A home cooked family meal in the time it takes to make a cup of tea…and sit down to drink it

Pasta Pronto!

Pasta Pronto!

Yes, life has been just a little bit busy of late.  One of the things I have had on my list to deliver this week is a recipe for my son’s Kinder Cookbook.  Being me, I immediately jumped to thinking about some recipes I regularly whip up for family dessert or afternoon tea with family and friends, but on reading the fine print I realised that I was being asked to submit a healthy, main meal recipe suitable for all the family.  Okay, so no dessert…..back to the drawing board!

After a bit of thought, I have decided to share a recipe for one of my more recent discoveries, the One Pot Pasta.  I have to fess up though.  I really missed the memo on this.  I can’t tell you how long the concept has been circulating, but figure it must be a while now, so apologies to those already on the bandwagon.  In fact it would not surprise me if my mum says ‘Oh, that!  Yes, that was all the rage in 1974…’

Anyway, One Pot Pasta is more of a concept than a recipe per se.  The basic rule is to always stick to the same ratio of liquid to pasta.  Get that right, and the additional ingredients are more or less completely up to you.  You’ll have a yummy, nutritious pasta meal on the table in less than 20 minutes with only one single pot to wash up.  Do I hear anyone complaining?

While it may not be pasta for the purists (I can feel all the Italian Nona’s cringing!) it is an easy, fresh, nutritious and convenient meal to get on the table on busy evenings, or when you just haven’t been able to make it to the shops in between ferrying kids to footy practice, swimming and dance class.  I’ll give you a basic recipe here, but adjust to suit your families likings and you’ll have a meal that will become a firm favourite.  What kid does not like pasta of some description? Have fun with it and enjoy!

20 minute One Pot Pasta

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12oz (340g) dried pasta (linguine or spaghetti works best)
  • 4  cups (1lt) water or stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) passata
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh basil roughly torn or finely chopped depending on your fussy one’s preferences  (but dried herbs work just as well)
  • Fresh spinach and/or rocket leaves, again roughly torn or finely chopped…
  • Olive oil
  • Grated parmesan to serve

How to do it?

Firstly fry off the onion and garlic in a large stock pot with a little olive oil.  If pushed for time you can skip this step and just throw it in the pot with everything else, but I prefer to saute these ingredients a little first to soften and sweeten them up.  This is also where you would cook off any meat you are adding to your personal recipe such as bacon or chicken.

In it goes...

In it goes…

With that done, throw in the can of diced tomatoes, the passata, water or stock depending on your preference, the dried pasta, and your chopped herbs of choice.  If you would like a less tomatoey sauce simply replace the passata with an equivalent volume of water or stock.

Drizzle over a decent glug of olive oil, put the lid on the pot and bring it to the boil over a high heat.

…..

Stir through...

Stir through…and enjoy!

Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce is beginning to thicken.  Give the pot a stir to prevent the pasta catching on the bottom and cook for a minute or so more to reduce the sauce to your desired consistency.  I like to leave about an inch of sauce in the bottom the pot.  Then simply stir through some grated parmesan, season to taste and serve.

 

………………………………………….

This recipe has lots of scope for adaptation to your own personal taste.  You could add meat as noted above, or prawns (in the last few minutes of cooking), chilli flakes, mushrooms, oregano, mixed italian herbs, capsicum…the combinations are limitless.  Just stick the ratio of water/stock/passata (4 1/2 cups) to pasta (12oz) and go wild!

Hopefully this recipe gets me over the line with the Kinder Cookbook and I hope you enjoy it too!

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