At first I thought I was having trouble understanding his Italian. But, Matteo confirmed that yes, it was a shallow skillet, long noodles, with a bit of water and the rest of the ingredients, all in one pan.
~ Nora Singley ~
Between Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok we have all heard about One Pot Pasta. This is even quicker than making Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce and just as versatile as Baked Feta Pasta. It’s quick, it’s easy and it uses minimal (just one actually) dishes. I first pinned a One Pot Pasta recipe on my Pinterest “Food” board in 2013. I can’t even find that pin anymore, but I assume it linked to the original recipe in the Martha Steward Living magazine printed in June 2013. Yes, the first time the recipe was published in the USA, it was in a hard copy magazine! I have found the history behind this iconic recipe on The Kitchn. The original recipe still comes up first in a Google search, but the significant part is that a search for “one pot pasta” returns 1 790 000 000 hits!!
One pot, and make it a shallow one
Nora Singley, a TV chef working on the Martha Steward show found this amazing recipe while travelling in Puglia, Italy. In a little restaurant in Peschici, she was shown how they cook noodles in one shallow skillet within 15 minutes. The original recipe featured linguini, tomato, garlic and basil. I have seen thousands of variations pop up on food blogs and recipe sites over the years though. Some of the important details have unfortunately been lost in all the many retellings. Until I did some research on the recipe for this post, I didn’t realise the importance of using a shallow, wide pan. To be honest, I have been making my One Pot Pasta in a deep pot for nearly 10 years.
Start with the basics and then add some flair
To save time and dishes, the original One Pot Pasta recipe placed all the ingredients into the legendary one pot and cooked it together in about 10 minutes. You need some form of long pasta like linguini or spaghetti, water or broth, and some flavouring. Once you have those elements, you can add endless options. Many people have branched out and used pasta shapes rather than long noodles. There are also lots of recipes that use cream or cream cheese instead of tomato to create a creamy rather than tomato-based pasta. The original One Pot Pasta was also vegetarian. I have made it before by browning cubed chicken in the pot before I start adding ingredients. It’s also very easy to just add some crispy bacon on top. As this recipe is extremely forgiving, you can just about add anything that tickles your fancy. I have some suggestions, but just search the internet and you will find plenty more!
One Pot Pasta
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
- 30 ml olive oil
- 1 - 2 c red bell pepper, sliced
- 250 g white button mushrooms, sliced
- 500 g spaghetti
- 30 g tomato paste Sundried tomato pesto is also nice
- 200 g tinned cherry tomato Crushed or chopped tinned tomato will work fine too
- dried chilli flakes to taste Or fresh chopped chilli
- 15 ml dried oregano
- 1 L vegetable stock
- ½ tin water Use the empty tomato tin
- 3 handfuls baby spinach
- 1 handful basil leaves or up to 2 T basil pesto
- grated hard cheese to serve
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the olive oil to a large pan or braiser with straight sides. Fry the onion till translucent, but not browned. * See note
- Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds till fragrant.
- Add the bell peppers and mushrooms and stir-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the chilli flakes, origanum, stock, tinned tomatoes, water and tomato paste and mix.
- Add the spaghetti and make sure it is covered with the liquid. Season to taste.
- Cook for 8 - 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring often. You can also turn the pasta with tongs as Martha Steward suggests.
- After ten minutes most of the liquid should have cooked away. Add the spinach and basil leaves and check the seasoning.
- Serve immediately with grated parmesan or another type of hard cheese.
- Most One Pot Pasta recipes just call for combining all the ingredients and bringing the pan to a boil. You can just do that, but I always like to build some flavour by frying and browning the aromatics beforehand. It really only takes an extra 5 minutes and it gives the dish extra flavour and colour.
- Martha's original recipe called for halved cherry tomatoes, but many recipes use tinned tomatoes. I like tinned cherry tomatoes as they are slightly sweeter, but still has the cherry tomato shape.
- If you have a hard cheese rind at hand, put that into your pan once you have added the liquid and it will add an extra cheesiness to your pasta - just remember to remove it before serving.
- If you are using tart tinned tomatoes, you might have to add a small amount of sweetener at the end. This can just be some sugar, but I find that chutney, honey or onion jam adds more flavour.