One Pot Pasta and Deb’s “Sit Down and Cook” Method of Meal Preparation
My absolute favorite way to prepare a meal is not by slaving over a hot stove, but by throwing everything in a pot (on the stove, in a pressure cooker or in a crock pot), and sitting down to play on my computer or enjoy a movie. Yes sirree Bob, the best way to cook is using what I call the “Sit Down and Cook” method. And this one pot pasta dish, brimming over with healthy leafy green vegetables and tomatoes, fits the bill.
This recipe if you can call it that, takes one of my favorite foods (pasta) and puts it in a divinely flavorful tomato sauce, seasoned with Italian herbs and spices, without me having to cook the sauce and pasta separately. The fact that it only takes 20-25 minutes from start to finish doesn’t hurt either.
The most laborious part of preparing this dish was preparing the vegetables. Washing and slicing the mushrooms, grape tomatoes, mincing the garlic and onions, and pulling the stalk off the kale and chopping it. Once all that was done, the dish came together quickly.
I sauteed my onions first for a few minutes until translucent, then added the garlic and stirred it around until a wonderful garlic aroma filled my kitchen. No more than a minute. Then I dumped in the canned and fresh tomatoes, including the liquid from the can and juice from the tomatoes left on my cutting board.
Then I put everything else into the pot: an entire bunch of Lacinto kale (thick stem removed and leaves chopped into 2″ squares), the fresh basil, and the crimini mushrooms. I then filled the tomato can up with water and dumped that in, added a little more, along with two large Rapunzel no-salt vegan vegetable bouillon cubes with herbs.
I also added a few shakes of red pepper flakes, fresh ground black pepper, and some dried oregano leaves, crushed as I put them into the pot. I didn’t really measure, but I will give you some estimates below which you can use as a starting point, then adjust to suit your tastes.
Some people like to use whole wheat pasta, or even the more exotic types like jerusalem artichoke, quinoa, corn, brown rice, etc. I found a pasta I like years ago, and I use it now as I have for a decade, ever since the product was first marketed in the US – Barilla Plus pasta.
I like this stuff because it tastes fabulous, has a wonderful firm texture after cooking, and fewer carbs than regular pasta, contains 10gms of protein per 2 oz (uncooked) serving, provides 4gms of fiber. I’m sure there are pastas out there that compare positively, but I stick with what I like. And it worked fabulously in this recipe with a nice al dente texture when done.
Note: a poster alerted me to the fact that the Barilla Plus recipe now uses a microscopic bit of egg whites in its formula. For strict vegans, you would want to use something else – check labels to make sure the pasta you choose is 100% vegan. For vegetarians or people “going vegan,” or who eat a plant-based diet which intentionally includes occasional animal proteins, feel free to try Barilla Plus.
Once everything is in the pot, just cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes. I stirred, added a bit of Kosher sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, vegan Parmesan cheese and more red pepper flakes, stirred again and let it finish cooking another 10 minutes.
It sat on the stove with the heat off another 2-3 minutes before serving. The picture below shows what it looked like in the pot before I started divvying it out to the greedy folks waiting like bloodthirsty vampires for a meal. You can see that the pasta is still quite firm and I like that.
All in all, this one pot pasta is a very easy to make and really tasty dish. I can imagine adding sliced olives, capers, and maybe even doubling up on the kale, topping it with vegan meatballs, or serving it with toasted garlic bread on the side. This one pot pasta dish can be transformed into something elegant for a dinner party or made simple and kid friendly without missing a beat.
Try it and share your pictures and a review.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion, chopped small
- 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1-1.5 bunches of Lacinto kale, stems removed and chopped into 2" pieces
- 1 cup basil leaves, chopped
- 12 oz (1.5 cartons) cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 8 oz package Crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 28 oz can small cut Italian style tomatoes
- 1 14.5 oz package Barilla Plus spaghetti/penne/fettuccine or other pasta
- 5 cups water + 2 vegetable or not-chicken bouillon cubes OR
- 5 cups vegetable or not-chicken stock (not low sodium)
- Kosher sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan (vegan or regular), plus more for garnish
- In large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add diced onion and stir until translucent. Add chopped garlic and let cook until fragrant, another minute or so.
- Increase heat to high; add fresh tomatoes and chopped tomatoes and stir.
- Then add the oregano, basil leaves, broth/water and cubes, mushrooms, kale, ¼ teaspoon or so of salt, and ½ teaspoon or so of pepper.
- Bring pot to a boil, then lower heat back to medium and let cook for about 10 minutes (or until pasta is al dente according to package directions for type/brand you are using).
- Stir in the ¼ cup of Parmesan and add a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and let sit on stove another minute or two to blend flavors.