Probably the winter winds hit your windows and you walk into the kitchen thinking soup or stew or casserole. You know, something hot and satisfying, but quick and with little clean-up to do after so you can get back to the television or computer in the room with the fireplace roaring.
Well, think again and add pasta as the basis of a one-pan lunch or supper. Everyone likes pasta and it has a stick-to-your-ribs feel that many soups or stews just don’t. The nice thing about pasta is that it can cook to doneness right along with everything else in the pan, as long as there’s enough liquid and heat to soften it.
Try the following recipes and you’ll soon recognize pasta’s flexibility can make a variety of one-pot meals. You can even break spaghetti strands into quarters and add to a canned soup of your choice. Cover and heat, stirring a couple of times, until pasta is softened to al dente stage. Ladle into a bowl and suddenly your soup has more substance and stretches to more servings. It’s a win-win for a winter meal.
BASIC TOMATO WITH BASIL ONE-POT PASTA
Seriously tasty and filling and ready in 20 min.
2 Tbls olive oil
1 C chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. fresh tomatoes, diced, about 3-4 medium tomatoes; or use a can of cut, diced tomatoes, drained
2 C chicken broth
1Tbls chopped basil
8 oz. spaghetti, your choice of type
1/4 tsp salt, to taste
1/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
1Tbls coarsely chopped parsley
Heat oil in a deep, wide skillet, pan or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, saute 3 minutes or until they start to brown. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, basil and spaghetti. Press the spaghetti with a spatula to submerge the pasta in the liquid. If your skillet, pan or pot is not big enough, break the spaghetti into halves before cooking.
Cover with the lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 8 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. If the pasta is not cooked after 8 minutes, add a little bit more chicken broth, cover the pan/skillet and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove lid and add salt. Turn off the heat. Drain and top pasta with parmesan cheese and parsley. Serves 4. Bring to table while hot.
Tip: Add shrimp, chicken, or other meat, and/or vegetables like sweet pepper, chopped broccoli, and spinach to the pasta, as you prefer. Add to pot or skillet when adding the pasta.
Note: Make the meal vegan by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
ONE POT GARLIC PARMESAN PASTA
Creamy, easy and only half an hour from start to table
2 Tbls unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 C chicken broth (or use vegetable broth)
1 C milk, or more, as needed
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbls chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, or about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, milk and fettuccine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, working from the bottom of the pan, until pasta is cooked through, about 18-20 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serves 4 or more, depending on serving size.
SAUSAGE, TOMATOES AND PASTA IN A POT
20 minutes to a delicious meal
1 pound spaghetti
4 1/2 C Water,
1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 C grape tomatoes, halved
2 C fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 C grated Parmesan
In a large pot or Dutch oven, on medium high heat, combine spaghetti, sausage, onion, tomatoes, basil, garlic and the water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the pot to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in parmesan. Drain if necessary and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
Tip: For different tastes, use different sausages, such as pepperoni, kielbasa, or Italian sweet sausage.
By Jean Redstone