One Pot Summertime Pasta
Does anybody else out there have kids who would be thrilled to eat pasta every day? Like at every meal? This dish is sure to be a hit with pasta loving kiddos. If you have kids who are unsure about green things, just really chop up the herbs and spinach so they’re impossible to pick out.
Ready in less than 30 minutes.
This dish is also incredibly weeknight friendly. The pasta actually cooks WITH the vegetables so we’ll only dirty one pot and we wind up with a lovely, starchy base for our sauce. Since you’re only using one burner, it’s not going to heat up your kitchen in the summer, either! Have I convinced you yet? It’s a weeknight win that will be on the table in well under 30 minutes.
Kid friendly, easy, and fast, this has to be one of the best weeknight dinners ever.
I had a leftover bit of cooked ground beef (probably 3/4 lb) that was the inspiration for this variation, but feel free to substitute cooked chicken, or bulk Italian sausage – just make sure it’s cooked first. If you prefer to use sausage slices or shrimp, you can toss that in with the pasta to cook. (I’d add shrimp when the pasta is almost finished since they only take a couple minutes to cook).
Let’s start the clock – 30 minutes to go!
First, we’re going to fill a large pot with a box of orechiette pasta. This kind of pasta, which – fun fact – means “ear,” – is great for catching yummy sauces. It’s sturdy enough to stand up to beef, too. In addition to the pasta, add two cored and diced tomatoes, a sliced onion, and 4 1/2 cups of water.
Fight the urge to add more water. You’ll think there’s no way on earth this pasta will cook, but it will. (If you’re really type A and worried, you can add an extra 1/2 c. of water, but when I tested the recipe this way, I ended up removing a half cup of liquid after cooking).
Pop that pasta on the stove. Bring it to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. After it cooks for about 10 minutes, toss in your cooked ground beef (or protein of choice).
When the pasta is cooked through after about 5 more minutes, turn the heat off and stir in your spinach, herbs, and half and half, then the cheese. If you have a minute and can let the pasta cool before adding the dairy, all the better – dairy can develop an odd grainy texture when you add it to something really hot suddenly. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
Spoon it out and top those bad boys off with more freshly grated parmesan.
And enjoy cleaning only ONE pot after your delicious dinner.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: less than 30 minutes
One Pot Summertime Pasta
Perfect for weeknights, this pasta comes together in a snap. Enjoy summer flavors of tomato and basil, with ground beef in a delicious light sauce.
1 box orechiette pasta
leftover cooked ground beef (I used about 3/4 lb)
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 handfuls of spinach (or about 3 cups), washed and finely chopped
1/3 c. basil leaves, finely chopped
a couple sprigs of rosemary, stem removed and finely chopped
1/3 c. half and half (or whole milk)
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese*
1. In a large pot, add the box of pasta, 4 1/2 cups of water, the tomatoes, the garlic, and the onion. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a healthy simmer. Stir every so often so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom.
2. After about 10 minutes, add the beef to warm through.
3. Cook for about 5 more minutes or until the pasta is done to your liking. 15 minutes of cook time made my pasta a bit softer than al dente.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach and herbs.
5. Add the half and half and freshly grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Top bowls with additional parmesan, if desired.
*Although pre-grated is certainly faster, it has added agents (like cellulose which is wood pulp!) to keep the cheese pieces separate and dry in the package. Parmesan wedges might seem more expensive, but they're more flavorful and will last for quite awhile. Grating fresh parmesan is totally worth the extra couple of minutes it takes.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.