There is a big trend at the moment for one pot meals. Cooking your whole meal in a single pan is a fantastic way to reduce washing up and if you are cooking around other people, it prevents competition for cookware!
Like most cooking, one pot pasta is all about the ratios. You have to learn to adapt recipes to the type of pasta you use and the different ingredients as some will absorb more water than others. For example, mushrooms and fresh tomato will give out liquid whereas tomato paste will thicken everything up and therefore requires more stock to make it work.
Most one pot pastas have five base parts: pasta, liquid, meat, veg and cheese.
First of all, cook up the vegetables and the meat making sure the meat is seared properly before you add the liquid. Next add the pasta and liquid of choice and cook until the pasta is done. Finally, add the cheese which should help thicken up the sauce nicely so it is smooth and creamy.
Standard ingredients include:
Liquid: Chicken/beef/mushroom/vegetable stock, milk or a mixture of cream & stock
Meat: Chicken, meatballs, beef mince, pork mince or choritzo
Veg: Onions, garlic, tomato, mushrooms, sweetcorn or spinach
Cheese: Parmesan, Cheddar or Goat’s cheese
Obviously the list is only restricted by your imagination so you can add whatever you want but one pot pasta is about simplicity (and also normally using up leftover veg that you have lying around).
Below are the recipes for several one pot pastas that I have made recently all of which took around 20 minutes altogether!
One Pot Mushroom Pasta
1 cup pasta
1 cup milk
1 mushroom stock cube
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Salt & pepper
Cornflour to thicken if needed
Finely dice the onion and sauté in a pan with a little oil.
Chop the mushrooms – I generally cut them into quarters – and add them, along with the garlic, to the pan once the onions are translucent.
Fry the mushrooms with the onions for another two minutes and then add the rest of the ingredients.
Cook for about 10 minutes stirring regularly to prevent the pasta clumping.
If the sauce gets too thick, add a quarter of a cup of water and stir it through.
If the pasta is cooked and the sauce is still too thin, mix a tablespoon of cornflour with a tablespoon of water and add it to the pasta stirring it through. Cook for another 30 seconds to thicken the sauce and then serve.
One Pot Arrabiata Pasta
1 cup pasta
1 ½ cup vegetable stock
¼ cup tomato paste (or replace half a cup of the stock with passata)
2 cloves garlic – minced
Salt and Pepper
Dice up the onion and sauté with a little oil.
Finely chop the chilli and add it, along with the garlic, to the pan with the onion.
Continue to saute the vegetables for two minutes and then add the rest of the ingredients – adding salt and pepper to taste.
Cook for around 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
If the sauce isn’t the correct consistency, add either cornflour or water to adjust to a thick sauce which should coat the pasta
One Pot Chicken Alfredo Pasta
1 cup pasta
1 cup milk
1 chicken breast
2 garlic cloves – minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
¼ cup grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
Finely dice the onion and sauté in a pan with some oil.
Chop the chicken into smallish chunks and add to the onion once it is translucent – also add the garlic at this point.
Sear the chicken until the outside is cooked before adding the rest of the ingredients except the parmesan
Cook for 10 minutes or so until the pasta is cooked.
Add the cheese and stir it through – this will help thicken up the sauce
Hopefully these examples have given you some ideas for some different and exciting dinners. For another delicious easy meal, check out my recipe for Curried Parsnip Soup or if you fancy something a little sweeter, how about making some brandy snaps?
Have a good one and I’ll be back next week with a recipe for a chocolate and caramel cake – perfect for feeding a crowd!