Irresistibly decadent one-pot pasta in under 30 minutes

October 23 2013 | Guest post by Renia Carsillo

hotmesspasta

Experimenting with One-Pan Pasta is the culinary equivalent to a night out on the town: Irresistibly decadent and utterly worth the occasional indulgence.

Like the application of smoky eyes, the recipe requires precise measurement to emerge seductive rather than runny. I like mine with spinach linguine, sun-dried tomatoes, and shallots. Feel free to be creative with the type of pasta, variation of tomatoes, and garlic-to-basil ratio; but, keep the amounts of each ingredient the same or you'll end up with a hot mess.

Sometimes a little self-indulgence is just what a girl needs — especially when it only takes 30 minutes.

Try this one pot pasta for a show-stopping quick and easy dinner for friends.

Ingredients

  • One box (or 12 ounces) spinach linguine
  • ½ Cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit or lessen to your tastes)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, extra basil, and pepper to garnish

Instructions

Combine all ingredients except garnishes in a large pan. The pan should be large enough for the linguine to lay flat without being broken.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil on high heat, stirring frequently, until pasta is al dente and the liquid is nearly evaporated (10-12 minutes).

Garnish with Parmesan cheese, pretty basil ribbons, and a little more pepper.

Okay, so that's pasta — what other one-pot recipes have y'all got?

  1. I need to try this! Looks yummy!

    For one pot cooking my go to is shakshuka, looks and tastes impressive but is rather simple and only requires a large skillet!

    3 agree
    • Loooooooove Shakshuka. First served it by a friend who had lived in the middle east for a while, and then went crazy about it.

      My husband doesn't like it just with bread, so I sometimes serve it over pasta (somehow that's different in his darling brain . . . ). I like it swirled with Greek yogurt. My favorite recipe for it is in the Jerusalem cookbook, but pretty much I can just do it from memory every time.

      2 agree
      • The yogurt idea is BRILLIANT!!!!

        I have to confess that I rarely follow recipes, and I also cheat a little!
        I can never get my egg poached just right (its always hard / not cooked), so I often cheat and poach them in a separate pot… I even cheat at poaching by using the plastic wrap method! Still tastes yummy though!

  2. Has anyone tried this with gluten free noodles? When making GF noodles, the water tends to get more starchy, and I have a feeling that it would make the sauce icky… but I could be wrong.

    • So I might be talking out of my butt, but as an avid cooking show enthusiast I heard about making your water alkaline…it is used In ramen noodle cooking to prevent the noodles from falling apart in the water. It might prevent the starchy water with GF noodles too?

      • Katie, I think the sun dried tomatoes in olive oil are the key to this dish. I agree that sauteing the veggies first makes it even better, but when a throw-it-all-so-it-can-be-done-now type meal is needed, this one is a winner. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Hah, last night a friend of ours who happens to be a RESTAURANT OWNER came by for dinner and I didn't have much time.

    So I poured olive oil into a pot, turned on the burner, minced a whole head of garlic, threw that into the hot oil with some red pepper flakes and a tin of anchovies, sauteed until the garlic was golden and the anchovies had melted, threw in a big can of diced tomatoes so they sizzled on contact, cooked until appropriately thick, added salt and pepper to taste. Would have added capers and/or olives at the end were I cooking for myself (putting them in at the beginning makes everything taste metallic, I find), but my husband hates capers and olives. While this was going on I had a big pot of pasta cooking in highly salted water. Everything was served with crusty bread, more olive oil, and a block of Parmesan.

    It's sort of a bastardization of arbiatta and puttanesca, but it works. And it's FAST. And our chef friend liked it. And this morning I had garlic coming out of my pores.

    I also consider risotto an easy one-pot dish. Onions, olive oil, arborio rice, white wine, chicken stock, whatever vegetables added at the appropriate stage (so almost right away for squash; right at the end for spinach) and LOTS of cheese.

    Oh, and I do roast chicken in a cast-iron skillet and tuck various vegetables all around it. I rub it with olive oil and coarse salt and let it sit at room temp for about an hour before I pop it into the oven. I turn it back and forth a few times during cooking to get it done evenly, with crispy skin. A small chicken fits perfectly in my #8 skillet with vegetables (parsnips and brussel sprouts are my favorite) jammed in all around. Basically I use Alice Waters's recommendations from Simple Food.

    Those (plus the Shakshuka I went on about above) are my three basic fallback emergency don't-want-to-cook meals and they are soooooo tasty. Especially served with a green salad and crusty bread. I don't even bother adding fresh vegetables to the salad; I just buy very good local greens from the store and dress them with top-quality olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little vinegar.

    5 agree
    • Mmm…I LOVE anchovies in pasta sauce. Everyone I cook for is skeeved out by the thought of them, but I sneak them into the pasta sauce every time and nobody can ever figure out why my pasta sauce tastes so much better than theirs. 🙂

      7 agree
      • Haha, yes, I will never get why people are freaked out by anchovies. They're basically just . . . greasy aromatic salt. I like 'em probably more than average — on pizza they're SUBLIME.

