Sometimes recipes billed as one-pot meals can mislead you. With most pasta dishes, for instance, sure, you can make the sauce from start to finish in one pot and then stir in the cooked pasta, but you’ve still got to boil the pasta somewhere, and that somewhere is another pot that needs to be cleaned. Then you need to strain the pasta – does a colander count as a third pot? Sigh.
Thus we bring you the true one-pot pasta dinner. This revolutionary method of pasta preparation allows you to skip the separate boiling and throw the dry noodles right into a pot with the other ingredients. As it cooks, the pasta’s starch helps the sauce thicken simultaneously. Food Network Kitchen created a version with fresh tomato sauce and a spin on classic mac and cheese, both with magical results. Try one for yourself tonight and you may never bother with two-pot pasta again.
One-Pot Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
This dish is perfect for the beginner cook (or anyone who dreads cleaning multiple pots): Everything but the cheese goes right into one skillet. The tomato paste is here for a little flavor insurance, just in case your tomatoes aren’t at their best. Feel free to add an extra tablespoon during these cold months when they’re out of season.
One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese
This one-pot wonder has humble beginnings: just milk and macaroni. As the pasta cooks, the starch released helps thicken the milk to make the perfect base for a sauce. The cheeses and seasonings are stirred in at the very end, and everything comes together beautifully in just 20 minutes (total!).