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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

A Pantry Staple Recipe That Adapts to Every Season

Here’s a pantry staple recipe that the internet has been loving for the past six months, it’s called One Pot Pasta. If you have dried pasta, broth, and a can of chopped tomatoes, you are most of the way to a delicious, fast and easy dinner with a multitude of variations. Almost any kind of pasta will work; from spaghetti to rigatoni and nearly everything in between. My favorites are gemelli and penne. Sometimes I like to add cannellini beans for added protein, lemon zest and juice for brightness and chopped parsley - because parsley is such a superfood, I’m always looking for opportunities to add it to my dishes in a meaningful way. Sometimes I start by sautéing onion, garlic and spinach, and other times I don’t sauté anything. This is the beauty of the recipe! It’s so easy to add what’s in season and, in these times, what’s in the fridge. Add the amount of cheese or cream that suits you as well. I have family members with a variety of diet restrictions, so I add my cheese on the plate (it’s also easier to clean the pot). The version of this dish I will share is one that uses items most of us will have on hand now, amid this strange time of limited shopping and limited ingredients. Artichokes are a superfood, so I like to use jarred artichokes in this dish since they are hard to find fresh around here, but they are easy to find in the grocery store. I’ll also include a list of add in options. Just be sure to keep your total liquid to about 4 cups. And know that the vegetable portion is wide open to whatever is in season and whatever you like. Just remember that the constant of this dish is the pasta, 4 cups broth and 1 can of chopped tomatoes (or two medium fresh tomatoes when available).

One Pot Pasta

1 lb dried pasta

1 (15oz) can chopped tomatoes

4 cups vegetable broth (chicken is good too)

1 cup frozen peas, rinsed in warm water to thaw

1 jar artichokes (easy to find now), drained and soaked in cold water for 10 min and drained again to eliminate citric acid and reduce sodium

2 cups chopped tender greens or 1/ bunch chopped parsley

1 teaspoon salt plus pepper to taste

About 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, small dice

Add all of the dry ingredients to a large soup pot (6qt), then the wet, stir to combine.Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, stir, place the lid on almost all the way, reduce the heat to low boil. Set a timer for 7 minutes. You want the liquid to be boiling enough to cook the pasta but not boil too rapidly that the liquid evaporates too quickly. Check and stir about halfway through. Depending on the type of pasta used, you may need to add 3 minutes and a little more liquid. You want enough liquid left to create a smooth velvety sauce once the pasta is cooked. Once the pasta is cooked, stir and serve.

Options in place of frozen peas, chopped greens and jarred artichokes:

1 - Chopped seasonal or frozen vegetables of choice

2 - Zest and juice of 1 lemon + 1 small bunch of chopped parsley (add once the pasta is cooked) + 1 can cannellini beans + 1 small onion diced medium and sautéed

3 - Diced zucchini + 1 small onion sliced in wedges + 1 small bunch of chopped basil (add once the pasta is cooked)

4 - 1 can cannellini beans + 1 cup white wine (reduce broth to 3 cups) + 1 - 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence + zest and juice of 1 lemon + 2 garlic cloves minced + 1 small onion diced medium

5 - 1 package frozen spinach + zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 - 2 teaspoons dried dill + 1 cup feta cheese stirred in once the the pasta is cooked + 1 small onion sliced in wedges and sautéed

6 - add shredded chicken to any variation

7 - 2 cups shredded chicken + 3 stalks celery diced small + 2 carrots shredded +1 small onion diced medium + ¼ cup half & half or cream added after past is cooked

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