Life-Changing One-Pot Pasta

Jan Scott March 24, 2017
OnePot_Pasta

This pasta dish just might change your life. I know it’s changed mine since I first made it two years ago, and while I do like to think of myself of a pasta purist—one who cooks the noodles until ‘al dente’ in a large pot of boiling water seasoned with enough salt to resemble sea water—this method definitely has place of pride in my weeknight dinner recipe rotation.

Making this pasta is quicker than ordering take-out, and can easily be customized to suit the tastes of any family. It’s a legitimate 20-minute meal that belongs in the back pocket of home cooks everywhere, and I never tire of finding new and exciting variations of this easy one-pot dish.

One-Pot Pasta with Chicken, Peas and Mushrooms

Serves 4-6

You’ll Need:

  • 1 – 12-14 oz. package of spaghetti or linguine
  • 2 cups diced boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock or water
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • Optional: grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Prep and Cook:

  1. Place the pasta in your pot, along with the chicken, peas, and mushrooms. Cover with the stock, olive oil, lemon zest, and thyme; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-high but still boiling, and cook, stirring and turning the pasta frequently with tongs to break it up and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the stock is mostly evaporated, about nine minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the stove and add the cream, stirring to combine. Remove the thyme sprigs and check seasonings, adding more salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese before serving, if using.

Good to Know: Different brands of pasta weigh anywhere from 12-14oz. Start with 5 cups of stock for a 12 oz. bag and use more if your pasta package is larger.

Variations:

The ability to swap ingredients is what makes this dish ideal. Here are a few of my favourite variations:

1. Replace the peas and mushrooms with sliced onions and cherry tomatoes. Swap the chicken for sliced chorizo sausage.

2. Replace the peas with broccoli and swap the thyme for Cajun seasoning for a quick-cooking Cajun chicken Alfredo.

3. Replace the peas with chopped tomatoes, the thyme with basil and the chicken with shrimp. Instead of placing the shrimp in the pot with the pasta, add it after the pasta has been cooking for 7 minutes.

4. Replace the peas and mushrooms with 1 cup of coarsely chopped roasted red peppers and ½ cup thinly sliced oil-packed sundried tomatoes. Omit the chicken altogether, use basil in place of thyme and use 8 oz. brie or Boursin cheese in place of the light cream and Parmesan cheese.

Have you been persuaded to try a one-pot pasta dinner yet? If so, what did you think?

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