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One-pot pasta -- a quick and soothing meal for these challenging times

April 08, 2020

One-pot pasta -- a quick and soothing meal for these challenging times

I missed the introduction, in 2013, of this brilliant recipe -- attributed to Martha Stewart (thank you, Martha!)  -- but tried it just before the Covid 19 virus put us all into quarantine. And it is, indeed, a game-- and life changer. It will be as important to my future culinary life, I suspect, as seven-minute, pressure cooker risotto. 

Like seven-minute risotto, one-pan spaghetti uses much less energy to prepare than classic two-pot recipes (one for the pasta and the other for the sauce). And the taste is in a different ball park. You have to try it to believe it. I couldn't wait to create variations, using sausage; olives; onions: and herbs. 

As always, I balanced the Omega-3s in this recipe by using canola instead of olive oil. An optional addition of a few anchovies, along with the spinach or kale, would boost the Omega-3s even more.  Double this if you are holed up with your family, but you will need a larger pot -- a dutch oven works well.


1/2 pound dried spaghetti

1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved (about 1 pint)

zest of one lemon

1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 bunch spinach or kale (leaves only), washed and chopped (if needed). 

Black pepper

Parmesan, for serving


Place spaghetti, tomatoes, zest, and salt in a large dry shallow pan. I used a large cast-iron skillet and broke some of the pasta so it all lay flat in the pan.

Carefully pour 1/2 quart boiling water over the ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and simmer for about 6 minutes, using tongs or some other tool to move the pasta around so it doesn't stick. Add the kale or spinach (and optional ingredients such as anchovies and/or red pepper flakes; basil or other herbs) and cook until the remaining liquid has been reduced to a sauce and the pasta is cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with Parmesan.


On another night, when my daughter and her family were staying with me, I experimented with

1 pound spaghetti

.5 pound sausage

13 oz frozen peas

medium onion

thyme, sage, fennel -- whatever combination of spices you have and enjoy

1 quart boiling water.

This time, I sauteed the onion and sausage in a frying pan, then added them and the peas at the 6 minute mark. Really good!

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