I don’t much like washing dishes. After cooking, I want to eat. And after eating, I want to relax. Cleaning doesn’t fit too well into either, so I try to minimize the mess I make. Sometimes, this leads to awesome creations like this magical one-pot pasta. I based it on what I had in the fridge, but it’s marvelously adaptable to most vegetables you might favor.
Not only does it cut down on cleaning, but the technique has taste benefits as well. Cooking the pasta in its sauce gives the dish risotto-like qualities. The noodles become infused with the flavors of the other ingredients. And the pasta starch – typically washed away in the colander – stays in your pot, creating its own creamy sauce that pulls all the flavors together. A sprinkle of cheese and some fresh herbs, and voila! A warm, comforting meal for a low-investment evening!
Chickpeas for protein, plenty of vegetables, and fiber-rich whole wheat pasta in creamy sauce.
One-Pot Pasta (serves 4-6)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, drained
8-10 olives, finely chopped
12 oz uncooked whole wheat pasta
4 1/2 cups water (or any combination of water, broth, and/or wine)
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Big pinch salt
Black pepper to taste
Handful of fresh basil, chopped
~3 oz. cheese of choice (I used mild goat cheese, but feta or Parmesan would be good too)
Combine all ingredients except fresh basil and cheese in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent noodles from sticking, until the pasta is the texture you like and the liquid has been absorbed and thickened to the consistency of sauce. This takes roughly as long as the pasta would need to cook on its own; maybe a few minutes more. Turn off the heat and either stir in your cheese and herbs to serve, or dish up first and let folks garnish to taste. Either way, enjoy!