Sunday, September 1, 2013

One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta

This is my pet peeve in cooking these days: when pasta dishes call for 12 ounces of pasta.  12 ounces is 4 ounces less than a pound, and I only see pasta sold in 1-pound packages.  Am I missing an aisle where pasta is sold in tidy 12-ounce boxes?!  I don't think so.  And yet I sweat the majority of pasta dish recipes these days ask for a precise 12 ounces.  I usually pretend that it says 16, since I'm not about to go buy a kitchen scale just to weigh out my pasta (and then save an awkward 4 ounces of it in the cabinet).  And most of the time, this works.  However, not always.......

You've probably heard of this dish: one pot wonder tomato basil pasta.  You literally throw everything together into one pot and cook it all together: from the pasta to the tomatoes and onions.  It's pretty scary whipping it all in there into one pot, I can tell you, but the idea of having only one pot to clean afterwards was worth the risk.  You don't even drain the pasta; the water and broth combine to make a sauce.

Apparently the idea originated from Martha Stewart, but the recipe I pinned had been tweaked a bit with the addition of oregano and olive oil. I think it could stand some more tweaking in the addition of more vegetables - maybe some chopped peppers or mushrooms?  But I'm way too scared to attempt to alter the balance of the one pot wonder!

Anyway, my friend Laura had made this dish and said it was awesome.  I decided to try it when we had a bunch of relatives over for dinner along with the skillet focaccia and the bruschetta for a true Italian feast.  Since there were so many of us, I doubled the recipe, and for me that did not mean using 24 ounces of pasta.  As I said earlier, I just pretended that it called for one pound of pasta, and I doubled it to two.  Perhaps that is where I went wrong.  It took a loooong time for the water and broth to reduce, and because of that, the pasta was a little mushy by the time it was done.  I'm assuming that it's because I used 8 extra ounces of pasta, or maybe because this is not a dish that you can easily double.  Either way, this tomato basil pasta was not an epic fail or anything; the pasta was not al dente but it still tasted great, and no one complained (although perhaps because I had already filled them up with bread and bruschetta!).  I do think this dish is worth trying again... this time with a precise 12 ounces of linguine.  Grrrrr.


one pot wonder tomato basil pasta
from Apron Strings

12 ounces linguine pasta
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular, not low sodium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
parmesan cheese for garnish


1) Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil in a large stock pot.  Pour in vegetable broth.  Sprinkle the red pepper flakes and oregano on top.  Drizzle top with oil.

2) Cover pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so.  Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated.

3) Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring pasta several time to distribute liquid in the bottom of the pot.  Serve garnished with parmesan.

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