Imagine this: instead of prepping pasta and sauce separately, dirtying a few dishes along the way, you add pasta, sauce ingredients, and water to one pot, boil it all together, and just like that, dinner is ready. This seemingly brilliant concept from Martha Stewart Living caused quite a stir on the Internet when it was published in 2013 — search "Martha Stewart one-pot pasta" to see what we're talking about — but we were curious, does it actually work? Or is there a reason this technique didn't hit the mainstream until recently?
In short, yes, it works, and it's tasty, all things considered. If you're really short on time, can't stand the idea of washing an extra dish, or are looking for a fun kitchen experiment (it is pretty cool that it can be done), give it a shot. It's definitely a step up from cooking pasta directly in tomato sauce.
That said, if you can bear to expend marginally more energy and cook pasta the traditional way, do it. There's a reason pasta is typically boiled in a large volume of water and then drained off; here the starchy pasta water concentrates down too far, glazing the pasta in an unpleasant way. And while some will argue for the brilliance of cooking pasta and sauce together, as it infuses the pasta with the sauce's ingredients, we found it all to be a bit too homogenous in taste. Fresh basil and parmesan perk things up — if you do try this recipe, don't be shy with these ingredients — but it's not quite enough to make it excellent.
If you're dead set on cooking a one-pot meal, try one of these actually delicious recipes instead.
- 12 ounces linguine
- 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
- 1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 1/2 cups water
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- Add pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, olive oil, 2 teaspoons 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.
- Discard cooked basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with torn basil. Serve with oil and parmesan.
- Pasta, Main Dishes
- 4 servings