Eating out is a lot of fun. Plus, it takes away all the hassle of laborious chopping, prepping everything and then the dreaded cleaning. But things can get a little out of hand when the bill arrives. They charge you for everything they put in and then for the real estate, the air conditioning, the salaries of the staff and much more. In fact, there are so many charges and taxes, I think we are all collectively responsible for that Tiffany’s ring the owner’s wife is wearing. Apparently, it’s not good manners to ask her if you can get some part of that ring. Meh, society and its rules. Anyway, so after we feel like we have full tummies but very empty wallets, we wonder if we can create this dish at home. You totally can. And I calculated how much it would cost to make the same dish at home. You may have guessed it was going to be cheaper, but this much cheaper? Maybe not.

I wanted to choose a dish that is a classic and liked and can be found in most restaurants. So, I went with Penne Arrabiata. Also, I thought it would make sense to choose a recipe by a chef closer home and that’s why I went with the recipe recommended by Sanjeev Kapoor. Sure, I threw in the basil and mushrooms because, well, because they are personal favourites. And to ensure that the prices don’t wary according to location, I shopped for everything on the online grocery store – big I went with Big Basket as it’s relatively cheaper (How do I know that? Read this here). The serving size is one person.

The Recipe

The recipe given by Sanjeev Kapoor states that the serving size is 4. I have quatered the quantities so the serving size is one –with reason. When we order a dish at a restaurant, we order it for ourselves. The fact that hungry friends help themselves to generous portions, well, that’s another story. Here’s the recipe for 4 people.

Time : 11-15 minutes

Cooking time : 31-40 minutes

Servings : 4


Penne 250 grams

Tomatoes 5 medium

Olive oil 3 tablespoons

Garlic chopped 10 cloves

Red chillies crushed1 teaspoon

Onion sliced 2 medium

Tomato puree 1/2 cup

Salt to taste

Oregano 1/2 teaspoon

Fresh parsley 1 tablespoon

This for one person works out to:

Penne – 60 grams

Tomatoes – 1 and a half – 160 grams

Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon

Garlic – 2 cloves

Onion – 1 small

Tomato puree- 1/8 of a cup

Added of my own accord:

Mushroom – ½ packet

Basil – 10 grams

Olives- 1 tablespoon

Cheese – 1/8th of a cup

Now, making this recipe for one person would cost:


A 500gms packet of Borges Penne Rigate Whole Wheat Pasta costs 237. 50. If we use 60 grams of pasta, that works out to Rs. 28.5.


Tomatoes, 1 and a half comes up to 160 grams approximately. Yes, I weighed it. Tomatoes are available for Rs. 18 for 500 grams. For 160 grams, the amount works out to Rs.5.76.

Going by the price of the 200ml tin of Figaro Olive Oil, we end up putting in Rs, 14.925 worth of oil. How? The 200ml tin is for Rs.199. 1 tablespoon is 15ml, and then I did the math.


2 cloves of garlic (weighed by me) weight 8 grams approximately. Since 100 grams of Fresho garlic cost Rs. 18, the price of 2 cloves comes up to Rs, 2.


We add one small onion to the mix which is about 58 grams. Fresho Onions are available on bigbasket at Rs. 10 for 500 grams. For 58 grams, that’s Rs.2.

A 200 gms Dabur HomeMade Tomato Puree packet comes for Rs. 23.75. According to this chart, 1 cup is 250ml. 1/8th of a cup would therefore be 31.25ml. For the sake of clarity, we are going to ignore density of liquid and assume that 250ml is the same as 250 grams. Which means that 31.25 grams of this puree would cost us Rs. 3.71.



A packet of mushrooms comes for Rs. 35. Add half of that and you get Rs.17.5.

We are going to use 10 grams of basil. For 50 grams, it’s 14 bucks. Works out to Rs. 3 for 10 grams.

We are going to throw in a tablespoon of olives. A 300 grams bottle of Borges is for Rs. 185.25. A tablespoon of olives is 14 grams. The calculation throws up a figure of Rs. 8.6

And what pasta is complete without cheese? The Go Italian Cheese Pouch is Rs.114 for 150 grams. We are adding 1/8th of a cup, which works out to Rs. 22 approximately.

So how much does it cost you to make this pasta at home?

Rs. 107.785

If you want to be really true to the cost, let’s add in labour. Let’s assume a person with the experience of a sous chef is cooking this dish. A sous chef makes approximately 5 lakhs a year. That divided by 365 works out to Rs.1370 per day. And that means for an hour, it works out to Rs. 57.

Your total? 164.785

How much do you pay for it at a restaurant? Anything from Rs.200-800

At a glance

Ingredient Price
Penne – 60 grams Rs. 28.5
Tomatoes – 1 and a half – 160 grams Rs.5.76
Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon Rs.14.925
Garlic – 2 cloves Rs.2
Onion – 1 small Rs.2
Tomato puree- 1/8 of a cup Rs.3.71
Mushroom – ½ packet Rs.17
Basil – 10 grams Rs.3
Olives- 1 tablespoon Rs.8.6
Cheese – 1/8th of a cup Rs.22
Cost of a chef (1 hour) Rs. 57


RS. 164.785

A couple of things here,

These are all approximations and not absolute figures

I haven’t added the prices of salt, sugar and spices but if you must know add Rs.10 to the total for that.

A chef doesn’t spend an hour on any dish, this is an approximation

Your food is made for one person and therefore, more nutritious for you while a chef cooks for atleast 70-80 patrons.

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