Meat releases a lot of liquid in the slow cooker. I made a batch of 2-ingredient salsa chicken, and I was left with 8 cups of tomato meat juice. Meat juice doesn't sound very appetizing, so let's just go ahead and rename it chicken broth.
One Pot Italian Pasta
One pot Italian pasta uses this flavorful liquid for cooking pasta. You'll love this quick and easy meal because you get tomato-y chicken-y goodness without having to spend all day in the kitchen.
You don't need to chop tons of vegetables, so one pot Italian pasta is a great recipe for beginner cooks. Conveniently, the recipe makes 4 servings so you can feed a family, pack lunch for a few days, or scale the recipe as you'd like.
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- spices: ½ teaspoon of pepper, ½ teaspoon of basil, ½ teaspoon of oregano, ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1 box (16 ounces) of dried pasta
- 5 cups of diced tomatoes + broth
- 8 ounces of spinach
- In a large pot, heat up the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and spices and cook for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.
- Stir in the pasta, tomatoes, and broth.
- Stirringly occasionally, cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed.
- When the pasta is tender, stir in the spinach, and cook until wilted.
- Turn off the heat. Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days.
- Oil: Used for cooking the onion and garlic.
- Onion: Required for one pot Italian pasta. Any sort of onion (red, white, yellow) works. Milder onions, such as green onions or shallots, may be less flavorful.
- Garlic: Adds flavor. Can reduce to taste.
- Spices: Add flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, a mixture of basil, oregano, and thyme, for the basil and oregano. Can omit if you use seasoned diced tomatoes.
- Dried pasta: Required for one pot Italian pasta. Any dried pasta would work. If you use long, thin pasta, you might want to break pieces in half for faster cooking.
- Diced tomatoes + broth: You need 5-6 cups of liquid to cook 1 pound of pasta. I used chicken broth with tomatoes in it. You can substitute 14 ounces of diced tomatoes (2 cups) plus 4 cups of broth. For more tomato flavor, you can add half of a can (6 ounces) of tomato paste.
- Vegetables: You can add about 1 cup of fast-cooking vegetables when the pasta is done, such as mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, or peas. You can substitute 4 ounces of frozen spinach, but it'll be less tasty.
- Meat: You can add cooked meats when the pasta is done, such as 1 package of andouille sausage or diced ham.
- Rich: For a richer pasta, you can add in dairy when the pasta is done, such as 1 cup of grated cheese, 1/2 cup of cream/milk, or 4 ounces of cream cheese.
Step by Step Photos
Let's start by getting the spices for one pot Italian pasta. Instead of using a measuring spoon, you can estimate spice quantities by eye. The quantities are fairly flexible but you should be careful about adding red pepper flakes. If you add too much, the dish will be too hot to eat!
Chop the onion and garlic. In a large pot, heat up the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and spices.
You can omit this step and just boil all of the ingredients. However, cooking the onion and garlic in fat mellows out the flavors and make the one pot Italian pasta taste better.
Stirring occasionally, cook for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. The timing is flexible. You can also move on to the next step when everything smells delicious.
Stir in the pasta, tomatoes, and broth. Pasta boxes always tell you to boil the water first, but you don't have to. Cooking pasta in less liquid saves you time and makes a more cohesive sauce.
Stirringly occasionally, cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. You can cook the pasta to whatever doneness you like. To test this, eat a piece of pasta - do you like it?
When the pasta is tender, stir in the spinach, and cook until wilted. Spinach cooks very quickly, so this should take less than 5 minutes. You can use pre-washed bagged spinach so you don't have to worry about washing vegetables.
After the spinach is done, turn off the heat. If your chicken broth was not salted, you can add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, but you probably won't have to. Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days.
I made one pot Italian pasta since I had excess chicken broth. What do you do with a lot of chicken broth? Guzzle it? Make soup?
Questions, comments, complaints? Feel free to comment below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on social media. I love hearing back from you.