting bake that’s impossible to resist.

Get the recipe for quick-and-easy melanzane here. 

4. Tomatoes

You can’t mention Italian food without mentioning tomatoes. Whether you buy them fresh or canned, there’s a myriad recipes for this humble ingredient. We’re keeping things simple with pizza (if your guests are bringing their little ones, they’re going to love this) and letting the juicy tomatoes take centrestage.

Get the recipe for marinated tomato-and-mozzarella pizza here. 

5. Barley

If you think risotto is a posh ingredient meant for end-of-the-month splurging, think again! Barley is an excellent substitute and won’t break the bank.

Get the recipe for barley risotto here.

6. Polenta

Pizza and pasta get a lot of love, but it’s time to put polenta on your radar. It’s a creamy Italian porridge made from cornmeal and can be enjoyed with a range of toppings. However, to end off your epic night, you’re going to need dessert. This cake is a winner, particularly if you have any gluten-free guests.

Get the recipe for gluten- and wheat-free chocolate polenta cake here. 


If you sign up for the TASTE newsletter before 26 August 2022, you could win an Ooni Karu 12 multi-fuel pizza oven, plus an Ooni 30 cm pizza peel. TASTE’s newsletter is the free weekly recipe planner you need in your life.


Lesego Madisa Article by: Lesego Madisa

TASTE's commercial content producer loves thrifty recipes, fridge foraging and never says "no" to cake. When she's not flipping through the pages of food mags and cookbooks, she's happily baking and knitting in her tiny apartment.

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