15 Super Simple One-Pot Pastas
Don't bother with the colander! These easy one-dish recipes minimize kitchen prep and cleanup while delivering maximum flavor at the dinner table.
Tomatoes simmer with anchovies, olives, and capers for a tangy, rustic meal sure to please all tastebuds. Bucatini are long noodles with a hole through the center that captures some of the sauce. As a substitute, use thick spaghetti.
Creamy Asparagus and Pancetta Penne
Fresh spears of asparagus, pancetta, and cremini mushrooms are tossed in a light white sauce. Lemon rind adds a welcomed extra punch of flavor.
Linguine and Clam Sauce
Traditionally made with crushed red pepper, this recipe uses fresh chiles. Serrano chiles are hot; for less heat, use Fresno chiles.
Ground Beef and Pasta Casserole
This quick and easy recipe delivers a family-friendly dinner to the table in just 45 minutes.
Spaghetti with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Spinach
Pistachios lend deep, earthy flavors to this pasta dish that is ideal for potlucks and feeding large crowds.
Roasted Tomato Mac and Cheese
Make this dish gluten-free by using the brown rice elbow pasta and brown rice flour options listed in the ingredients.
One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes
This pasta dinner is a game changer: You use just enough liquid to cook the pasta—no colander needed.
Chicken and Butternut Gnocchi
Gnocchi are the base for a simple toss with sweet butternut squash, rich chicken thighs, spinach, and sage. Prepared gnocchi is a fast cook’s dream. They don’t need to be boiled separately, take on a beautiful sear, and will hold up after a thorough sauté and simmer with other ingredients. A dollop of prepared pesto binds and brightens the dish. Look for prepeeled and cubed butternut squash to save even more time. Instead of spinach, you could also try tender baby kale. For a bit of heat, add 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper to the pan before you simmer the squash.
Stroganoff is the definition of absolute comfort: If it could restore its Russian creators 200 years ago, it will restore you on any winter weeknight. We’ve swapped traditional beef for chicken and added earthy cremini mushrooms to our one-pan version. Cooking the egg noodles in the same pan allows the pasta to absorb that rich liquid and release starch to thicken the sauce. Substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast for the tenders if you like. Serve with simply wilted kale dressed with a little lemon juice, or a beet salad dressed with a little horseradish cream (another favorite Russian combo).
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
The slow cooker acts as a braiser for this Italian classic. While the chicken becomes succulent and fall-apart tender, briny capers, crushed red pepper, and garlic infuse the crushed tomatoes for a robust sauce you won’t find in a jar. True to our one-pan plan, the spaghetti cooks right in the sauce when the chicken comes out, absorbing just enough liquid so it doesn’t need to reduce on the stove. We like the look of the whole, deboned chicken thighs atop the pasta, but you could shred the meat into large pieces and stir into the sauce if you like.
Hearty Tortellini Soup
This satisfying main is a great way to reset after a few weeks of meat-centered holiday eating. If freezing, be sure to cool the soup completely before adding the tortellini or they will absorb too much liquid and lose their shape.
Caldo de Gallina (Peruvian Hen Soup)
A corner of Cusco's San Pedro Market is devoted to open kitchens where Quechua women make this soup with new crop potatoes and tough old stewing hens, which can stand up to the long simmering time better than young chickens. We find that widely available roasting hens—older than broilers and fryers—work just fine, growing tender and succulent after hours of stewing. The lime-herb-chile garnish makes the dish sing with flavor.
Creamy Lemon Orzo with Peas and Shrimp
Time: 30 minutes
Mess-Free: Brown sugar and a high-heat roast get the carrots beautifully glazed and tender. To clean up, simply toss the foil.
Serve with Caramelized Baby Carrots
Quick Chicken Minestrone
Fresh, brightly colored vegetables add some welcome vibrancy to this comforting soup. Have fun with the noodle shape, or use any small pasta you have on hand. If you'd like, sprinkle each serving with freshly ground black pepper for a finishing touch. Let the toasted bread and cheese sauce cool slightly. Kids can then spread the cheese sauce over the bread with a butter knife. Serve with French Bread with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce.
One-Pot Cheesy Pasta Bake
This easy skillet pasta bake is a surefire family hit. Pasta and meat sauce topped with mozzarella cheese will make everyone at the table happy, and the all-in-one-pot technique will have the cook smiling pretty. Get the kids involved in this family-friendly meal. Kids can help measure wet and dry ingredients as well as sprinkle cheese on the finished product. Use prep time with older kids to reinforce counting, conversions, and measuring by weight.