One-Pan Pasta

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I am here to tell you about a recipe for pasta that you cook in one pan. One pan, people! Dried noodles, sauce ingredients, water—they all get thrown into a big pan and boiled for less than 10 minutes. You end up with a totally delicious dinner, and a party trick.

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I know this recipe is making the rounds. I would even bet that it is blowing up in Pinterest (is it?). I imagine that anyone who saw this in Martha Stewart Living this month knew they needed to try it. It is such a simple idea that I am surprised we haven’t all been doing this the whole time.

I like the recipe because it allows you to get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. It is also fun for the cook. That first time you make it you wonder if it will all come together. Is this even possible? Then, the noodles begin to soften, the liquid reduces into a creamy sauce, and you know you’ve got a winner. The real brilliance of the recipe is that by cooking the noodles with the sauce, they absorb so much more flavor than a pot of salted water could ever provide.

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Salt is your friend in this dish, don’t skimp! You need a big skillet, big enough for the linguine to lie flat across the bottom.

One-Pan Pasta (adapted slightly from Martha Stewart Living) The editors of MSL discovered the recipe while traveling in Puglia, so we have Italy to thank for another great pasta recipe!

  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2- 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • Lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.

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***[5/12/2014] Hi folks, I had to close the comments on this post. While most comments were friendly or useful, I was getting too many people telling me/us that: a) this recipe was an insult to Italian culture (which is both insane and stinks of a sort of cultural superiority that I abhor) b) that recipes like this were for stupid, lazy people (which is also insane and classist). Anyway, as is often the case, a few assholes ruin the internet for everyone. And I’m just tired of moderating these comments. Thanks to everyone who contributed something useful!

158 comments to “One-Pan Pasta”

  1. Made this as written the first time, delicious. The second time I replaced some of the water with chicken broth and added arugula at the end! Yummy!

  2. I tried this recipe last night. Both me and my boyfriend were hovering, thinking “Is this actually going to work?”. It did, and it was amazing! So simple and completely delicious.

  3. Tried it with gluten-free corn flour pasta… I would not recommend it, the starch in the pasta made the sauce very (ironically) glutinous and sticky. The taste was wonderful though! Will definitely have to try with regular pasta. :)

  4. OMG! Just made this and love it. So full of flavor….! I especially enjoy the creaminess of the sauce, which you usually only find in risottos. Thanks for sharing this and greetings from Germany :)

  5. We LOVE this recipe! Our family eats this almost once a week! Great find, thanks for sharing!!

  6. Would this recipe work doubled? It looks fabulous, but we have a large family.

  7. Also, this sounds a lot like a dish we often got when we lived in Italy, but it usually had asparagus tips in it as well. If I wanted to add something like that, would I have to add a bit of water, too–is the liquid figured that precisely for this?

  8. I’ve been looking for one pot meals for our camping trip next weekend and this fits the bill. Thanks, I can’t wait to try it.