        2 agree
  4. Ooh, this sounds great! I've been wanting to try one pot pasta but was worried about it being a little bland. This variation sounds right up my alley! And thanks for those who mentioned shakshuka…that sounds interesting and delicious as well. Husband doesn't care for eggs unless they're scrambled, but I think my parents would like it. Yum!

    1 agrees
    • This one isn't bland at all. You could add pretty much any spice you like too.

      I made it the other day with Barley instead of pasta and it came out really well. Mark Bitman makes a version with steel cut oatmeal. The possibilities are endless!

  5. This sounds amazing! I second risotto as another go-to one-pot dish. Easily customized with different liquids, fats, and veggies (even starches! you can use farro or long-grain. Just adjust liquid accordingly.) Just remember to add some dairy fat (if you're into that kinda thing) at the end though cheese and/or butter. And wine really makes the dish, although my mom uses grape juice and swears by it. I'm unconvinced.

    And I would offer my sad little one-pot pasta "risotto" dish from Peace Corps:
    – sautee half an onion, diced, in a couple tbsps of oil (I prefer olive).
    – add other veggies as you'd like (carrots are good, and peppers).
    – season liberally with salt and your spice blend of choice
    – when the onions are getting translucent and the veggies are getting a little caramel, add DRY UNCOOKED PASTA (like elbows or bowties) to the sautee pan.
    – Sautee veggies and pasta until the pasta is browning a little.
    – Add half-cup to a cup of liquid (water, stock, wine) to the pan, turn heat down, cover, and simmer.
    – Stir, watch, add liquid as necessary, and as soon as the pasta is done, serve!
    – It will have the same starchy creaminess as risotto.
    – You can for SURE add protein, which you can do either during the sautee stage (although it will keep cooking through the liquid stage) or you can cook it separately and add at the end.

    Delish!

    1 agrees
  6. I made this recipe last night and it was delicious! I made the mistake of adding the full teaspoon of red pepper flakes and it was too overpowering, but otherwise, I would totally make this again. ^_^

    • Glad you liked it! We like things with a good kick of heat around here, that's why I always caution people to lessen it. When I cook for friends, I'm forever remembering to cut down on the heat factor.

    • I saw the variation in Martha Stewart, but didn't start making it myself until I found a version on Lottie & Doof (which I reference in the original version of this blog on The Development of Taste).

      It took a number of versions for me to come up with this one though, it's my favorite so far.

  7. I made this last night for my family and it was delicious! I needed to cut back a little on the liquids because I didn't have quite 12 oz.

    I also added fresh Crimini mushrooms (fried them up a bit before I put them in the pot) and added chunks of sausage. The sausage didn't do anything to enhance the overall meal, so I think those will go next time. Overall it was DELICIOUS and made me feel confident in my cooking abilities. I typically don't eat homemade things because I am not confident at all in my skills.

    1 agrees
    • It makes me incredibly excited to hear that this recipe helped build your confidence in the kitchen!!

      Love the idea of adding mushrooms. Craig won't eat them, but I think I'll have to try it that way just for me.

      • I actually felt so inspired that I did this same recipe a few days later, but made it with lemon pepper papardelle noodles, chicken, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, shallots and garlic. It was SO yummy. I feel like I might start branching out with some new ingredients and easy recipes like this in the near future!

  8. Just wanted to let everyone who commented or tried this recipe know, I am in the last 10 days of a Kickstarter Project that is taking every bit of energy I have. Seeing all your comments today MADE MY WEEK and I am so excited to have one of my recipes shared on this site (since I've been a loyal reader for ages).

    You guys ROCK!!

  9. I actually bought a great cookbook called Just One Pot just before I moved out of my parents' house, and it has some of the most amazing recipes in it. (http://www.amazon.com/Just-One-Pot-Delicious-Tangines/dp/0762106832/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383141539&sr=8-1&keywords=just+one+pot)

    My favorite recipe from here, and a staple at my house, is Afghan Chicken:
    Ingredients

    6 to 8 cups water
    8 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
    2 cans garbanzo beans
    1 onion, finely chopped
    2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
    2 carrots, finely sliced
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp cumin
    Parsley
    1/4 cup fresh dill
    1/4 cup lemon juice

    Instructions

    1. In large pot, combine chicken, vegetables, beans, and spices (except dill and lemon) in a pot with 6-8 cups water.
    2. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes.
    3. Add dill and lemon juice. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

    This reheats fantastically and is one of my favorite meals. Hope you enjoy!

  10. I've made a few of these one-pot pasta meals, and they're…. okay. They get noticably better by actually sauteeing the aromatics first, then adding the liquid. Maillard reaction is a major flavor booster! Also switching in broth for any plain water helps a lot. The sundried tomatoes in olive oil look like they would give this one a much better flavor than most I've seen.

    Now I'm thinking about making one that's an East-Asian-inspired one-pot noodle dish. Either that or we're having Italian tonight…

  11. I tried this tonight and it was delicious! I used a different kind of pasta and was apprehensive it might either get mushy or not be quite done due to the differences in the shapes/thicknesses, but it cooked up beautifully! I also threw in some cooked Italian sausage after the liquid reduced which was delicious, though the pasta on its own is also extremely good! I'll definitely be adding this to my arsenal of recipes!

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